Berfrois

Taran N. Khan on Kabul

Taran N. Khan on Kabul

This spring, I spent some time watching these films from Kabul in a small room deep in the depths of the ICRC building, a room located inside a network of corridors and sliding doors. It was a silent, small room, a room with space for the past, filled up with the tools of bearing witness, from U-Matic to Beta players.

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Eric Schneider on Philadelphia’s unfortunate nickname

Eric Schneider on Philadelphia’s unfortunate nickname

Murder is nearly always understood as an individual event and the criminal justice system reinforces this notion: there is an artifact, a body, that needs accounting for, and the medical examiner measures, weighs, dissects and categorizes the body as to age, race, gender and cause of death. The police...

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Remembering Mandela

Remembering Mandela

Dear revisionists, Mandela will never, ever be your minstrel. Over the next few days you will try so, so hard to make him something he was not, and you will fail. You will try to smooth him, to sandblast him, to take away his Malcolm X. You will try...

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Remnants of a Residential Ruin

Remnants of a Residential Ruin

From a map of Epping Forest, c.1876 From 3:AM: The structure had called my attention on several occasions. On walks through the Snaresbrook suburb in which it sat I would often peer through the locked gates and contemplate its use and history. It was not, as one local account...

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Parallel

Parallel

In 2009, a couple days after I arrived, when Khaled’s English and my Arabic were at their worst, we had dinner at an outdoor café. We were eating chicken schwarma and drinking a kind of yogurt, sitting on plastic chairs, and a wedding party drove by with horns honking.

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Jenny Diski: August in Cambridge

Jenny Diski: August in Cambridge

Cambridge Market Square. Photograph by inkelv1122 by Jenny Diski August is the worst month to be living in Cambridge. It’s quite a small town, with a population of about 120,000, very small compared to Gothenburg with 510,000 inhabitants. It has local areas, but the centre is a functioning part...

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Youssef Rakha on Egypt

Youssef Rakha on Egypt

Two and a half years after the January 25, 2011 uprising, I’m with my friend Aboulliel in the room I still have at my parents’ house. We’re slurping Turkish coffee and dragging on Marlboros, absorbed in conversation, when suddenly it feels as if we’ve been on the same topic...

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Just Keep Driving

Just Keep Driving

Photograph by Krisztina Tordai From The American Scholar: The road was two-laned, the landscape dour, as gray as the skies. Belgrade was sophisticated, dense with promenaders, and large enough to confuse a driver. We had no idea where we were, and it was difficult to ask directions because of...

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John Crutchfield in Leipzig

John Crutchfield in Leipzig

The first time I visited Leipzig, Germany was late in the winter of 1992, not long after the much-hyped reunification. The East was still very much “The East,” and though money was pouring in from the federal government, no one really seemed to know what the rules were. Prices...

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Hilal Khashan on Geneva II

Hilal Khashan on Geneva II

Events have shown that the Obama Administration never wanted to get directly involved in the Syrian armed conflict. Its publicity stunt about hurling a few tomahawk missiles to punish the Syrian regime revealed President Barack Obama’s embarrassment about drawing a red line in the sand regarding using chemical weapons...

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Gandhi and Ahmedabad

Gandhi and Ahmedabad

The field of South Asian urban history has a rich history of examining India’s major urban centers. Numerous astute studies of Delhi, Bombay and Calcutta, for example, have contributed to our understanding of not only the rapid urbanization (and later suburbanization, as explored in the remarkable collection of essays...

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The bulk of the middle class implicitly accept the graduated political system that the ANC has created…

The bulk of the middle class implicitly accept the graduated political system that the ANC has created…

Abahlali Assembly, Foreman Road Settlement by Richard Pithouse Cities have emerged as a key site of popular struggle in post-apartheid South Africa. But with the ANC responding to independent organisation in an increasingly violent and repressive manner the future of these struggles is deeply uncertain. On the 26th of...

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Logan K. Young on The Replacements

I, myself, was barely six months old when Twin/Tone put out The Mats’ Let It Be. The day, they say, was Orwellian: Tuesday, October...

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Tyranny Is a Growth Industry by Vladimir Savich and Zachary Bos

Tyranny is a growth industry. Each day brings exciting new developments. These events imprint themselves upon the world in the form of newspapers, magazines,...

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Tjoa Shze Hui: 1920s

Of the many witticisms that make up The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, one voiced by Picasso really gets under the skin. He says...

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Elias Tezapsidis on Lorentzen, Batuman, Lerner, Smallwood and Stein

Contemporary narrators feel entitled to their own realities now more than ever. The internet has created this fascinating binary, one in which individuals can...

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Henry Giardina on Bob Hope

All mythical creatures need an origin story. The Bob Hope character springs into being, Athena-like, from out of the head of Preston Sturges in...

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Mattilda B. Sycamore: Yearning From Spurning

One problem with gentrification is that it always gets worse. But then I go into a Hooters, and it’s a vintage clothing store. A...

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Alexander McGregor
Alexander McGregor: Trauma

Following World War II, the German philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote, “Nach Auschwitz ein Gedicht zu schreiben, ist barbarisch”: to write poetry after Auschwitz is...

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John Crutchfield: Chords

But music, even bad music, is a symptom of hope, is it not? Naturally one would prefer the music to be good, but any...

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Menachem Feuer on Robin Williams

Regardless of whether you are from Europe, the United States, Asia, or Africa, we can all agree that there is something special about the...

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Reality Principles: Berfrois Interviews Frank Smecker

I don't know if I ever wanted to become a theorist. I struggle with this position. For me, it's a hystericized — and therefore...

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Albert Rolls: Which (Side) Are You On, Man?

James Parker begins his review of Inherent Vice with the quip, “If Thomas Pynchon were a stand-up comedian, and Inherent Vice his newest routine,...

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Keith Doubt
Keith Doubt on Serbia

The intellectual integrity of cultural anthropology is based largely on its commitment to cultural relativism as a principled notion. Cultural relativism is the principle...

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A Gosse in Woolf’s Clothing by Andre Gerard

On May 31, two weeks after his death, and the day before Orlando was sent to the printer, Woolf noted his death as follows:...

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Andrew Gallix: Let’s Go!

Retro-futurism, as we now call it, came out of the closet in the late '70s due to the widespread feeling that there was indeed...

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