EducationFeatureLiberal Democracy in QuestionO.O.P.S.Power and Crisis

Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment in an Early Modern Science Course?

Reflections on continuous contingent foundations for liberal education and liberal democracies

In my final post of the old year , I promised that my next post would defend my claim that “however much I believe the liberals’ heart is in the right place, I believe the critiques of liberal universalism both within the academy and without hit home in some real ways, not least in terms of the self-delusion we liberals have all-too-often suffered about our own tolerance of, and even appetite for, cruelty.” Such a promised defense is only the more necessary in light of David Kretz’s response, which among many other interesting things, raises the question about whether or not a liberal arts college today, …

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EssaysFeatureLiberal Democracy in QuestionMedia/PublicsRaceThe Left

Black Lives Matter: The Politics of Race and Movement in the 21st Century

Understanding the movement and what it represents

Where should we begin in accounting for the rise of the movement for black lives?

The tragedy of 21st century America is that there are innumerable places one could begin. The grievances that have sparked the cry, “Black Lives Matter,” might be rooted in the killing of black bodies at the hands of police, …

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Why Spinoza?

I must begin with a confession: I am a smoker. I know that smoking is dangerous for my health, but I keep doing it. I have tried to stop a couple of times, but always failed. What most puzzles me in this troubled relationship is that, when I first began smoking, I did not like it. Some people like their first cigarettes. I hated it. I guess, as a teenager, I did it only for the sociality of it. Yet, for some reason, I kept doing it, until I got addicted. Now, I …

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EssaysFeatureLiberal Democracy in Question

The Tunisian Moving Seminar

Today, January 14th, exactly five years ago, Tunisian president Zin El-Abidine Ben Ali was the first Arab dictator to be removed by the will and strength of an Arab nation, ushering in a wave of Arab rebellions. Because of the negative and destructive course taken by these revolts in Egypt, Syria and Yemen, many deem it pointless, futile or indecent to try to speak of their achievements. Nonetheless, having …

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CapitalismFeatureLiberal Democracy in Question

The Politics of Fear and the Republican Debates

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s racist and xenophobic stance is repugnant, of course. But exclusionary attitudes are common across the Republican Party and largely shared by its nominees. The 2016 primary debates are reflective of the GOP candidates’ minimal or non-existent capacity for what Arendt called “representative thinking,” which includes the ability to inhabit other …

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FeatureLetters

I Can’t Give Everything Away: on David Bowie’s Final Song

I had heard snippets of “Lazarus”, the third song on David Bowie’s new release “Blackstar”, on the radio last week. The announcer described it as part of Bowie’s newest “jazz album”, although the strongest connection I could detect with jazz was the omnipresence of the saxophone as a lead instrument. Whether the album was “jazz” or not did not concern me all that much. I thought the song was excellent …

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EducationEssaysFeature

The Anniversary Gift: Texas opens public universities to firearms

The most striking architectural feature of the University of Texas at Austin is the tower that sits atop a hill at the center of campus. It is a twenty-seven story limestone monolith; a “toothpick” according to one detractor, more suited to the New Jersey cityscapes that inspired its architect, than to the landscaped grounds and rows of squat Italianate villas that radiate out from it. The tower is, in many respects, the focal …

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CapitalismEssaysFeatureLiberal Democracy in Question

All Quiet on the Eastern Front: Part 2

Notes from a Pegida counter-demonstration in Dresden

“Say it loud and say it clear, refugees are welcome here.”

There is something exhilarating and powerful about walking through the dark, empty streets of Dresden’s old town chanting this slogan. A solitary message of support in a continent that is in a race to rebuild the old borders and impose new mobility restrictions with as much fanfare as it sought to dismantle them only twenty-five years earlier. Yet the message is also unnerving…

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CapitalismEssaysFeatureLiberal Democracy in Question

All Quiet on the Eastern Front

Notes from a Pegida counter-demonstration in Dresden

It is 5.30 on a cold and rainy Monday evening in Dresden. To the casual tourist, there might be nothing extraordinary about the time or day of the week. The eerie tranquility of warmly flashing Christmas decorations, the ubiquitous smell of Glühwein, and the ingeniously crafted stands of the world famous Dresden Stiezelmarkt – all suggest that the city is ready to settle into a beloved holiday tradition…

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