The modern nation-state has been premised on the violent creation of permanent minorities ruled over by ethnic or religious majorities, argues Mahmood Mamdani. The acclaimed scholar of colonialism and anti-colonialism reflects on the United States, Nazi Germany, South Africa, and Israel — settler-colonial societies built on internment and ethnic cleansing. He calls for a decolonialism … Continued

Modern art has always been a battleground — and the highly influential Museum of Modern Art has been partisan since its inception. Architectural historian Patricio Del Real discusses two differing political visions of modernism and modern architecture: one rooted in the left, and associated with figures such as Communist muralist Diego Rivera, and the other … Continued

Is a world of nation-states desirable? If ultranationalism is pernicious, are some forms of nationalism beneficial? Should struggles framed in terms of national liberation be lauded and supported? Nandita Sharma emphasizes the exclusions inherent in all nationalist politics, exclusions dictated by considerations of who does and does not belong to the nation. (Encore presentation.) Nandita Sharma, Home Rule: … Continued

Island nations have produced the least carbon dioxide emissions, but are paying the greatest price for global warming as they face inundation and obliteration. Yet many in wealthy continental countries know little about them or their plight. Scholar and environmental journalist Christina Gerhardt discusses the circumstances of islands surrounded by a rising sea, many made … Continued

What do neoliberal policies and institutions do to people’s ability to care well for others? According to Sarah Clark Miller, caregivers experience moral precarity and moral injury, brought on by the fact that they can’t care for loved ones in ways that are consistent with their ethical principles. (Encore presentation.) Maurice Hamington and Michael Flower, eds., Care … Continued

Insights from two scholars who had books published in 2023: Thomas Wheatland, discussing his rereleased book about the Frankfurt School, the influential grouping of radical thinkers that included Herbert Marcuse and Walter Benjamin, and Juliet Hooker, expounding on aspects of her new book about race relations and political loss that weren’t addressed in last month’s … Continued

Advancements in science are seen as symbols of human progress, but science has frequently served deadly ends. Historian Clifford Conner discusses how scientific research in the United States is deeply enmeshed with the military, and considers the purpose of trillions of dollars of spending on the military. (Encore presentation.) Resources: Clifford D. Conner, The Tragedy … Continued

Urban renewal processes and projects have wreaked havoc on many communities of color. Lindsey Dillon reveals how Black San Franciscans have responded to exclusionary forms of development and, more specifically, how Hunters Point residents worked to establish community control over how their neighborhood was redesigned and rebuilt. Camilla Hawthorne and Jovan Scott Lewis, eds., The … Continued