Statue of Jefferson at the University of Virginia © Dale Winling | Flickr
EssaysFeaturePower and CrisisVerticals

Jefferson’s Two Bodies

Memory, protest, and democracy at the University of Virginia and beyond

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High Line to the Fast Lane. NYC © A. David Holloway | Flickr
FeatureLetters

It Is About Time.

New York is the empire of the present, for in this city the past is gone and the future is already here. For me, coming to America was a form of time travel. Not into the future or into the past, but rather from them and into the deep dense present. I come from Jerusalem, the holy and sad city that is at the heart of this complex space people here call the Middle East. In Jerusalem, the present is narrow, pale …

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Slurry Wall at the 9/11 Memorial ©  Tim Truong | Flickr
EssaysMedia & PublicsThe Psyche

How Not to Remember 9/11

There are two memorials for 9/11 at the site of the World Trade Center (“Ground Zero”). The first, the Memorial proper, is a park of around eight acres, consisting of paved space, rows of trees (swamp oaks) and grass, and concrete benches. Within this space are two large square pits (“pools,” “voids”), each of which has water cascading down its walls, disappearing into a smaller square hole in the center. Surrounding …

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Detail of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin © Slaunger | Wikimedia Commons
EssaysMedia & PublicsSex & Gender

Memories of Identities, Identities of Memory

How do memorials shape who we think we are? And how do we “do” identities when we interact with memorials? As Salon.com and others noted, gay men have been using the signature concrete slabs of the Berlin Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe as backdrops to their profile pictures on grindr, a geo-social app that lets those have have logged on find each other that is popular with gay men. In Salon’s account, the combination of the memorial and the anticipation of erotic pleasure is “odd” and “peculiar.” The Memorial appears as a “prop” for self-presentation. The trend is portrayed as equivalent to the EasyJet airline’s 2009 fashion shoot for an in-flight magazine at the memorial. …

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Book cover of 9/11 and the Visual Culture of Disaster by Thomas Stubblefield © Indiana University Press | Amazon
Arts & DesignEssaysMedia & Publics

9/11 and the Visual Culture of Disaster

I remember the week after September 11, 2001, when the subway from Brooklyn into Lower Manhattan was back in limited service, getting off at Broadway-Lafayette and feeling somewhat disoriented when my usual landmark indicating south, the World Trade Center, was missing from the downtown skyline. The specter of the World Trade Center was soon enough evoked by Art Speigelman in his September 24, 2001, New Yorker magazine cover of the Twin Towers as black silhouettes against a black background. The Twin Towers haunted the New York skyline again a few months later in the Tribute in Light installation of 88 search lights configured in the buildings’ original footprints and projected upward into the night…

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The Berlin Wall, in the form of 8000 balloons, disappears into the air, Nov. 9, 2014 © Julia Sonnevend
EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

The 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Wall

At the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall I noticed fear.

I did not find myself in Angela Merkel’s words who stated that “I had to wait 35 years for that feeling of liberty.”

I hear nervousness in The New York Times article that covers the implosion of the Socialist Republic through an exodus-misery frame. What are they afraid of? Why can’t they acknowledge that the contemporary U.S. or Germany can learn a thing or two from that past? The German Democratic Republic, the former East Germany, was hardly a quixotic place that I wish to reinstate, but I notice the willful erasure of any and all achievements of that short-lived social experiment; …

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