Arts & Culture

Antigone and African gangs: How an ancient Greek tragedy helped a community fight a stereotype

When the “African gangs” narrative ramped up in Australian media earlier this year, Irene Bakulikira was forced to modify her behaviour. ABC Arts – By Hannah Reich and Barbara Heggen for The Hub on Stage “Obviously everywhere you go, you’re African so you have to be very, very careful. I’ve never had to be careful in my whole life but I am now because of what it is going on,” she said. Bakulikira, whose background is Congolese, said that when she visits stores she now ... Read More »

What Thucydides Knew About the US Today

On the morning after the 2016 presidential election I tried to distract myself by reading some pages of Thucydides that I had assigned for a class the next day, and found myself reading the clearest explanation I had seen of the… Edward Mendelson The New York Review of Books In the third book of his History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides describes the outbreak of civil war on the northern island of Corcyra in 427 BC: There was the revenge taken in ... Read More »

The autistic teenager making video games to show players what Asperger’s is really like

A young, autistic game developer has showcased his innovative new project at Australia’s largest gaming convention, as part of an exhibit putting diversity centre-stage. ABC Central West By Donal Sheil Inspired by his experiences living with autism, Bradley Hennessey’s experimental game, An Aspie Life allows players to experience life with Asperger’s. In addition to entertainment, Mr Hennessey said the power of video games to enhance empathy with others is undervalued. “Really, games can do anything,” he said. “It’s the player. ... Read More »

Why believing in ghosts can make you a better person

Halloween is a time when ghosts and spooky decorations are on public display, reminding us of the realm of the dead. Tok Thompson The Conversation But could they also be instructing us in important lessons on how to lead moral lives? Roots of Halloween The origins of modern-day Halloween go back to “samhain,” a Celtic celebration for the beginning of the dark half of the year when, it was widely believed, the realm between the living and the dead overlapped and ghosts ... Read More »

History of Pictish stones ‘rewritten’ by breakthrough research

The history of Pictish symbol stones in Scotland is being “rewritten” with new research finding the mysterious monuments were being created hundreds of years earlier than previously thought. Alison Campsie The Scotsman A breakthrough in the understanding of the ancient stones has been made following excavations at Dunnicaer sea stack, the site of a Pictish fort just south of Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire. It is now believed that the site is home to the oldest Pictish stones in Scotland with a ... Read More »

Magnum China: Panoramic portrait of a global superpower

Photographers at Magnum Photos have had a long-standing cultural engagement and fascination with China. BBC Co-founders Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson first covered the country on photography assignments in the 1930s and 40s, marking the beginning of a relationship with the country that has continued throughout the decades. Magnum’s photos provide a panoramic portrait of China and its people through the changes and upheavals in its recent history. Here is a small selection from the… Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1949 Henri Cartier-Bresson’s… ... Read More »

The Double Battle

Frederick Douglass’s moral crusade. Eric Foner The Nation Let me begin on a personal note. Over half a century ago, my uncle, the historian Philip S. Foner, rescued Frederick Douglass from undeserved obscurity. Beginning in 1950, he edited four volumes of Douglass’s magnificent speeches and writings, each with a long biographical introduction that chronicled his rise to international renown as a… It is difficult to believe, given his prominence during his lifetime, but Douglass was virtually unknown outside the black ... Read More »

Academic Affirmative Action Is a Really Bad Idea. Here’s Why.

If professors like Elizabeth Warren want to be taken seriously, then they should admit what every academic knows: race matters. Salvatore Babones The National Interest In 2003, with my doctoral dissertation approved and my PhD certificate in the mail, I went on the academic job market looking for an assistant professor position in sociology. I applied for more than eighty jobs and got just three interviews. One of them was at the sociology department of the University of Pittsburgh. It ... Read More »

World’s oldest intact shipwreck discovered in Black Sea

Archaeologists say the 23-metre vessel has lain undisturbed for more than 2,400 years Kevin Rawlinson The Guardian Archaeologists have found what they believe to be the world’s oldest intact shipwreck at the bottom of the Black Sea where it appears to have lain undisturbed for more than 2,400 years. The 23-metre (75ft) vessel, thought to be ancient Greek, was discovered with its mast, rudders and rowing benches all present and correct just over a mile below the surface. A lack ... Read More »

Cartoonists can be an important voice of dissent: but they can also be divisive

Rwanda has introduced legislation which criminalises the public humiliation or insult – through gestures, writings or cartoons – of national authorities, public service officials or foreign state and international organisation representatives. Daniel Hammett The Conversation This is a clear restriction to the freedom of political and editorial cartoonists. Political cartoons are powerful spaces in which negotiations of power and resistance are expressed. They provide insights into power relations, key social issues and events. By mocking or ridiculing the excesses and… Cartoonists can be… Read More »

The Myth of Whiteness in Classical Sculpture

Greek and Roman statues were often painted, but assumptions about race and aesthetics have suppressed this truth. Now scholars are making a color correction. By Margaret Talbot The New Yorker Mark Abbe was ambushed by color in 2000, while working on an archeological dig in the ancient Greek city of Aphrodisias, in present-day Turkey. At the time, he was a graduate student at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, and, like most people, he thought of Greek and Roman ... Read More »

Bob Dylan to launch ‘life story’ retrospective in Shanghai

Dylan’s current Mondo Scripto exhibition is a pre-cursor to fully-immersive show that melds his music and visual art with his life story Richard Cook Asia Times Bob Dylan is world famous as a musician, singer, writer and poet, as a social critic and cultural icon, and as a winner – among numerous other commendations – of a Nobel Prize in Literature. As if such a mercurial collection of talents and accolades is not enough, this modern day American Renaissance Man ... Read More »

A portrait of Othello as a black Muslim tragic hero

Adaptation explores religious roots of Shakespeare’s Moor of Venice as director says play is warning about ‘otherising’. Aina Khan AlJazeera London, England – A new adaptation of Othello in the UK subtly interrogates the tragic hero’s religious identity, presenting to audiences the possibility that the Moor of Venice was a… Produced by the English Touring Theatre, there is an Arabic recitation in the opening scene and an image of Othello with his hands cupped in what is unmistakably a… “I was ... Read More »

Criticism of Western Civilisation isn’t new, it was part of the Enlightenment

The duelling sides in today’s cultural wars about “Western civilization” are united in one thing, at least – each is inclined to gloss over the extent to which “Western civilisation” has always been deeply complex and… Matthew Sharpe The Conversation The fact that leading conservatives like Edmund Burke or Joseph de Maistre, as well as revolutionaries like Karl Marx or Rosa Luxembourg, all belong to “Western civilization” ought by itself to give the… But take the 18th century enlightenment, for ... Read More »

Belfast-born author becomes first Northern Irish writer to win the Man Booker Prize

A Belfast-born author has won Britain’s most prestigious literary award with a novel about a teenage girl being stalked by a middle-aged paramilitary. Brian Ferguson The Scotsman Anna Burns has become the first author from Northern Ireland and the 17th female writer to win the Man Booker Prize. The 56-year-old, who drew on her own experiences of the “Troubles” to write Milkman, was one of four female contenders for the award. The six-strong shortlist included the youngest ever author, 27-year-old ... Read More »

Booker Prize 2018: Anna Burns wins, but the big publishers are the real victors

In the literary world and among those for whom fiction is an interest beyond simply reading books, a great deal of attention will be given to the winner of 2018’s Man Booker Prize, Milkman, by Anna Burns. Leigh WIlson The Conversation The chair of the judges, philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah, said Burns’ novel, about a young woman being sexually harassed by a menacing older man and set in Northern Ireland, “is a story of brutality, sexual encroachment and… Of course, ... Read More »