Lately, the idea of resistance has a renewed urgency and appeal. But we won’t be able to fight a fresh wave of authoritarianism without appreciating the symbols that animated the antifascist imagination of the past – in particular, the underground. That symbol has very deep roots in European and US culture, but over the course of the 20th century it was transformed from a threatening zone of subversion into a liberating space of political resistance.
From eastern Ukraine to an Oregon wildlife refuge, right-wing militias have lately expropriated the memory of antifascist resistance and partisan struggle. But we would do well to remember the progressive and emancipatory potential of that history. Below I’ve translated a famous song of the French Resistance, “La Complainte du partisan” (1943). Here’s a beautiful version by the […]
We surely live in dark times. This afternoon I remembered a poem that Bertolt Brecht wrote in the late 1930s. It was called “An die Nachgeborenen,” and it aimed not to console, but to provoke. Below is my loose translation from the German. (Here’s a recording of Brecht reading the original.) To Future Generations – […]
A debate over the politics of digital humanities has broken out in the pages of the Los Angeles Review of Books. The first salvo came on May 1 from Daniel Allington, Sarah Brouillette, and David Golumbia in their co-written article “Neoliberal Tools (and Archives).” The authors charged the emergent field of digital humanities scholarship with […]
Professors Jo Guldi and David Armitage threw down the scholarly gauntlet six months ago when they published their bold appeal to rescue History from the “bonfire of the humanities.” The History Manifesto claims that the discipline’s descent into public irrelevance has resulted from current historical scholarship’s lack of long-term thinking. Citing statistics that show a precipitous […]
For the past couple of days, tens of thousands of Hong Kong citizens have taken to the streets to protest recent decisions by the central Chinese government to limit voting reforms in the city and to allow only communist-vetted candidates stand for the city’s upcoming municipal elections. Several dozen protestors have suffered injuries in clashes […]
Yesterday the Ukrainian Parliament voted to oust President Viktor F. Yanukovych and shortly thereafter the people of Kiev stormed the presidential palace, forcing Yanukovych to flee the capital. He refuses to step down and rejects the Parliament’s decision to hold new elections at the end of May, despite the fact that it is acting within […]