Violence is a key ingredient of human storytelling: from our first oral tales, violent acts have heightened audience attention and underlined the dangers of our world. What happens to a child who goes off alone? She is beset by ogres! Djinn! Child-eating witches! As different story traditions developed, most were rich in violence, which was often focused around a single enemy. This enemy could be battled (and tricked or beaten), offering the audience a psychological release.
This October, Sweden became the first western European nation to formally recognize Palestine as a state. Whilst other eastern European countries such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland have made the declaration much earlier, this first acknowledgment from western Europe signals an important step forward in bringing popular legitimacy to the notion of Palestinian statehood.
The 17th Century Kabbalist, Nathan of Gaza, speculated that before the world came into being, there were, in the endlessness of existence, two lights: the one, active, thinking, with the impetus to create; the other passive, concealed and full in itself. When the first light contracted itself to make room for creation, the second light resisted and remained unmoved. It is this second light that became the force we think of as evil in the world.
Michel Foucault would have been 88 this weekOctober 15, 2014
In celebration of what would have been legendary French philosopher Michel Foucault's 88th birthday this week, we would like to share The Lost Interview. Published on March 20, 2014 on YouTube.
Tales of repression and subjugation are ubiquitous in the military-ruled northernmost borderland of India, the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian government appositely refers to it as “disturbed.” How else would anyone define a territory where the population’s collective memory wails of military and police excesses, where, invariably, every household has a painful story to share?— How else to describe a territory where the existence of its people and what becomes of their progeny is determined by the tragedies they associate with their land.
If every country needs a poet, then Kosovo’s was Ali Podrimja. The whole country mourned when, on a midsummer’s day two years ago, the lifeless body of the poet was found in a forest miles away from the small French town of Lodève. His death was attributed to dehydration. There were no signs of violence and nothing to indicate it was a suicide. Podrimja, who was in town for a festival of Mediterranean poetry, had disappeared days before, losing all contact with colleagues and family.
For nearly a month, fighters from the mainly Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) have kept Islamic State (IS) forces at bay outside Kobani (Ayn al-Arab) in northern Syria. Regional and international actors have remained reluctant to support the YPG, demanding that the group first relinquishes its independent identity and becomes part of the mainly Arab Free Syrian Army (FSA).
Coming of age after postmodernism often seems like living a parody of our forebears’ concerns; it feels like we are testing the Society of the Spectacle reductio ad ridiculum.
Can the United States government legally stop US citizens from traveling to certain "Ebola-affected" countries? Can the government restrict US citizens abroad who may have been infected with the Ebola virus from re-entering the country, as it can non-citizens? Can the government impose isolation or quarantine measures inside the United States in order to control Ebola?
After the great "trigger warning" debate of spring 2014, this semester marks the first time many university instructors are deciding how to address the psychological welfare of their students.