Gassy

gassy51

On Boxing Day of 1799 the twenty-year-old chemist Humphry Davy – later to become Sir Humphry, inventor of the miners’ lamp, President of the Royal Society and domineering genius of British science – stripped to the waist, placed a thermometer under his armpit and stepped into a sealed box specially designed by the engineer James Watt for the inhalation of gases, into which he requested the physician Dr. Robert Kinglake to release twenty quarts of nitrous oxide every five minutes for as long as he could retain consciousness.

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Calvin Schermerhorn: Family and Freedom

After the Sale: Slaves Going South, Eyre Crowe, 1853 by Calvin Schermerhorn When enslaved Americans confronted the intensifying market economy of the nineteenth-century United States, they faced ominous changes and serious challenges.  If they lived in the coastal upper South – Delaware plus the eastern portions of Maryland, Virginia,...

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Michael Khodarkovsky: Tales of the North Caucasus

General Aleksei Petrovich Ermolov by Michael Khodarkovsky In the early 1820s the Russian troops under General Aleksei Petrovich Ermolov marched through Chechnya leaving behind a wide swath of destruction: Villages razed to the ground, crops burned, captives and cattle seized, forests cut down, and land taken away for forts and...

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Late Imperial Russia’s “Marriage Crisis” by Barbara Alpern Engel

  by Barbara Alpern Engel I have always been fascinated by the personal dimensions of social and historical change, but never have been able to explore them as broadly, deeply and intimately as I am able to do in Breaking the Ties that Bound. The project began with a...

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Erik R. Seeman: Wendat Deathways

Wendat scaffold burial, where corpses awaited the Feast of the Dead. From Samuel de Champlain’s Voyages et descouvertures, 1619. Courtesy of the Library of Congress by Erik R. Seeman On May 12, 1636, two thousand Wendat (Huron) Indians stood on the edge of an enormous burial pit. Near the village of...

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Céline Dauverd: Dynastic Imperialism, Mercantile Interests

View of the City of Naples and Vesuvio from Castel Sant’Elmo by Céline Dauverd The word imperialism inevitably conjures up reflections about the relationship –or lack thereof—among western countries and let’s say Algeria, Lebanon, South Africa, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mexico or Libya. However, these are all regions plagued by...

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Extreme Origins by Manus I. Midlarsky

by Manus I. Midlarsky Political extremism is one of the most pernicious, destructive, and nihilistic forms of human expression. During the twentieth century, in excess of 100 million people had their lives taken from them as the result of extremist violence. My recent book, Origins of Political Extremism  is a wide-ranging...

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William G. Thalmann: Argonautika, Spatial Epic

Map of the Voyage of the Argonauts, from Ortelius’ Parergon, 1624 by William G. Thalmann I hadn’t intended to write a book about Apollonius of Rhodes’ Argonautika, but once I began reading and studying the poem it was difficult not to. A Greek epic poem in four books about...

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Daqing Yang: Japan’s Imperial Telecommunications

One of Japan’s blueprints for a regional telecommunications network by Daqing Yang Shortly after 12:00 o’clock Tokyo Time on August 15, 1945, the prerecorded voice of Japan’s Emperor Hirohito was broadcast from a studio in downtown Tokyo. “After pondering deeply the general trends of the world and the actual...

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S. Jonathan Wiesen: Decaffeinated Nazis

by S. Jonathan Wiesen In the United States, there are numerous consumer products with controversial pasts. We need only think of our grocery aisles and kitchen cabinets, where racist images of Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben have only recently given way to updated, less stereotypical depictions of African Americans....

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Keep the Red Textbook Flying

Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels Statue, Berlin, AC-50D by Christina Morina Socialism is an old idea. The ideas and movements that can be subsumed under the term, encompassing a plethora of radical or moderate shades, have shaped the course of human history over the last two hundred years. One could argue...

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Martin E. Marty on Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the courtyard of Tegel prison, 1944, Christian Kaiser Verlag by Martin E. Marty Only a zealous and informed scavenger could have found and assembled scribbled fragments which eventually became the published prison letters by the best-remembered German cleric who gave his life in the anti-Nazi cause....

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Naco Networks

Round structures, Site PVN306, Naco Valley by Edward M. Schortman and Patricia A. Urban A debate that has long fascinated us concerns the ways in which political relations emerge from, and are sustained by, daily interactions among individuals of all ranks. The traditional approach in our discipline, archaeology, has tended to...

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Emily Greble: Multicultural Sarajevo, 1941-45

Justin Neumaier by Emily Greble In fall 1941, a few months after Nazi Germany dismembered Yugoslavia and established a satellite called the Independent State of Croatia, local police in Sarajevo, a major city in the new state, hunted down a Jewish man who had been deported to a concentration...

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Marcel-Duchamp-Leaving-the-Cafe-1

Marcel Duchamp sat silent. He seemed far away, lost in reverie. Then, he spoke of the death of art, which he described as...

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Bobbi Lurie
Duchamp-smoking-through-the-cracked-glass

But I was perplexed. Marcel Duchamp didn’t order a thing to eat at the café. I assumed it was because he was dead, requiring nothing...

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fp

Earthquake metaphors have had strong currency, both political and journalistic, in the aftermath of May’s European Parliament (EP) elections. The most spectacular tremors were...

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Ernst_Ludwig_Kirchner

Both Derrida and Ronell suggest that saying yes is “telephonic,” both in the sense that it resounds over a distance and therefore always is...

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ramirez1fullsize

Unless they lived in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona or California – all former Mexican territories – most U.S. residents in the 1930s were unaware...

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MashaTheDevilProbably

The different tools used to capture the frame and the wild variety in terms of image quality, which is the way films are remembered...

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ron-sky-rat-cover

“We’ve got a problem,” says Andrew Shuta of Spork as he and Drew Burk guide me into a fancy conference room. Ron’s sitting across from...

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chinua

Many years ago, in an interview he did with Bill Moyers, Chinua Achebe was asked, “What would you want the West to do?” Achebe...

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Masha Tupitsyn
sickert

No one can love anymore because of an overabundance of reaction formation. No one wants to owe anything to their desire(s); to other people’s...

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Hearn1

How could a man born on a Greek island in 1850 be a household name in Japan today? The answer lies in the story...

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kentridge1

Jean Améry titled his renowned book on voluntary death, Hand an Sich Legen – To lay Hands on Oneself. Beyond the argument of Amery...

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letters

Several months ago, I wrote a long letter by hand to a young woman I barely knew. That sounds pretty dubious, if not to...

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Kemmler

In a move that might strike readers as odd, Derrida spends most of these lectures not on the case made by death penalty proponents,...

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proust

Although Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff’s translation of À la recherche du temps perdu is considered by many journalists and writers to be the best...

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