Capture the Invisible: Liminal Space and the Photo Document

Can one explore and document the liminal through images?

The State as a Family: The Fate of Familial Sovereignty in German Romanticism

Whether or not sovereignty resembles, is founded on, or else opposes itself to paternal authority within the confines of the family has been debated (though not always in those terms) in Western political thought from Plato onward.


The Symphonic Subject: Beethoven, Hegel, Adorno

Through the writings of Adorno, finding echoes of Hegel in the music of Beethoven.

Artificial Men: Alchemy, Transubstantiation, and the Homunculus

Metaphor is a figure of resemblance, even if its literary charm and its pedagogical powers depend on the kick of difference.


We have never been inside: Peter Sloterdijk's "In the World Interior of Capital"

Did the violent history of European exploration culminate in greater freedom or bland decadence?


Tolstoy, Max Weber, Love and War

Max Weber's readings of Tolstoy bridge the gap between the ninetheeth and twentieth century


Nigeria beyond Bombs and Ebola

Drilling beneath recent headlines of violence and terrorism in Nigeria, one finds a country bursting with energy, life, and hospitality.


The Heroic Age of Spenser Studies: Roche after Fifty Years

How to account for the lasting influence of a fifty-year old work of literary criticism? Thomas P. Roche, Jr.'s book, The Kindly Flame, encourages readers to make their own meaning out of Spenser's Faerie Queene.

Jefferson, Pocock, and the Temporality of Law in a Republic

Recalling his work on the committee appointed for the revisal of Virginia laws between 1776 and 1779, Thomas Jefferson wrote to his colleague and former law professor George Wythe that his “researches” into colonial legal history had led him to discover the deplorable state of the manuscript copies of the laws.


Scholar's Tales

"Equality or Dignity?" Christopher Warley explores the tension at the heart of Erich Auerbach's work alongside recent biographies of Derrida and Spenser.


Real Life Poetry Top Ten

Writing on the border of life and text, poet Joseph Lease suggests "the only way to be honest is to be haunted."


American Dreams in China: Challenges of the Transnational University

American Dreams in China (2013) is a Chinese film about upward mobility that will feel familiar to most Americans.

Tableaux Morts: Execution, Cinema, and Galvanistic Fantasies

On the conjoining of cinematography and electrocution in execution films.

Striating Difference: From "Ceremonies and Customs" to World Religions

How might a closer look at images of religious diversity since the eighteenth century upend our understanding of modern pluralism?


Close Reading as Genre

Just what is that infamous thing, a close reading?

From the Vital to the Social

A closer look at the origins and structure of "synthesized life" at the heart of biopolitics.

Aristocratic Women on Love

On the losing, now elapsed, and ultimately monarchist case in the struggle over love, learning, and femininity that raged from Revolution to Restoration.


WhatsApp with Friendship?

Hurrah for friendship. This was one of the messages behind the heart-stopping price of close to 19 billion dollars Facebook offered for WhatsApp, the new instant messaging service.


Psychology and Classifications of the Sciences

How psychology’s gradual emergence as an autonomous field concerned with the production of knowledge also tells an important story about the systematic ordering of the sciences more generally.


Decolonizing Self

A polyphonic blog-poem—in English and Georgian—about decolonizing one's self.


Mistakes Were Made, or The Language of Rescinding

“You never know exactly what’s going on there”: the old adage about other peoples’ marriages applies equally to the academic job market.

The King’s Two Daughters

How the University of Paris was represented as “the daughter of the king,” when actual royal daughters were excluded from the right to rule.


Para-Library Science at the NYPL

In Roland Emmerich’s schlocky disaster film The Day After Tomorrow (2004), a tsunami swamps the New York Public Library and enables some ham-handed scenarios about the fate of books after an environmental apocalypse.


In Sickness and in Health

Elizabeth Bishop’s most impactful letter of the summer of 1947 was the first substantive one she ever wrote to Robert Lowell.


Winnie’s Penelope: On Solitude and the Comfort of Strangers

I just finished reading a fascinating appetizer to John Carlin’s new book on Nelson Mandela, Knowing Mandela.


Lafcadio Hearn: Global Before Globalization

How could a man born on a Greek island in 1869 be a household name in Japan today?

The Plastic Self and the Prescription of Psychology

How the advent of the "new psychology" in the late 19th century comes to shape and name the individual as the privileged site for sociocultural diagnosis and intervention.


Reference Works, Poetically

Why would anyone read a reference work cover-to-cover?


Omnivorousness, Elite Taste, Literary Scholarship

Let’s talk about quantitative literary history and where you can find the best tacos al pastor.


Utopia and the reality of literary study

Is there anything more tedious than the facile distinction between university study and the “real world”?