Essays

The functionalist housing built across the USSR in the 1960s is one relic of the past that is here to stay. Architects must take an interest in these increasingly decrepit buildings, which despite lack of architectural merit are popular with residents.

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One of the most acute chroniclers and critics of the 19th-century European empires of the East was neither a historian nor a political scientist, but a Polish mariner. Douglas Kerr examines how Joseph Conrad mastered the narratives of empire in a language that was not his own.

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The history of news is the history of the confusion between the real and the fake – with that master of disguise, the devil himself, never far away. Today, too, demonic involvement is readily invoked, perhaps to avoid the awkward question: what is the price of reliable information?

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Paweł Pieniążek has covered the war in eastern Ukraine from all sides since it broke out in spring 2014. He was one of the first journalists on the scene of the MH17 airliner disaster. Here, translated into English for the first time from his book ‘The War that Changed Us’, is some of his reportage from the front line.

Postmodernism was conceived largely by the Left as a safeguard against totalizing ideologies. Yet today, it has been appropriated on behalf of an encroaching neo-totalitarianism of the Right. Is French literary theory to blame? And can a philosophy of dissent developed in communist eastern Europe offer an antidote?

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Delivering this year’s Democracy Lecture, organized by ‘Blätter für deutsche und interationale Politik’, Wendy Brown describes how neoliberalism has fomented a populist revolt that, in the figure of Trump, culminates in a plutocratic authoritarianism.

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