European History

The Past and Present of Print

Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen— Does Tim Berners-Lee regret inventing the internet?  At the time, the internet was trumpeted, like any step forward in information culture, as a liberating force, an instrument of democratic empowerment. No-one foresaw the dark web, online betting, still less fake news. Citizen journalism begat

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Remembering (and Forgetting) Epidemics

Kevin Siena— Every year my undergraduates are surprised to learn that 50-100 million people died a century ago during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918–20. We can probably thank the stunning success of twentieth-century biomedicine for this particular episode of historical amnesia. Generations of North Americans raised in relative security

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Examining the Secular Age

Nicholas Wolterstorff— Recently I dipped once again into Charles Taylor’s massive A Secular Age, and one of the themes he develops there led me to reflect on the implications of that theme for the place of religion in the university—by which I do not mean the place of the study

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On Narcissistic Leaders and Personality Cults

David Brandenberger— Although the similarities between Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Viktor Orban, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Rodrigo Duterte are often overstated, all these leaders are united by their cultivation of personality cults. Recently, pundits have linked indulgence in this sort of thing to something referred to as “narcissistic personality disorder”—a

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Horse Thieves and the Bandit Tradition

Mark Galeotti— Periodic epidemics, crop failure and other disaster cannot compare with the harm that horse thieves bring to the countryside. The horse thief holds peasants in perpetual, uninterrupted fear. Georgy Breitman, 1901 The horse thief lived a violent, dangerous life, at risk from both the police and peasant lynch

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A Time to Write and a Time to Resist

David G. Roskies— Writing, we are told, is a form of resistance. The act of writing is an assertion of one’s selfhood, one’s right to live, think and feel in the face of all that negates it. But writing can just as easily be an escape from reality, an exercise

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What happened after the Crusades?

Christopher Tyerman— We all know about the Crusades, don’t we? They were wars fought by western European Christians against Muslim control of Jerusalem and the Holy Land of Palestine. They began in 1095, when Pope Urban II summoned the knights of Christendom to undertake a war that would earn its

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Art in Nazi Germany

Michael Kater— Much has been made in recent weeks in the international press of German chancellor Angela Merkel ordering pictures by Modernist painter Emil Nolde to be removed from her offices. There was also mention of an exhibition in Berlin featuring Nolde’s works, which, according to the New York Times

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The Working Class Has the New Bourgeoisie Running Scared

Christophe Guilluy— The working class, wearing yellow vests, has just won a decisive battle: it has at last managed to make itself visible.  The gilets jaunes are not a traditional social movement that pits workers against employers or left against right.  For four months now, the young people, the older

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On Noses

Noelle Gallagher— By the word Nose, throughout all this long chapter of noses, and in every other part of my work, where the word Nose occurs, I declare, by that word I mean a Nose, and nothing more, or less. So claims the eccentric hero of Laurence Sterne’s wildly popular

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