Berfrois

Shimla-Wallahs

Shimla-Wallahs

The image of Shimla on film has evolved alongside film-making itself. The town’s journey across swatches of celluloid began as early as the first decade of the twentieth century, when films, chiefly propagandist in nature, began to be shot in India under the Raj.

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The political agency of Delhi’s slum women is not an endowment from nature, it is an achievement…

The political agency of Delhi’s slum women is not an endowment from nature, it is an achievement…

Delhi, Mani Babbar From Scope: A city of nearly 17 million inhabitants, Delhi is not a single entity, but contains a multitude of distinct and overlapping spaces and enclaves. With its layering of history from the medieval to the modern, it is a palimpsest. As the capital of India,...

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‘Istanbul was like a gingerbread house’

‘Istanbul was like a gingerbread house’

Topaki Palace kitchens From Lapham’s Quarterly: Twenty years ago, I walked across Eastern Europe to Istanbul. The food, on the whole, was plain, but from Bulgaria we walked through a gathering rush of portents—strong coffee and orthodox domes, bright prints and the eastern rhythm of gypsy music—until we reached...

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This Little Potala

This Little Potala

China’s Tibetan Theme Park | by Richard Bernstein

The New York Review of Books

In the international press, China’s tensions with Tibet are often traced to the Chinese invasion of 1950 and Tibet’s failed uprising of 1959. But for the Chinese themselves,...

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Markha Valenta on the Utøya island shooting

Markha Valenta on the Utøya island shooting

AUF Summer Camp on Utøya, 2010, photograph by Arbeidernes Ungdomsfylking (AUF)  by Markha Valenta However nuanced, it is striking how little extant interpretations attend to the fact that Breivik’s most grotesque violence was not directed at Muslims or immigrants as such but at the youth members of the Norwegian...

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Elazar Barkan: Minority Repatriation

Elazar Barkan: Minority Repatriation

A refugee girl holds her doll as she arrives with her family in Travnik, during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, photograph by Mikhail Evstafiev, 1993 by Elazar Barkan The Dayton Peace agreement following the Bosnian war emphatically declared that the ethnic cleansing would be reversed and that the refugees repatriated. ...

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‘Politically Turkey has changed more in the last ten years than it did in the previous eighty’

‘Politically Turkey has changed more in the last ten years than it did in the previous eighty’

Triumphant Turkey? | by Stephen Kinzer

The New York Review of Books

Against the backdrop of bloody upheaval in the Arab world, Turkey’s national election in June seemed a triumph of democracy. Candidates for parliament were secular and religious, pro-military and anti-military,...

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“Sir, don’t call off the fast”

“Sir, don’t call off the fast”

Arvind Kejriwal, photograph by Joe Athialy From Caravan: Shortly after Anna Hazare broke his fast-unto-death on 9 April, a group of young people encircled a small man with a black moustache at Jantar Mantar and began shouting the famous pre-independence slogan: Inquilab Zindabad! (Long Live Revolution!). He continued walking...

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Gordon Mathews hangs out at Chungking Mansions

Gordon Mathews hangs out at Chungking Mansions

Kent Wang by Gordon Mathews Chungking Mansions is a dilapidated 17-story structure full of cheap guesthouses, restaurants, and shops of all kinds located in the heart of Hong Kong’s tourist district, which encompasses some of the most expensive real estate on earth. Chungking Mansions has been famous in recent...

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Charles Rearick dreams of every Paris

Charles Rearick dreams of every Paris

A panoramic view of the big city from the hillside Parc de Belleville. Far from the picturesque quais of the Seine and the chic quarters to the west, a  neighborhood of small, deteriorating houses was destroyed to create this park in 1988, but some semblance of aneighborly “village” lives...

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‘Over fifty species of primates practice pica; it seems difficult to argue that humans should be exempted’

‘Over fifty species of primates practice pica; it seems difficult to argue that humans should be exempted’

Orinoco River From Lapham’s Quarterly: On June 6, 1800, nearly a year into his scientific journey through South America, Alexander von Humboldt arrived at a mission on the Orinoco River called La Concepción de Uruana. It was a stunning site. The village sat at the foot of granite mountains,...

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“The language of all the English-speaking peoples is moving in the direction of New Zealand English”

“The language of all the English-speaking peoples is moving in the direction of New Zealand English”

Quintessentially No. 8 | by David Elworthy

Landfall Review

Within a decade or two of their first arrival in New Zealand, English-speaking settlers began to note the changes wrought upon their native tongue by their experiences in a new environment – and their...

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Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has lost nearly 6 million inhabitants…

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has lost nearly 6 million inhabitants…

Tver, Russia, Inna Gluschenko From Le Monde Diplomatique: There is no need to travel to remote areas of Russia to find evidence of the country’s demographic crisis. Tver and its region (known as Kalinin from 1931 to 1990) are only a few hours from Moscow, but have recorded more...

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China’s Jasmine Revolution drew small crowds and little energy…

China’s Jasmine Revolution drew small crowds and little energy…

China’s Other Revolution | by Edward S. Steinfeld

Boston Review

Ai may be the most recognizable name globally, but other detainees have included rights activists, lawyers, bloggers, journalists, and academics. Some have been formally charged with “creating a disturbance” or “inciting...

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Teju Cole: Fait Divers in Lagos

Teju Cole: Fait Divers in Lagos

by Teju Cole I am at work on a book about Lagos, a non-fictional narrative. Why Lagos? It is the biggest city in Africa, and the fastest growing in the world. And it was my home for seventeen years, from infancy until I finished high-school. But the most important...

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Mario Carpo: Voice, Words, Memory

It all started with cellphones, a long time ago. No student, and few teachers, would make voice calls from class, but in the early...

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Remembrance of Translations Past

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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Colin Dickey: Time’s Resistless Stream

By now, we are all of us more or less apocalyptic. Our calendar is itself based on the apocalyptic return of Jesus Christ, counting...

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Mark Mordue: Curate. Content. Click.

Not that ‘the critic’ has ever been a greatly appreciated or understood figure. Some fat toad with a feather in his hat who thinks...

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Russell Bennetts
Street Fighter: Berfrois Interviews Tariq Ali

The extreme centre is a form of government that arose out of neoliberal economics and exists today in virtually the whole of Europe, North...

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John Crutchfield: Go West

Perhaps this is what finally draws me back to the Western. It is a fundamentally serious genre. It deals with serious questions, and it...

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Joel Gn on Henri Lefebvre

How may we speak of that which goes off the record in an age of digital colonisation?

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Volker M. Welter on Michael Graves

The designer Michael Graves, who passed away at the age of 80 on March 12th, was widely considered to be one of the founding...

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Sebastian Normandin on Steven Pinker

“The great thinkers of the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment were scientists.” So begins Steven Pinker’s recent controversial essay on scientism and its...

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Oliver Farry on Michel Houellebecq

The peculiar circumstances surrounding the publication of Michel Houellebecq’s latest novel constitute a case study in how even the biggest literary news stories are,...

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McKenzie Wark
Information in Chains

“Information wants to be free, but is everywhere in chains.” The development of the forces of production took a qualitatively different turn when information...

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Bobbi Lurie
Bobbi Lurie: Organic Fortune

isis - ebola - obama hit by halal truck (where is duchamp?)

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Bharat Azad
Bharat Azad Meets Adair Turner

In a quiet office tucked away in Mayfair – over a long table so white I am hesitant to even place my fingers on...

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Andre Gerard: Light Here, Shadow There

The deeper one looks in To the Lighthouse the more one sees. The more one listens the more one hears. Homer, Shakespeare, Conrad and...

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