by / on March 18, 2010 at 7:21 am / in Culture, Europe, Issue, World

Thinly Veiled

With the help of the French, the veil—also known more accurately in various forms as the burqa, hijab or niqab—has conquered both the bra and the bikini as the world’s most contentious piece of women’s apparel.

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by / on December 18, 2009 at 7:46 am / in Africa, Culture, Issue, World

Africa Disempowe(red)

A few months ago, I was standing in line at the Gap when I overheard a mother talking to her young daughter. “Buying this shirt will help us to save Africans,” she said, smiling as she waved a child-size shirt that read “INSPI(RED)” across the chest. I wondered if this could possibly be true.

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by / on December 18, 2009 at 7:44 am / in Culture, Domestic, Issue, New York

The Wright Stuff

Frank Lloyd Wright had a useful hint for the contemporary urban planner: “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” As sentimental as this advice might sound, the role of nature in the context of the built environment is no light concern in the minds of policymakers and planners today. In a nod to the spirit of these “green” times, two current New York exhibitions are exploring the realities and potentials of this role—and in so doing offer two contrasting ways of approaching an understanding of the relationship between the built form and its underlying ecosystem.

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by / on October 18, 2009 at 5:28 pm / in Culture, Europe, Issue, World

Art Without Borders

I am at the Polish Pavilion on the Venice Biennale, an art festival which takes place over the course of six months. The Biennale occurs every two years and attracts international and contemporary artists who wish to showcase their work in art’s global epicenter. This year, it will remain on display until November 22. The central theme binding all the works together, “Making Worlds,” is quite open-ended.

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by / on October 18, 2009 at 5:26 pm / in Book Review, Culture, Issue

Adopting a New Tone

With her new novel, A Gate at the Stairs, Moore takes an unexpectedly blunt political turn, eschewing the wit and grace for which she had been appreciated. Moore’s literary odyssey demonstrates that there’s no better way to become a legend than by staying out of the limelight, and no worse way to disappoint than by stepping forward and revealing you have nothing to say.

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by / on October 18, 2009 at 5:25 pm / in Asia, Culture, Issue, World

More Than a War Zone

The art exhibit “Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul,” put together by the National Geographic Society and currently touring North America, offers an excellent introduction to that colorful history and a chance to view some extraordinary art.

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by / on May 27, 2008 at 9:34 pm / in Culture, Interview, Issue

Interview with Bruce Robbins

Bruce Robbins is a professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia. His most recent book is Upward Mobility and the Common Good: Toward a Literary History of the Welfare State.

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by / on April 2, 2008 at 4:40 am / in Book Review, Culture, Issue

Book Review: Diary of a Bad Year

How free is democracy? How do raids perpetuate apartheid? Is economic competition the result of an innate human viciousness? The answers to these and other political questions, framed as a series of short essays, allow J.M. Coetzee to expose the fragility and incoherence of strong political opinions in his latest novel, Diary of a Bad Year.

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by / on April 2, 2008 at 4:34 am / in Culture, Film Review, Issue

Film Review: Taxi to the Dark Side

Having directed Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005) and having served as the Consulting Producer for Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006) and Executive Producer for No End in Sight (2007), Alex Gibney has found a formula to refresh the politico-documentary genre and penetrate Hollywood’s mainstream distribution.

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by / on December 2, 2007 at 5:14 am / in Culture, Film Review, Issue, World

Films in Brief: Rendition

Rendition presents the subject of torture through an aching love story that encourages the viewer to suffer along with the wife of the disappeared, wondering when love will be restored and family made whole.

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