Arts & Culture

A performer’s life: ‘It’s like starting over and over and over on a zero-hour contract’

Ireland sends out its impoverished artists with a fanfare of glitter and we return home to poverty Deirdre Falvey The Irish Times Artists’ lives offer a glimpse of the reality behind Theatre Forum’s review of performers’ payscales. Liv O’Donoghue, a choreographer and dancer, has toured her own acclaimed work, and performed across Europe, Australia and the US. “I’ve been lucky to be in relatively regular employment and some would say that I’ve been at the top of my game. But ... Read More »

Between the Millet System and EU Values: The Sunni Muslim Turkish State and Non-Muslim Minorities

The relationship between the state and non-Muslim communities[1] has been a sensitive issue since the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923. Dr. Özgür Kaymak MDC Although the principle of secularism has been stated in the constitution, wherein the state was ostensibly required to distance itself from all religious beliefs equally,  Islam had always played an important role in the formation of Turkish identity. The debates with regard to freedom of religion and conscience as well as the rights of ... Read More »

The Damage of Demographic Misinterpretations

The way demographers treat Hispanics is both out of date and incorrect. Amitai Etzioni The National Interest The New York Times recently repeated an often cited misleading figure on demographics, that by 2044 “white Americans [are] projected to fall below half the population and lose their majority status.” This claim has unusually wide-reaching implications for America’s polarized politics. It is leading many whites, especially among those who have not been to college and who live in rural areas, to fear that they will be ... Read More »

The art of distraction: Sebastian Smee’s Quarterly Essay

Guilty as charged. Yes, I spend too much time on social media. Yes, I have become more easily distracted. Yes, I have given up too much personal information to various apps and websites over the years. And yes, I have read a number of articles that articulate precisely how foolish, or at least, misguided this… Stephanie Trigg The Conversation And so when I opened up Sebastian Smee’s Quarterly Essay, Net Loss: The Inner Life in the Digital Age, I was ... Read More »

Picturing Baghdad

Despite their traumatic history, Iraqis are finding individual and civic solutions to their country’s political failures. Julie David de Lossy ICG Crisis Group photographer Julie David de Lossy visited Baghdad in October-November 2018 and returned with portraits of its people’s search for normalcy. Iraq has endured decades of sanctions, war, invasion, regime change and dysfunctional government. These span Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, a devastating eight-year war with Iran in the 1980s and crippling UN sanctions throughout the 1990s. Those difficult years ... Read More »

Hidden women of history: Caterina Cornaro, the last queen of Cyprus

The life of Caterina Cornaro could easily be the plot of a novel or TV drama. One of the most significant woman of Venice’s golden age, Cornaro (1454-1510) was an important figure in Renaissance politics, diplomacy and arts. Craig Barker The Conversation She reigned as the queen of Cyprus for 16 years under immense pressure. As a patron of the arts, she was painted by greats such as Dürer, Titian, Bellini and Giorgione. Yet today she is relatively little known ... Read More »

How A Facebook Page Helped Two Women Enter The Sabrimala Shrine

As a conservative backlash sought to silence women who wanted to visit Sabrimala, they turned online to find each other. K.A. Shaji HuffPost THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Kerala —Forty two-year-old law professor Bindu Ammini, a law professor, and 44-year-old Kanakadurga, assistant manager of a state-run grocery store, first met online in… In the early hours of January 2 this year, the two women entered the shrine under heavy police protection, prompting a violent backlash from those opposed to allowing women “of… The two ... Read More »

The new generation of Filipino women rejecting skin whitening

“Growing up as a kid, I used to hate my skin as I was teased a lot because of it.” Kirsten Jelinek SBS Whitening lotion, whitening soap, whitening deodorant, and even capsules of glutathione – an antioxidant which purports to prevent skin cells from producing darkening melanin – fill the bustling shopping centres of Manila. The Philippines beauty standard of whitening goes by many names – skin lightening, skin evening, skin-fading and even skin brightening. Avon boutique owner Mary Anne ... Read More »

British Jews look to Germany for Brexit ‘insurance policy’

The German constitution allows for people whose citizenship was revoked for ‘political, racist, or religious reasons’ to have it reinstated. Hannah Roberts Politico LONDON — Sally Geppert, a legal secretary from Cologne, was 27 when she arrived in the U.K. on the last day of August 1939 — one of tens of thousands of German Jews who fled the Nazis and found refuge in Britain. The next day, September 1, Germany invaded Poland, war broke out and emigration to Britain from Nazi-controlled ... Read More »

Director of Uffizi Galleries in Florence demands that Germany hands back Nazi-looted painting

The director of the Uffizi Galleries in Florence has demanded that Germany return an artwork that was looted by the Nazis during the Second World War. Nick Squires The Telegraph Eike Schmidt, who is German himself, said Berlin had a moral duty to give back the painting, Vase of Flowers, by the 18th century Dutch artist Jan van Huysum. It was looted from Florence by German soldiers in 1944 and is now owned privately by a German family. Dr Schmidt, who has been ... Read More »

Turkey’s War on Christian Missionaries

The day after American pastor Andrew Brunson was released from Turkish prison, another Christian who had been living for nearly two decades in the country was detained by Turkish authorities, and told that he had two weeks to leave the country — without his wife and… Uzay Bulut Gatestone Institute The American-Canadian evangelist, David Byle, not only suffered several detentions and interrogations over the years, but he had been targeted for deportation on three occasions. Each time, he was saved ... Read More »

‘The world is diminished by the death of Amos Oz, it has narrowed down’

The writer David Grossman pays tribute to his friend, the Israeli novelist and outspoken peace campaigner Harriet Sherwood The Guardian The world has been “narrowed down” by the death of the Israeli literary giant Amos Oz, according to his close friend and fellow author David Grossman. “There will not be another Amos Oz, there was only one like him. You can say this about every human being, of course, but there was something unique about Amos,” Grossman told the Observer. “Those who appreciated ... Read More »

Japan withdraws from International Whaling Commission

Japan will resume commercial whaling in July 2019. Tokyo has long deflected criticism for its commercial whaling activities, arguing that eating whale meat is a part of its culture. DW Japan will withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC), a government spokesman confirmed on Wednesday. The move sets the stage for Japan to resume commercial whaling activities next year. “Commercial whaling to be resumed from July next year will be limited to Japan’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zones. We ... Read More »

What Aristotle can teach us about Trump’s rhetoric

From Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fireside chats to Ronald Reagan’s reputation as the “great communicator” to Barack Obama’s soaring oratory to Donald Trump’s Twitter use, styles of presidential communication have… Anthony F. Arrigo The Conversation But what is similar across all presidents is their ability to create persuasive messages that resonate with large segments of the U.S. population. Whatever your opinion about Donald Trump, he is highly effective at doing this. The question is why, and how does he do… As ... Read More »

Listening to nature: How sound can help us understand environmental change

Our hearing tells us of a car approaching from behind, unseen, or a bird in a distant forest. Garth Paine The Conversation Everything vibrates, and sound passes through and around us all the time. Sound is a critical environmental signifier. Increasingly, we are learning that humans and animals are not the only organisms that use sound to communicate. So do plants and forests. Plants detect vibrations in a frequency-selective manner, using this “hearing” sense to find water by sending out ... Read More »

After More Than Two Decades of Work, a New Hebrew Bible to Rival the King James

The pre-eminent scholar Robert Alter has finally finished his own translation. Avi Steinberg The New York Times One morning this fall, at his home high in the Berkeley hills, the literary critic and translator Robert Alter chatted with me about the dilemmas he faced while translating the Hebrew Bible. Alter, who is 83, sat on a sofa with a long-limbed, feline watchfulness. Behind him, a picture window looked out onto a… He occasionally cast a probing eye on his brand-new, ... Read More »