Empire and the origins of the panorama

Tim Barringer– Jeff Wall’s photograph Restoration of 1993—a luminous transparency almost five meters wide—reveals the spectacular scale and complex mechanics of nineteenth-century panoramic paintings. The word “panorama” was coined in 1791 to describe circular painted canvases, some reaching 300 feet in length and 50 feet high. Installed in specially-constructed buildings,

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I Could…

David Thomson— Really, you could. We all know the feeling and we might as well admit it. And don’t take false comfort in its being a game. Just cross your fingers that you won’t be put in the position of having to live with a concentration camp in the next

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The Nineteenth-Century Origins of Internationalism

G. John Ikenberry— Liberal internationalism was born in the nineteenth century, and by the century’s end it had begun to crystallize into a recognizable school of thought—a distinctive cluster of ideas and agendas for organizing international relations. The intellectual roots of this tradition trace back to the Enlightenment and the

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The Battle for Syria

Christopher Phillips— The Syrian civil war is the greatest human disaster of the twenty-first century. Since conflict broke out in 2011, it is estimated that over 500,000 have been killed and 1.9 million wounded. Over 5 million have fled the country and 6.6 million more are internally displaced, more than

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Venmo’s “Social Feed” as Financial Scrapbooking

Lana Swartz— In2017 New Yorker comic, Olivia de Recat presents a series of hand-drawn Venmo transactions and decodes what they really mean. Venmo, currently the most widespread person-to-person payment app in the United States, allows individuals to pay their friends directly. According to reporting in the business press, Venmo is

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Tragedy

Terry Eagleton— All art has a political dimension, but tragedy actually began life as a political institution. Indeed, for Hannah Arendt it is the political art par excellence. Only in theatre, she writes, ‘is the political sphere of human life transposed into art’. In fact, ancient Greek tragedy is not

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Witch Villages and Cursing Wells

Thomas Waters— Witchcraft differed from one region to the next, but it also varied over much shorter distances. Certain desolate, inhospitable or generally ominous locations were known as the favoured haunts of witches. Prolley Moor in Shropshire was a notorious meeting place for practitioners of the dark arts, as was

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A Guide to Handel’s Concerti Grossi, Op. 6

Robert Philip— Of all the composers from continental Europe who settled in England over the centuries, Handel was the one who achieved the greatest celebrity, becoming established as a quintessentially ‘English’ composer. He first became famous as a writer of operas in Germany and Italy, then moved to England in

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Lakota America

Pekka Hamalainen— In 1776 two nations were born in North America. One was conceived in Philadelphia, the other in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and they were separated by more than seventeen hundred miles. Exactly a century later those two nations would clash violently along the Little Bighorn River

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