Star Trek vs. the Radical Right: Visions of a Better World

Oct 22, 2020

Science fiction has a long history of progressive politics. Probably the best-known example is the Star Trek franchise that started in the 1960s with an Asian helmsman, a navigator from Russia and a black woman as a communications officer and features non-binary and transgender characters in...

Warren Buffett’s Struggle With Class Struggle
Oct 13, 2020

Warren Buffett’s Struggle With Class Struggle

Do Romance Novels Offer an Outdated Model of Feminism?
Oct 10, 2020

Do Romance Novels Offer an Outdated Model of Feminism?

Kashmir’s History and Future Meet in Literature
Sep 24, 2020

Kashmir’s History and Future Meet in Literature

“Shantaram:” A Tale of Two Evils

“Shantaram:” A Tale of Two Evils

Aug 15, 2020

The trouble with “Shantaram,” the 2003 best-selling novel by Australian author David Gregory Roberts, is that it makes you wonder if it really is fiction. Paradoxically, too much credulity makes us incredulous. “Shantaram,” too incisive for non-fiction and too believable for fiction, is an...

Welcome to the Curiosity Economy

Welcome to the Curiosity Economy

Jul 27, 2020

In 1954, when television sets were just becoming widespread in American homes, Alfred Hitchcock made “Rear Window.” The film portrays L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries, a magazine photographer played by James Stewart, stuck at home in a wheelchair with a broken leg, whose only entertainment is gazing...

Susan Sontag: Overcoming Representation

Susan Sontag: Overcoming Representation

Jun 13, 2020

Susan Sontag died 16 years ago. Nothing about her has lost its salience. If there was one intellect that marked postwar America, it was hers. She had huge ambition, indeed vanity, and hoped to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. If she had, it would not have been for her novels — which are now...

The Parisian Becoming of Simone de Beauvoir

The Parisian Becoming of Simone de Beauvoir

May 16, 2020

Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir share the same grave in the Cemetière du Montparnasse — or rather, their ashes do — and every morning someone places a long-stemmed rose on their slab beside the cemetery wall. The legendary romance is thus renewed in the eyes of the daily visitors....

Max Weber’s Three Qualities for the Modern Politician

Max Weber’s Three Qualities for the Modern Politician

May 08, 2020

In January 1919, an invite to present a lecture was extended to a leading German intellectual and political theorist Max Weber. The young members of Munich University’s Free Students Union had requested that he elucidate himself on the “vocation” of politics, with the added subtext of...

The Truth Behind “The Plot Against America”

The Truth Behind “The Plot Against America”

Apr 30, 2020

Phillip Roth’s 2004 novel, “The Plot Against America,” has been made into a six-part TV series and shown recently on HBO in the United States and Great Britain. David Simon wrote the script for the television version and directed the production. Simon’s earlier credits include “The...

Anne Frank’s Amsterdam: Remembering Our Privilege in Times of Pandemic

Anne Frank’s Amsterdam: Remembering Our Privilege in Times of Pandemic

Apr 03, 2020

As I reread Anne Frank’s diary — living just a 10-minute walk from her hiding place in Amsterdam and having first read it in an American middle school, only imagining Europe — I immediately recognize many things that were not familiar the first time around. In recounting her life before...

The Art of Social Distancing According to Hannah Arendt

The Art of Social Distancing According to Hannah Arendt

Mar 23, 2020

It seems that on the highest levels, everything is going wrong. In the past few years, populism and authoritarianism have reared their ugly heads. The economy has just reached historic lows, and we are only beginning to reap the effects of a ruined environment. Suicide rates are climbing, refugee...

Martha Nussbaum’s Magnificent Opus, a Critique

Martha Nussbaum’s Magnificent Opus, a Critique

Mar 13, 2020

The philosopher Martha Nussbaum has a prodigious output and, indeed, it takes a prodigious effort to keep up with it. No sooner had I completed reading the latest trio of her books than a new one was signaled,  many of the recent works being based on her delivery of prestigious guest lectures...

Talking African Literature With Chigozie Obioma

Talking African Literature With Chigozie Obioma

Mar 05, 2020

African literature has attracted immense international interest in recent years, and a number of “Afropolitan” icons and rising stars have won acclaim from critics and literary festivals. Yet most reading lists released by major newspapers and journals are still disproportionately...

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