Category Archives: Culture

Don’t blame Dostoyevsky

Mikhail Shishkin writes: Culture, too, is a casualty of war. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, some Ukrainian writers called for a boycott of Russian music, films, and books. Others have all but accused Russian literature of complicity in the atrocities committed by Russian soldiers. The entire culture, they say, is imperialist, and this military aggression… Read More »

The war in Ukraine is the true culture war

Jason Farago writes: At the thousand-year-old Cathedral of Saint Sophia here, standing on an easel in front of a towering Baroque golden altar, is a new, freshly painted icon that’s just a foot square. It depicts a 17th-century Cossack military commander with a long gray beard. His eyebrows are arched. His halo is a plain… Read More »

Climate change threatens not only our future but also our past

Melissa Gronlund writes: At Bagerhat in southern Bangladesh, a city of 360 mosques from the 15th century, salt water from the encroaching Indian Ocean is damaging the foundations. In Yemen, torrential rains are decimating the improbable mud-brick high-rises of Shibam’s 16th-century architecture, newly exposed owing to strikes from the conflict there. In Iraq, the country’s… Read More »

The therapeutic value of swearing

Stephen Tuffin writes: When I was a kid, swearing was taboo – except for that one time when my dad, a hulking great navvy of a man, took me down the yard where they kept all the equipment road workers used out on the roads, and I witnessed the cutting down of a tree. An… Read More »

Waste is central, not peripheral, to everything we design, make and do

Justin McGuirk writes: The opposition between ‘nature’ and ‘culture’ is problematic for many reasons, but there’s one that we rarely discuss. The ‘nature vs culture’ dualism leaves out an entire domain that properly belongs to neither: the world of waste. The mountains of waste that we produce every year, the torrents of polluting effluent, the… Read More »

Primate memory

Tetsuro Matsuzawa writes: The most recent common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans lived between five and seven million years ago. This shared heritage became evident when sequencing revealed a 1.2% DNA difference between species. Chimpanzees have a living sister species, bonobos, that is equally closely related to humans. Both chimpanzees and bonobos are found only… Read More »

Being Persian before nationalism

Mana Kia writes: At the end of the 19th century, under the looming shadow of European colonial encroachment, political and intellectual elites in Iran began to draw on nationalist forms of belonging as a way to unify the various ethnic and religious groups that lived within its territory. The nation was gaining ground at this… Read More »