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Shortly after its introduction, photography transformed the ways Americans made political arguments using visual images. In the mid-19th century, photographs became key tools in debates surrounding slavery. Yet, photographs were used in interesting and sometimes surprising ways by a range of actors. Matthew Fox-Amato, an Assistant Professor at the …
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Listen to Episode No.8 of All We Mean, a Special Focus of this podcast. All We Mean is an ongoing discussion and debate about how we mean and why. The guests on today's episode are Bill Cope and Mary Kalantzis, professors at the University of Illinois. Today we welcome, too, Duane Searsmith, E-Learning Technical Specialist, Information Trust Instit…
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Boston is today one of the world's greatest cities, first in higher education, hospitals, life science companies, and sports teams. It was the home of the Great Puritan Migration, the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the first civil rights movement, the abolition movement, and the women's rights movement. But the city that gave us th…
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“The things that are happening to North Korea are happening to all of us…they are part of the human community. To say that this is just a problem for North Korea is to say that North Koreans are not part of the human community.” In her new book, Dying for Rights: Putting North Korea’s Human Rights Abuses on the Record (Columbia University Press, 20…
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Michael Johnston's The Middle English Book: Scribes and Readers, 1350-1500 (Oxford UP, 2023) addresses a series of questions about the copying and circulation of literature in late medieval England: How do we make sense of the variety of manuscripts surviving from this period? Who copied and disseminated these diverse manuscripts? Who read the lite…
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An award-winning defense expert tells the story of today’s great power rivalry―the struggle to control artificial intelligence. A new industrial revolution has begun. Like mechanization or electricity before it, artificial intelligence will touch every aspect of our lives―and cause profound disruptions in the balance of global power, especially amo…
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The Balkans provided the escape route for tens of thousands of German Jews, and remained a place of refuge until the Nazis brutally shut it off with the mass murder of Jewish refugees on the so-called Kladovo transport starting in September 1941, which can be considered as the beginning of the Holocaust in Europe. Responding to publications about t…
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C. S. Sherrington said “All the brain can do is to move things". The Brain in Motion: From Microcircuits to Global Brain Function (MIT Press, 2023) shows how much the brain can do "just" by moving things. It gives an amazing overview of the large variety of motor behaviors and the cellular basis of them. It reveals how motor circuits provide the un…
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In the first half of the twentieth century, Black hemispheric culture grappled with the legacies of colonialism, U.S. empire, and Jim Crow. As writers and performers sought to convey the terror and the beauty of Black life under oppressive conditions, they increasingly turned to the labor, movement, speech, sound, and ritual of everyday “folk.” Man…
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In Visions of a Digital Nation: Market and Monopoly in British Telecommunications (MIT Press, 2024), Jacob Ward explains why the privatization of British Telecom signaled a pivotal moment in the rise of neoliberalism, and how it was shaped by the longer development and digitalization of Britain’s telecommunications infrastructure. When Margaret Tha…
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For all the talk of China being a peaceful country with no aggressive intentions, it has behaved like most other rising powers – spending lots of money on its military. But what do we know of how that military is used? James A. Siebens is the editor of China’s Use of Armed Coercion: To Win Without Fighting (Routledge, 2023). Listen to him in conver…
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Chandrica Barua is the Nonfiction and Online Editor for MQR. A PhD candidate in the Department of English Language and Literature, her dissertation focuses on encounters between imperial objects and colonial bodies in the British Empire, especially in British India. She hails from Assam, India. What draws an editor to a particular essay? In Chandri…
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Isabella Alexander's book Copyright and Cartography: History, Law, and the Circulation of Geographical Knowledge (Bloomsbury, 2023) explores the intertwined histories of mapmaking and copyright law in Britain from the early modern period up to World War 1, focusing chiefly on the 18th and 19th centuries. Taking a multidisciplinary approach and maki…
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Hanna Torsh speaks with Alexandra Grey about good governance in linguistically diverse cities. Linguistic diversity is often seen through a deficit lens. Another way of saying this is that it's perceived as a problem, particularly by institutions and governments. However, it doesn’t have to be that way and shouldn’t be that way in a participatory d…
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"Most lawyers, most actors, most soldiers and sailors, most athletes, most doctors, and most diplomats feel a certain solidarity in the face of outsiders, and, in spite of other differences, they share fragments of a common ethic in their working life, and a kind of moral complicity." – Stuart Hampshire, Justice is Conflict. There are many more exa…
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In 1864, on a midsummer’s day, Kawai Koume, a 60-year old matriarch of a samurai family in Wakayama, makes a note in her diary, which she had dutifully written in for over three decades. There are reports of armed clashes in Kyoto. It’s said that the emperor has ordered the expulsion of the foreigners, and it’s also said that a large band of vagabo…
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In his majestic and encyclopedic new book Slavery and Islam (Oneworld Academic, 2019), Jonathan A. C. Brown presents a sweeping analysis of Muslim intellectual, political, and social entanglements with slavery, and some of the thorniest conceptual and ethical problems involved in defining and writing about slavery. Self-reflective and bold, Slavery…
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Ingrid Piller speaks with Piers Kelly about a fascinating form of visual communication, Australian message sticks. What does a message stick look like? What is its purpose, and how has the use of message sticks changed over time from the precolonial period via the late 19th/early 20th century and into the present? Why do we know so little about mes…
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"Fascism" is a word ubiquitous in our contemporary political discourse, but few know about its roots in the ancient past or its long, strange evolution to the present. In ancient Rome, the fasces were a bundle of wooden rods bound with a leather cord, in which an axe was placed—in essence, a mobile kit for corporal or capital punishment. Attendants…
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Appealing to Monster Theory and the ancient Near Eastern motif of "Chaoskampf," Safwat Marzouk argues that the paradoxical character of the category of the monster is what prompts the portrayal of Egypt as a monster in the book of Ezekiel. While on the surface the monster seems to embody utter difference, underlying its otherness there is a disturb…
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In September of 2019, Luis Alberto Quiñonez—known as Sito— was shot to death as he sat in his car in the Mission District of San Francisco. He was nineteen. His killer, Julius Williams, was seventeen. It was the second time the teens had encountered one another. The first, five years before, also ended in tragedy, when Julius watched as his brother…
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Can a song trigger a murder? Can a poem spark a riot? Can a book divide a people? Away from the gaze of mainstream urban media, across India's dusty, sleepy towns, a brand of popular culture is quietly seizing the imagination of millions, on the internet and off it. From catchy songs with acerbic lyrics to poetry recited in kavi sammelans to social…
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Swearing can be a powerful communicative act, for good or ill. The same word can incite violence or increase intimacy. How is swearing so multivalent in its power? Is it just all those harsh “c” and “k” sounds? Does swearing take its power from taboo meaning? Why is swearing sometimes so funny? In For F*ck’s Sake: Why Swearing Is Shocking, Rude, an…
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Carla Chamberlin and Mak Khan speak with Ingrid Piller about linguistic diversity and social justice. We discuss whether US native speakers of English can teach English ethically; how migrant parents can foster their children’s biliteracy; what the language challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic are; whether multilingualism researchers have a monoling…
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A genuine crowd-pleaser that couldn’t please enough crowds in 1988, Tucker: The Man and His Dream has finally found an audience. Tim defends 80s Coppola and calls out critics who dismissed his post-Godfather II output; Dan talks about the film’s enthusiasm for its subject and how that enthusiasm helps the viewer feel like those who find themselves …
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Paris, 1599. At the end of the French Wars of Religion, the widow Renée Chevalier instigated the prosecution of the military captain Mathurin Delacanche, who had committed multiple acts of rape, homicide, and theft against the villagers who lived around her château near the cathedral city of Sens. But how could Chevalier win her case when King Henr…
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Where there are dictators, there are novels about dictators. But "dictator novels" do not simply respond to the reality of dictatorship. As this genre has developed and cohered, it has acquired a self-generating force distinct from its historical referents. The dictator novel has become a space in which writers consider the difficulties of national…
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For western colonists in the early American backcountry, disputes often ended in bloodshed and death. Making the Frontier Man: Violence, White Manhood, and Authority in the Early Western Backcountry (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2023) by Dr. Matthew C. Ward examines early life and the origins of lawless behaviour in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentu…
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