Saturday Reading Round-Up: Srebrenica, Title IX, Socialism, Turkey, Superheroes

Karadžić sentenced for the Srebrenica genocide; new battle lines drawn over Title IX; philology will save the humanities; Twitter creates hierarchies; a professor remembers communism;  Turkey and the Kurds; superheroes come to town

Articles which have caught my attention over the past week:

  • Radovan Karadžić was sentenced at The Hague to 40 years for his leading role in the atrocities of war in the former Yugoslavia, particularly his role in the Srecrenica genocide. Protests in his support in Belgrade…
  • Justin E. H. Smith writes at the Chronicle [paywalled] that philology, re-imagined and housed in a “faculty of history,” will save the humanities. Perhaps. One of the comments from an anthropologist claimed that this prescription sounds like anthropology, and proceeded to outline a methods of inquiry about the US/French/Haitian declarations/constitutions and the Flint water crisis that sound a lot like what I do in my history courses. Ultimately, we are all very much the same, the difference lies more in the kinds of questions we ask. And for the record, the unity of the humanities wasn’t shattered in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it died with Descartes in 1650.
  • Two very different articles on Title IX procedures and experiences on college campuses. One is titled “The Consequences of Resisting a Professor’s Advances.” The other is from the AAUP and is titled “The History, Uses, and Abuses of Title IX.” There’s a write-up on Inside Higher Ed by Colleen Flaherty, whose reporting I find to be of high quality.
  • In a brief article that should shock no one, Twitter creates “new academic hierarchies.” I’ll have a short post on this later, but since I don’t like overselling Twitter this doesn’t surprise me. It is hardly democratizing–heck, not even within my own profession, where colleagues will block other colleagues for not agreeing fulsomely enough with their musings.
  • Florin Curta, distinguished medieval scholar who grew up in one of the grimmest Eastern Bloc communist states, Romania, recalls the reality of living under the Ceaușescu regine, and meditates on why socialism is proving so popular with large segments of the American people.
  • What’s happening in Turkey right now boggles the mind, especially since Turkey is in many ways the linch-pin of the Middle East. Stein has a column at War on the Rocks titled “Kurdish Militants and Turkey’s New Urban Insurgency.” Meanwhile, there are reports of a new Kurdish Federation of Northern Syria, and an impending referendum on Kurdish autonomy from the Iraqi government. Also, Israeli and Kurdish relations are quite warm.
  • And in the midst of all this, our fascination with superhero movies and TV shows continues. There’s a fascinating post about how the superhero shows this year are about “America’s descent into fascism.” There’s thoughtful one from The Atlantic, “The Disturbing Appeal of the Punisher.” Having just finished Daredevil Season 2, I can say I was quite blown away by John Bernthal’s portrayal of Frank Castle.  And there are several interesting reviews of Batman v Superman, which I haven’t seen yet, but which seems to be a mess–one from FilmFreakCentral, one from Vanity Fair, and one from Reason.com. Each is worthy of a read.

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