In Timbuktu with Jean Paul de Dadelsen

Two thousand and eleven, when palm trees without numberRustled, shading tomatoes and cucumbersAll around Timbuktu,And mental trees, planted by the town council,Offered orchards to every studious sibylAnd to sleepers too! This is the opening stanza of “The Orchards of Timbuktu” by Jean-Paul de Dadelsen, translated from the French by Marilyn

Continue reading…

Ep. 80 – Exploring Black Visual Satire

Tracing a historical line from commedia dell’arte, Hogarth and others to modern and contemporary artists including Ollie Harrington, Robert Colescott, Spike Lee, and Kara Walker, we discuss Black visual satire with Duke professor Richard J. Powell. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Spotify |

Four Approaches to Conspiracy Theories

Stephen Bates— Conspiracy theories are much in the news, most notably the QAnon tangle of claims about the Deep State, child-trafficking, and cannibalism. Although the details change, allegations of secret machinations have been a staple of American politics since before the Revolution. Some are harmless entertainment, but others foster bigotry,

Continue reading…

Beethoven’s ‘Last Musical Thought’

Laura Tunbridge— In 1840, the Berlin publisher Heinrich Schlesinger published a short piano piece as the Dernière pensée musicale de Louis van Beethoven. It was not, in fact, Beethoven’s “last musical thought”; it was not even the first time it had been published. The same music had appeared in a supplement

Continue reading…

Richard Oakes and the Takeover of Fort Lawton

Kent Blansett— On Sunday at 3 a.m. Richard Oakes and ninety other members of UIAT [United Indians of All Tribes] assembled at a rendezvous point in downtown Seattle. A veteran and leader of the Alcatraz takeovers, Oakes must have been transported back to the three attempts it had taken IAT

Continue reading…

Djibouti: the Great Power Frontier

Geoffrey F. Gresh— During a recent trip to Djibouti, I was invited to a luncheon following a lecture I delivered on the western Indian Ocean at the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) local headquarters by a commander of Italy’s military base. Along with the Italians, my luncheon partners for this special

Continue reading…

Separated Families: What Can We Learn from the Experience of Child Holocaust Survivors?

Rebecca Clifford— Lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union have revealed the agonizing fact that they have not been able to trace the parents of 545 children who were separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border.  The Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their parents officially ended in

Continue reading…

Confessions of a Born-Again Pagan

Anthony T. Kronman— I can now see that my anxious wish to master my world in thought has from the start been a longing to understand its relation to eternity, but without a God of the sort to whom Christians, Jews and Muslims pray. This is an intellectual longing, of

Continue reading…

Kerry James Marshall’s “SOB, SOB” and David Dabydeen’s Philosophical Aesthetics​

Abigail Zitin— I remember it being at eye level; else how would it have caught my eye? I had gone to see Mastry, an exhibition of works by the African-American painter Kerry James Marshall, at the Met Breuer in January 2017. The painting in question, like most of Marshall’s, is large: six feet

Continue reading…