“Beyond Boundaries”

Tulasi Srinivas

“The time is coming fast when the whole world will gather here.” Sathya Sai Baba

The Universe in a Grain of Sand?

Johann N. Neem

Those committed to human rights at the global level should seek not to universalize the particular but rather to particularize the universal.

From the Editors

Joseph E. Davis and Jennifer L. Geddes

Thinking more deeply about how we can inhabit the public sphere with others.

American Culture Facing China’s Rise

Jeffrey C. Alexander and Hans Andersson

How America has long viewed China exerts no small influence on which path Washington will follow in its material and cultural relations with the People’s Republic. 

The Language Deficit

From the Editors

An Modern Language Association (MLA) study calling for curricular reform that addresses the need for increased language instruction and incorporates cultural and historical reflection. 

Reflections on the Crisis in the Humanities

Richard Wolin

The civic and practical goals of humanistic learning are necessarily related to the project of human autonomy, for there can be no autonomy apart from the provisos and attributes of self-knowledge.

Humanism

Richard Sennett

In a world filled with mobile people—economic immigrants and political exiles in particular—an old humanist ideal might help us to give shape to our lives.

Last Man or Overman?

Michael E. Zimmerman

If the clever human life form were to project its power in the form of technologically advanced, artificial offspring, would Nietzsche offer a principled objection, and if so, what would be its basis?

One Nation Under Fear

Mark Edmundson

We have become a nation and a people that simply cannot abide risks.

Re-enchantment and Iconoclasm in an Age of Images

Anna Marazuela Kim

Much like the old wars of religion that shaped Europe, the new wars are fought on the ground of the image.

When Science Went Modern

Lorraine Daston

This was the nightmare of scientific progress: The truths of today would become the falsehoods—or at least the errors—of tomorrow.

On Frank Speech

Matthew B. Crawford

The role of frank speech in democratic culture is something worth considering, especially in light of the renewed ferment over political correctness.

The Jefferson Brand

Timothy C. Jacobson

Between Jefferson’s profession of faith in the virtues of republican simplicity and the style of his own life the contradiction could hardly be greater.

Not Melting into Air

John M. Owen

Today the threat against liberalism is one of atrophy rather than violent death.

A Legacy of Payback

John J. Lennon

The first time I heard about Heather Ann Thompson’s Blood in the Water, I was in the Attica Correctional Facility’s auditorium-chapel, attending a twelve-step meeting.

Cosmopolitanism vs. Provincialism

Nancy Isenberg and Andrew Burstein

American politics thrives on exploiting confusion about real and perceived interests, whether those interests are tied to region or class, or both.

The Ideology of Anti-Ideology

Donald Dewey

We have harbored an ideology expressive of all-inclusiveness—one referred to with deceptive informality as the “American way of life.”

Shame, and “Those” Monuments

James McWilliams

The image moved me: Robert E. Lee, that icon of the Confederacy, whose likeness in bronze once towered several stories over New Orleans, was, after 132 years, gone, relegated (for now) to municipal storage.

Belonging to Europe

Jonathan D. Teubner

Far from being the hope of cosmopolitan liberal democracy, Europe is experiencing a reemergence of the national identities and antagonisms that European values and the union they were meant to bring about were supposed to prevent.

There Are Only Alternatives

Ajay Singh Chaudhary

If there is one, overarching, redeemable quality to our moment, it is that ours is a time in which there can only be alternatives.

Good on Paper

Nan Z. Da

Books, reading, and literature cultivate “a way of being in time.”

Does Religious Pluralism Require Secularism?

Jennifer L. Geddes

What emerges in the essays in this issue is actually not one secularism, but rather a range of secularisms—French, American, Indian, and others— that can be compared, evaluated, and improved upon.

The Roots of the Arab Spring

Joseph E. Davis

While structures of power may change quickly, the building of a new social order is a longer and more precarious process.

The American Dream

Joseph E. Davis

How the American Dream—hope in the future—competes in these times with a pervasive pessimism.

Liberatory Education

Leslie W. Lewis

Education in the service of reparation can heal and make whole both individual persons and all of us.

Liberalism Strikes Back

Rita Koganzon

Liberalism today finds itself in the strange position of being the political philosophy that everyone lives by and no one wants to defend.

The Great Wall of Trump

Nancy Isenberg

What historical category truly contains a Trump? 

An Ever More Perfect Novel

Tyler Malone

The Great American Novel? Why are we still banging on about that old thing?

Paper Revolutions

Richard Hughes Gibson

If projects like E-Estonia mark a break with paper, they also represent the continuation of an administrative order made possible by the first paper revolution.

Toward a Culinary Ethos for the Twenty-first Century

Rachel Laudan

Never has food been delivered in such abundance, so far, or so safely.

The King’s Two Bodies and the Crisis of Liberal Modernity

Isaac Ariail Reed

We are living through a vertigo in political culture.

Honoring a Vet

Leann Davis Alspaugh

Returning to base, Davis and the other pilots heard their orders for the next day: Attack Kiska Harbor with everything they had regardless of the weather.

Recognizing Art

Leann Davis Alspaugh

When El Greco heard the insultingly low valuation for his work, he launched a long and bitter court battle that quietly changed the perception of artists and art in Spain.

What’s Behind Trump’s Wall?

Johann N. Neem

Do Trump’s supporters represent a new Know-Nothing movement?

Speaking Truth to Power

Leann Davis Alspaugh

As we remember the Challenger disaster, let’s not forget the engineers who tried to convince NASA not to send up the Space Shuttle on a cold morning thirty years ago.

High Hopes

Carl Desportes Bowman

Just as Obama became a symbol of progressive diversity, Trump has become a symbol of longing for a pre-Obama America.