Arts & Culture

Monolingualism diminishes America’s stature on the world stage

Most school districts across the United States tout 21st century skills along with developing students’ global competence. Martha G. Abbott The Hill Yet, in the majority of those efforts, administrators and policymakers fail to emphasize an increasingly important skill for all Americans: speaking more than one language. At a time when there is an increasing demand among employers for multilingual skills and a national report commissioned by Congress, “America’s Languages: Investing in Language Education in the… Monolingualism diminishes… Read More »

Essays On Air: Joan of Arc, our one true superhero

One need not be a parent of a young child, as I am, to be conscious of the full-blown resurgence of the superhero in contemporary popular culture. Ali Alizadeh The Conversation But there is more to a hero than courage and strength. On today’s episode of Essays On Air, the audio version of The Conversation’s Friday essay series, I’m reading my essay on Joan of Arc, our one true superhero. She’s been depicted as a national heroine and a nationalist symbol ... Read More »

How actresses who are just starting out get pressured into ‘creepy’ nude scenes

Ciera Payton had just turned 18 when she was cast in a lead role opposite Steven Seagal in the 2007 film “Flight of Fury.” Jessica P. Ogilvie The Washington Post It was her first professional acting job, and filming would take place in Romania. But before sending her to set, neither the film’s producers nor her agent showed her the full script, Payton says. So it wasn’t until halfway through her flight that the sophomore at the University of North ... Read More »

Cinema and smart phones: the art of increasing audiences for opera, ballet and theatre

Watching an opera, play or ballet has become an increasingly cinematic experience. “Livecasting” performances directly onto screens is now a major part of these kinds of production. Alan Williams The Conversation London’s Royal Opera House has an upcoming “Cinema Season” which includes live relays of Carmen and Swan Lake. In the US, the New York Metropolitan Opera House started livecasting in 2006, while the UK’s National Theatre Live began in 2009. The Royal Opera House and the Royal Ballet joined ... Read More »

We’re All Fascists Now

Christina Hoff Sommers is a self-identified feminist and registered Democrat with a Ph.D. in philosophy and a wicked sense of humor. She is also a woman who says bad things. Bari Weiss The New York Times Things like: Men and women are equal, but there are differences between them. Or: The gender gap in STEM fieldsisn’t simply the result of sexism. Or: Contrary to received wisdom, the American school system actually favors girls, not boys. When such a person steps foot on ... Read More »

Hazing and sexual violence in Australian universities: we need to address men’s cultures

The esteemed residential colleges of Sydney University have recently gained intense public scrutiny for fostering cultures of sexual harassment, rape and hazing. Ben Wadham The Conversation The Red Zone Report, produced by independent journalists for End Rape on Campus Australia, presented a harrowing account of men’s tribalism, and elitism in Australia’s universities. The report focused on 12 universities including all the Group of Eight universities. Across all 39 Australian universities there are 216 residential colleges or halls. The colleges are… ... Read More »

A Guide to Let Go of Your Perfectly Good Things

Finding our lives under everything we own is more than clearing away just junk. Often it requires removing good quality things. Note: This is a guest post from Zoë Kim of Raising Simple. BecomingMinimalist Expensive things. Useful things. Admired things. Fancy things. It means letting go of perfectly good stuff in order to pursue something more meaningful. I began de-owning my excess six years ago. My husband deployed frequently and we had two children under five. I was spending more time doing something with our stuff ... Read More »

Should you send a text or email? Here’s some advice from Aristotle

Suppose you want to get in touch with a friend. Once, your options for doing so might have been sparse: pick up the phone or write a letter. Alexis Elder The Conversation But these days, you have to decide: Should you call or text, use Snapchat, or reach out on Twitter, Messenger or Skype? Other considerations, whether it’s an old friend or new acquaintance, or whether you’re asking a favor or checking in, as well as your own conversational tendencies ... Read More »

Steven Pinker Continues to See the Glass Half Full

Book Review Enlightenment Now The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress By Steven Pinker Optimism is not generally thought cool, and it is often thought foolish. Sarah Bakewell The New York Times The optimistic philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote in 1828, “I have observed that not the man who hopes when others despair, but the man who despairs when others hope, is admired by a large class of persons as a sage.” In the previous century, Voltaire’s “Candide” had ... Read More »

‘Crazy for books’: How Thomas Hardy understood the transformative power of reading

The English novelist and poet Thomas Hardy may be overshadowed in schools today by writers such as Shakespeare, Roald Dahl and J.K. Rowling. Angelique Richardson The Conversation But in times of widespread education cuts it is worth remembering what he had to teach us about access to education – and his belief in the power of books to change lives. Writing in the American symposium-based journal Forum in 1888, Hardy outlined the benefits of reading as “alleviating the effects of ... Read More »

Fall of Troy: the legend and the facts

The legendary ancient city of Troy is very much in the limelight this year: a big budget co-production between the BBC and Netflix: Troy, Fall of a City, recently launched, while Turkey designated 2018 the “Year of Troy” and plans a year of celebration, including the opening of a new museum on the presumed site. Mariacarmela Montesanto The Conversation So what do we know about the city, ruins of which have been painstakingly excavated over the past 150 years? The ... Read More »

The Formal Economy as Patriarchy: Vandana Shiva’s Radical Vision

To achieve economic equality, activist and author Vandana Shiva says we need to recognize the value of women’s work and start counting production, not just profits. Jumana Farouky NewsDeeply LONDON – In the middle of a conference ringing with the latest development lingo, Vandana Shiva cuts a lonely figure. Anti-“empowerment,” anti-“jobs,” and anti-“formal economy,” she rejects many of the narratives that are usually used to promote the cause of women’s advancement. Yet she’s come to the Bond conference on international development in London to ... Read More »

AFL pokies ‘linked to spike in family violence’

New research has revealed poker machine clubs owned by the AFL have been linked to an increase family violence. 9news The Monash University research obtained by The Herald Sun found the majority of AFL pokie machines were located in lower-socio economic areas. Using crime data from police, the report found family violence increased by 21.5 percent in north-western suburbs of Victoria where AFL pokies were placed. In contrast, north-western suburbs without the pokies showed a… AFL pokies ‘linked… Read More »

From bacteria to Bach, the origins of culture

Antonio Damasio, director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California, is one of the… Nathan Gardels The Washington Post WorldPost: I first heard your name when the cellist YoYo Ma told me about your book “Descartes’ Error,” which he said helped answer some key questions he had about how virtuosity and creativity come about in music — not by reason alone but through the… Antonio Damasio: When I think of “Descartes’ Error” today, almost 25 years ... Read More »

NGV drops Wilson Security

The National Gallery of Victoria has today indicated that Wilson Security will no longer provide security services at the state institution. Image: Artists’ Committee, Break the Silence (2017), intervention with cello. Photo: Lara Chamas Wilson Security is well known for its serious and extensive record of human rights abuses against children, women and men held in offshore immigration detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru. Because of this link with the detention industry, the NGV’s relationship with Wilson Security has been the ... Read More »

What today’s anti-immigrant populists could learn from Homer about kindness to strangers

Troy, a new BBC adaptation of Homer’s Iliad, shows the enduring interest we have in Ancient Greek myths. Aleardo Zanghellini The Conversation Today, Homer’s epic works remain both politically and ethically relevant. The Greek poet’s insight into why law and legality matter is particularly enlightening in the context of contemporary debates about immigration, which loom large amid the rise of right-wing populism on both sides of the Atlantic. Those who object to immigration and demonise immigrants argue that the West’s ... Read More »