Out Hunting: In Baltimore

Gary Younge, 29 July 2021

The demand of Black Lives Matter and others to ‘defund the police’ follows the logic that addressing the causes of crime – by funding housing, drug rehabilitation, education and mental health services...

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Ghosting: Dead to the World

Hal Foster, 29 July 2021

How​ long can you be absent before you are declared dead? Do you have any civil rights during this interval – which some societies set at the biblical seven years – or are you merely the target of...

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Thomas Becket​ was not the first archbishop of Canterbury to meet a violent end – Archbishop Alphege was killed by Vikings in 1012 – but he was unique in other ways. Unlike his...

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Knife, Stone, Paper: Law Lords

Stephen Sedley, 1 July 2021

The modern relationship of the three principal elements of the constitution – legislature, courts and executive – doesn’t resemble the cogs of a working machine, or the delegation of adjudicative...

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Human Spanner: Kant Come Alive

Stuart Jeffries, 17 June 2021

Siegfried Kracauer sought out the zeitgeist in places where professional philosophers disdained to tread, and specialised in finding the profound in the superficial. Thirty years later, Roland Barthes...

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Winged Words: On Muhammad

Tariq Ali, 17 June 2021

Muhammad never claimed to be anything other than a human being: he was a Messenger of God, not the son of Allah, and not in direct communication with him. The visions were mainly aural: the Prophet heard...

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The question I am asking is whether, looking at ourselves from outside, we should come to view our attachment to rights and deontology as an unnecessarily cluttered moral outlook, which grossly magnifies...

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Short Cuts: Courthouse Hotel

Duncan Campbell, 20 May 2021

Fifteen​ years after its closure, Bow Street Magistrates’ Court, which over its 271-year history provided a stage for Oscar Wilde, Emmeline Pankhurst, Dr Crippen, ‘Lord...

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A Singular Entity: Classical China

Peter C. Perdue, 20 May 2021

The typical temple of Chinese popular religion contains multiple areas devoted to many gods, more like a circus model of culture than like the Temple of Heaven, where a single officer performed the sacrifice....

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Favourably Arranged: Horoscopy

Claire Hall, 20 May 2021

Ancient anatomists drew what scanty conclusions they could about the inner workings of humans from pigs and dogs; cosmologists speculated about the structure of the world without much evidence, or much...

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The ‘unconstitution’ has worked only because England’s ruling elites, out of decent self-interest, have never fully exploited its incredible lack of formal constraint on executive power. That convention...

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Stainless Steel Banana Slicer

David Trotter, 18 March 2021

Gimmickry is the séance during which some commodities, at least, have begun to dance as if of their own free will. Marx’s term for ‘of its own free will’ is ‘aus freien Stücken’ – literally,...

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At the House of Mr Frog: Puritanism

Malcolm Gaskill, 18 March 2021

No one wants to be ‘puritanical’: better to be thought fun-loving, broadminded, easygoing, even (perhaps especially) if we’re not. Puritans hold a mirror to the anxious self-image of individuals...

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Reinventing Islam

Elias Muhanna, 4 March 2021

Just like the term ummah, the practical salience of the concept of dar al-islam waxed and waned throughout history. Cemil Aydin wants to remind us that Muslims have always lived in discrete empires, spoken...

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The Sun and the Daily Mail needed individuals for their readers to hate or fear: scroungers who made piles of cash out of trivial or imaginary injuries, whingers who turned their self-regarding grievances...

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The Ramsey Effect

Kieran Setiya, 18 February 2021

Picture,​ if you can, a single person with the talents of Keats, Schubert and Seurat: an inspired poet, a prodigious composer, a revolutionary painter, a figure of unlimited promise who died, like them,...

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Charlie’s War

Jeremy Harding, 4 February 2021

In an email to staff shortly before his murder, Samuel Paty explained that his class was meant to confront students with the following question: should cartoons of the Prophet not be published in order...

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Name the days: Holy Spirits

Marina Warner, 4 February 2021

The strangeness of such religious material again and again makes it incomprehensible that such figures should be considered holy, but if you look instead at their adventures as a remedy for the drudgery,...

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