Books

Even after 30 years, Salman Rushdie will forever be associated with the fatwa against him. The Satanic Verses still divides opinion today, but what more can be said about the controversy? (More…)

Northern Ireland is a small region within a rich nation-state, but the strength of the economic union has now become a source of instability.  The threat is that the Northern Irish business community has not seen a consistent “reduction of uncertainty”, as it depends on the prospect of stability. (More…)

One measure of twentieth-century conceptual conflict over comics in China lies between the positions of literary critic Hu Feng and Mao Zedong. Hu Feng, an inheritor of the May 4th revolutionary tradition, argued that individual subjectivity provided the basis for responding to popular sentiment and political will. (More…)

With the death of Hafiz al-Assad in 2000, a peace deal between Syria and Israel remained incomplete. While some speculated that  Islamists in Syria would use the death of Assad to attempt to gain political control of Syria that reality did not occur. The Alawi political power remained intact when Bashar al-Assad took over for his father. (More…)

In late 2010 and early 2011, popular uprisings challenged the ruling dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt, as opposition groups campaigned for a democratic transformation. Their actions inspired opposition groups in neighbouring countries, opening the door for change across the region, in what became known as the “Arab Spring.” (More…)

Where does prison literature begin and where does it end?  At the prison gates? Only with jailed writers? Given the sprawling impact of prisons on American society, no definition of prison literature will hold. (More…)

One night on a kibbutz in the early 1970s, a German volunteer named Wolfgang turned up at my door asking for assistance.  He’d climbed over a high gate returning from Tel Aviv, fell, and had a nasty cut across his palm.  I took him to the clinic while a friend fetched the kibbutz nurse, a concentration camp survivor with a tattoo on her arm. (More…)

In The Death of Truth: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump, former New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani provides a passionate and compelling statement of the mainstream liberal critique of the misdeeds of the 45th president and the cultural and political effects that it has spawned. Digging deeper, Kakutani locates the source of the problem in the loss of standards of truth held in common. (More…)

On the night of 7 November, the wild cry arose that the war was over! We were used to all manner of reports, though none quite as stunning as this, and in a few minutes excitement was at its height. An optimistic MP was heard shouting, “It’s over, so help me, God!” and a little later the same spirit was evidenced by the doughboys along the roads, who were joyfully proclaiming the end by shooting up flares and yelling, “Fini la guerre.” (More…)

Slave narratives are working-class literature in extremis.  They relate an existential struggle for possession of self and labour.  Failure to wrest control away from a master or to effect escape often means traumatic depression.  The slave narrative is predicated on the eventual success of that struggle.  Stripped to its essence, a slave narrative is a working-class fight to the death.  (More…)

Her resources already taxed to the breaking point, Italy was called upon to bear an additional burden of colossal proportions in caring for half a million old men, women and children, suddenly rendered homeless and penniless by the Caporetto defeat. (More…)

Fascism is a state that capitalism sometimes occupies, but it is also a system of ideas. It is important to remember this because this ideological dimension generates dynamics in a turbulent landscape that cannot be unproblematically reduced to (or mapped onto) the underlying economic formation. (More…)