A review in The New Republic of Cambridge historian Tim Harper’s Underground Asia: Global Revolutionaries and the Assault on Empire. The book looks fascinating. A couple of bits caught my eye. This one: The locales that interest him are cosmopolitan ports that were at least partly incorporated into Western empires—cities such as Canton, Kuala Lumpur, … Continue reading Magnets for Militants on the Move
Paul Musgrave, a political scientist at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, has published an op-ed on problems with the Presidential library system in the US, and how the current (outgoing) President could exploit it to his usual ends. The essay is a fine complement to Jill Lepore’s New Yorker piece on the transition politics … Continue reading The Arc of Presidential Libraries
The writer and historian Jill Lepore has penned a great piece in the 23 November 2020 issue of the New Yorker (posted online 16 November). Her focus, in “Will Trump Burn the Evidence?“, is the politics of historical records and archives. It’s a great, topical essay that captures some of the anxiety about how the … Continue reading That They Can Gain in Judgments
Bernard Fall… nuclear strategist? One of the pieces of archival treasure I discovered among Fall’s personal papers is a document that reveals his awareness of and engagement with nuclear issues. In a general sense, that’s a claim that could be made of just about anyone at the time. At the height of the Cold War, … Continue reading Poetic Nods to an Atomic Indochina
I often tell people that research on sanctuary in international politics – the subject of my forthcoming book, Streets Without Joy: A Political History of Sanctuary and War, 1959-2009, is a gift that keeps on giving. Streets is nothing if not the history of a concept, an account of its uses and continual reinvention in … Continue reading A Word That Wanders in an International Semantic Jungle
In 1994, the legal scholar John Phillip Reid published a somewhat cynical article on forensic history in the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review. It contains some real zingers on the intersection between law and history, how practitioners of each perpetrate mutually abusive disciplinary transgressions, and the meaning (and substance) of forensic history. Here are … Continue reading A Mixture Containing More Snares Than Rewards
Context is everything. As Maya Jasanoff, the Harvard historian, asks, in lyrical terms: “If a writer harbored bias, shall we never speak his name? Or when he wrote with insight, might we read him all the same?” The questions appear in her review in The New Republic, of Christopher Benfey‘s If: The Untold Story of … Continue reading If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you
Blending historical research with policy analysis, Innes investigates how the concept of sanctuary shaped Washington’s own understanding of how warfare should be conducted, against conventional and unconventional opponents alike.
I’ve been digging into the use of Pearl Harbor analogies in America’s response to the 9-11 attacks – and, because of a curious twist in the political landscape in 2001, I’ve been looking a little more closely at a well known study of the Pearl Harbor attack, Roberta Wohlstetter’s Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision (Stanford … Continue reading Of which the essence thereafter remains unexamined
Colleagues at Arab Digest have just published an interesting commentary on “Boundaries in the Arab world and their remarkable durability.” It’s not publicly available, but I do hope they’ll release it as a sample for general readers. The piece, authored by Chatham House’s Greg Shapland, ex of the Foreign Office, alludes to one of those … Continue reading An area, call it what you will, of safety
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