Humanities

Socialist Media

Terry Eagleton— Over half a century ago, in an excellent little book entitled Communications, Raymond Williams outlined a socialist plan for the arts and media which rejected state control of its content on the one hand and the sovereignty of the profit motive on the other. Instead, the active contributors

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Meditation and Photography

Stephen Batchelor— Taking photographs and practicing meditation might seem at first glance to be unrelated activities. For while photography looks outward at the visual world through the medium of a camera, meditation focuses inward on unmediated experience. And whereas photography is concerned with producing images of reality, meditation is about

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George Sand’s Search for Spirituality

Thomas Kselman— “Since no one was instructing me in religion, it occurred to me I needed one, and I made one for myself. ” – George Sand, History of My Life George Sand (1804-1876) is known to modern readers as a symbol of feminism, a woman who challenged patriarchal values through

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(Self-)Righteous Anger

Judson Brewer— In 2010, I went on a monthlong silent retreat with the aim of working on and possibly stabilizing a special c concentration type of meditation practice (jhana) that can be held for hours if practiced correctly. I had been reading about and trying to develop this practice for

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Ep. 47 – A Cultural History of Extraordinary Bodies

How have we used size to judge people over time? What is the history of size in popular culture? Lynne Vallone discusses how bodies both big and small influence our perception. Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher | Soundcloud

Workers of the World

Niall Kishtainy—  A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of communism.’ This is the first line of The Communist Manifesto, which was written in the middle of the nineteenth century and is perhaps the most famous political pamphlet ever. The spectre – something scary and menacing – was the threat to

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Leaving Gracefully

Mark C. Taylor— Far too many people today have forgotten how to leave, and so stay on, and on, and on until they become a burden to others.  Though leaving can occur at any time, it is most consequential near the end – the end of a relationship, a career,

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The Other Middle East

Franck Salameh— Middle East specialists of a hundred years ago have traditionally been philologists trained in a dozen or more Middle Eastern languages, including Latin and Greek, but also the obligatory Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, Turkish, and Persian among others. Today, many of the luminaries of this venerable area of inquiry

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Stephen Mitchell on Translation and Beowulf

Stephen Mitchell— I backed into translation. As a young man at Yale Graduate School, dealing with a first heartbreak, I became fascinated with the Book of Job. What thrilled and perplexed me was a feeling that the poet who wrote it had seen something, had actually experienced the secret of

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Cold War Maps to “Wake Up” Southeast Asian Buddhists

Eugene Ford— It took me a year to sort through volumes of Thai religious journals in the sometimes sweltering halls of Bangkok’s monastic libraries, where the few Western researchers sat elbow-to-elbow with saffron-clad monks. That research laid the groundwork for what I had begun to envision as an international history

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