Current Affairs

Why the Past Four Years Might End Up Doing Us More Good than We Think

Zizi Papacharissi— The list is staggering: a president who tweeted incessantly and in polarizing ways; a pandemic the might of which we had not seen for 100 years; civil rights violations unacceptable in a country purporting to be a global democratic leader exposed from a veneer of political correctness by

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A Poem for Spring

Spring officially arrived this past weekend, bringing with it the reminder that roughly one year has passed since the United States first entered lockdown. Maya C. Popa’s poem, “Spring,” recalls that initial period when time and season seemed to “persist” without us. It suggests the grief and isolation felt amidst

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How Britain Is Doing the Most Against Coronavirus

Alex Brummer— Here is something you are unlikely to have read about in the pandemic year.  Of all the countries in the world fighting Covid-19, Britain, in spite of its chaotic response to the pandemic and high death count, has done more than most countries on earth to meet the challenge

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Idi Amin and the Uses of Political Buffoonery

Mark Leopold— From the beginning of my research into the life of the notorious Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin, I noticed the frequency with which contemporary commentators (especially but not only British ones) described him as a “buffoon.” So I was interested when, sometime around 2015, the same word became increasingly applied,

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Police Before “The Police”

Sal Nicolazzo— In his Lectures on Justice, Police, Revenue, and Arms—the precursor to The Wealth of Nations—Adam Smith defines “the objects of police” as “the cheapness of commodities, public security and cleanliness.” This broad mandate for “police”—most of which has little or nothing to do with crime prevention—may sound idiosyncratic to

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Brexit as a British State of Mind

Vernon Bogdanor— Is Britain part of Europe? Of course, geographically we certainly are part of Europe. But politically? The answer is by no means clear. Britain has long had an ambivalent relationship with the Continent. It is apparent even in the way that we speak. We speak of entering Europe

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Constitutional Leadership and Responsibility

Steven B. Smith— The second impeachment trial of Donald Trump ended in an acquittal by a vote of 57-43. Democrats could take some comfort in the fact that it was the largest bipartisan vote in any impeachment trial, although it was a virtually foregone conclusion that they would fail to

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Enduring Dispossession in Indonesia

Christian Lund— In 2013, my friend Oji and I were talking to a group of villagers not far from Garut, in West Java. The land around had been the object of dispute and struggle for generations. It had been taken over from Javanese nobility and peasants by Dutch planters in

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… in which Nick Mauss answers some questions about Transmissions

Transmissions is an installation, a collage of several art forms, a revisionist investigation of New York modernism and sexual expression, and an essay in queer theory…. The juxtapositions show that Transmissions is a work of creative imagination as much as revelation. You go to sample it as history, you absorb

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Looking to the Past to Find Ourselves

Michael Hattem– For a few decades, American history has played a prominent role in the most current iteration of culture wars in the United States. We saw this most recently in some of the ways that President Trump motivated his base in the 2020 presidential election. These included holding “the

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