Programme notes

interview
Tsering ShakyaTibetan Questions

The leading historian of modern Tibet discusses the background to recent protests on the Plateau. What has been the evolution of its culture, modern and traditional, under the impact of the PRC’s breakneck development and market reforms?

document
Walter Benjamin1940 Survey of French Literature

Benjamin’s last, unpublished report on the literary situation in France. Critical reflections on the fiction, philosophy, memoirs and art criticism of the time—and on Paris, Surrealism and the logic of Hitlerism—moving constantly from the realm of letters to a world at war.

articles
Lucio MagriThe Tailor of Ulm

How should the Left think about the Communist experience today? A founding theorist of Il Manifesto reflects on the need for critical examination of the past—and the lessons to be drawn for the future from the PCI’s trajectory.

Cihan TuğalThe Greening of Istanbul

Its population swollen by six million new arrivals in thirty years, Istanbul has sprawled outwards from the Bosphorus with dramatic speed. Cihan Tugal analyses the contradictions of an urban Islamism, wedded both to vote-winning populism and to financial markets.

Ece TemelkuranFlag and Headscarf

An iconoclastic journalist looks at the thinning substance behind the AKP’s façade of ‘democratization’, and demagogic responses from Turkey’s secular establishment and army.

Brent ShawAfter Rome

Assessing Chris Wickham’s sweeping historical survey, Framing the Early Middle Ages, Brent Shaw questions linear narratives of a transition from Roman Empire to feudalism. What conclusions might derive from alternative analytical categories—markets, wars, modes of belief?

Charles ArmstrongContesting the Peninsula

Heightened insecurity and inequality as outcomes of a decade of centre-left rule in South Korea. Can neoliberalism advance further across the ROK’s shifting political terrain, as a newly elected President’s popularity crumbles in face of public resentment?

reviews

David Laitin on Paul Nugent, Africa Since Independence. Lucid comparative assessment of the trajectories of 50 sub-Saharan states, from colonial inheritance to debt crises and Structural Adjustment.

Gopal Balakrishnan on Parag Khanna, The Second World. Globe-trotting account from beyond the OECD, surveying the stakes in a coming battle between ascendant China and a West caught in imperial doldrums.

Daniel Miller on Jonathan Zittrain, The Future of the Internet. After the explosive growth of the Web, can the experimental freedoms on which it was founded resist the deadening technology of Xbox and iPhone?