Arts & DesignEssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

Shakespeare and Trump: What’s in a Name?

Thoughts on headless bodies in tombless graves

One seeks in vain for references to Shakespeare in Carly Fiorina’s Tough Choices: A Memoir (2007) and Rising to the Challenge: My Leadership Journey (2015). There are no lessons from Shakespeare in Hillary Clinton’s It Takes a Village and Other Lessons Children Teach Us (1996). Nor are there any in her more recent books …

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EducationEssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionPower and CrisisTheory & Practice

Agnes Heller and “Everyday Revolutions”

Portrait of a Philosopher

The forms of the southern clouds at the dawn of April 30th, 1882, are comparable to those mottled streaks on this one book he had only seen once (a Spanish edition). Following the Naturalis Historia, he recounts exactly four historically exemplary cases of prodigious memory: Cyrus …

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EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

Tunisia: Invisible Alienation, Visible Violence

A relational view of Tunisian youths

Analyzing the youth is notoriously a difficult task. How should we define this social group? Can we even speak of “the youth” in the singular? With regard to the Arab Uprisings (a phrase which I prefer to the loaded “Arab Spring”), many did not …

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EssaysPsyche

When will the Barred Owl of Minerva Fly?

Time is running out for Israel-Palestine

On a cold, dreary November morning in the Berkshires, Massachusetts, I finally understood why owls are seen as wise, why in the ancient world they represented Athena and Minerva, the goddesses of wisdom. On my way from an academic symposium in Great Barrington …

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EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

Going Backward in Argentina

A country is not a corporation

The election of Mauricio Macri on November 22, 2015, to the presidency in Argentina by a slim 51% to 49% over Governor Daniel Scioli marks a sharp break with 12 years of progressive government and the reconstruction of the state after the neoliberal period of the 1990s. It is a …

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CapitalismEssaysMedia/PublicsReligion

On Pope Francis, Climate Change, and Global Capitalism

A psychological perspective

Pope Francis’s recent encyclical, Laudato si’: On Care for our Common Home, has drawn worldwide attention to climate change and its relationship to global capitalism in advance of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change to be held in Paris in late November …

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CapitalismEssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionMedia/Publics

Jeremy Corbyn’s Attempt to Reinvent British Labour

The changing face of the British Left

On September 12, 2015, Britain’s Labour Party elected as its leader Jeremy Corbyn, a man branded a dangerous socialist and pacifist. He won with 250,000 votes of party members and supporters, out …

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EssaysMedia/Publics

The Politics of Disinviting

On education and engagement with ideas

The tactic of disinviting controversial speakers has become increasingly common across college campuses. Consider, for example, what happened to the Iranian-born human rights activist Maryam Namazie (a prominent anti-racist activist and a central committee member of the Worker-Communist Party of Iran), who was …

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EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

Benjamin in Jerusalem

The Middle East as crisis and critique

This month, two conferences and one exhibition dedicated to Walter Benjamin’s legacy are descending on Ramallah, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv. Because of an unhealthy mix of political considerations, security measures, and academic snobbery, I will partake in none of them, despite my deep roots in this troubled land and my recent book on Benjamin. …

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EssaysMedia/Publics

The Nude in the Library

A tale of two anachronisms

October 2015 was a big month for obsolescence. First we heard reports that the OCLC’s classic library card catalog was finally being retired. Then we heard news that Playboy magazine had decided to no longer feature fully nude models between its pages. As someone who grew up taking for granted the existence of both …

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