Current Affairs

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,

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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

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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

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In the Olive Orchard with Luigi Pirandello

Luigi Pirandello, the great twentieth-century Italian playwright, was also a maestro of the short story. In Virginia Jewiss’ introduction to her new translation of Pirandello’s short stories, she writes, “The Pirandello we meet here is a master storyteller, with an ear for dialogue, an eye for revealing details, and a keen sense of the crushing burdens of class,

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Pigs At Work

Jamie Kreiner— When much of the human world was in lockdown this spring, the animal world seemed to come out of its own kind of quarantine. Dolphins had a holiday in the Bosphorus. Mountain goats cruised through Llandudno. Wild boar munched their way through Haifa. These stories were so addictive that they

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Cultural Exchanges and Trans-Atlantic Bonds: African Music and the Evolution of Blues and Jazz

Toyin Falola and Raphael Chijioke Njoku— The subject of Black music and its African cultural roots is arguably one of the most engaging topics in contemporary Africana studies, cultural anthropology, and ethnomusicology. It is compelling because the record of successes attained by Black music artists across the world is one

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Climate Change—No 0.5°C are the Same

James Ladyman & Karoline Wiesner— In 2015 representatives of 196 states agreed to hold the warming of average global atmospheric temperature above pre-industrial levels to well below 2°C, and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C—this is the Paris Agreement. However, just a few years later, in 2019, warming

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The Future of International Order

Rebecca Lissner and Mira Rapp-Hooper— Foreign policy elites have reached a near-consensus that the liberal international order led by the United States since World War II is fraying, as its institutions, laws, and norms are growing less effective and its principles of free markets, democracy promotion, constraints on the use

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The Forgotten History of Inoculation

Gavin Weightman— The huge international effort to develop an effective vaccine against the coronavirus suggests that it is only with the development of modern medicine that an antidote could be found for a deadly virus. Yet the concept of immunization is hundreds, if not thousands, of years old. And its

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What Kinds of “Supreme Court Reform” Could Rebalance the Supreme Court?

Mark Tushnet— Progressives both in Congress and outside it have begun to talk seriously about “Supreme Court reform” in the aftermath of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing and her replacement—as it now seems—by Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Discussions have focused on three possible methods of “rebalancing” the Supreme Court: enlarging

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