“A Punishing American Zeitgeist” | An Interview with Nikhil Pal Singh

The Drift

With Trump finally, dramatically out of office, the efforts to historicize his tenure have already begun. What is his legacy? How did we get here? What’s next? Long an astute commentator on race, imperialism, and the history of American political struggle, Nikhil Pal Singh has been an essential scholarly voice amidst the chaos that defined the Trump era, and the online noise that continues even in his absence. Singh is...

Editors’ Note | The First But Not the Last

Even before he was elected, CNN reported, Donald Trump had “awakened a feminist revolution in America.” The Access Hollywood tape in which he uttered the phrase “grab ’em by the pussy” was greeted as the end of the election, almost universally expected to spark the backlash that would ensure his defeat and usher in a new era for women. The future was female, and for a brief moment, even Fox...

Doctor Do-Little | The Case Against Anthony Fauci

Sam Adler-Bell

There is no one in American government — or perhaps any government — quite like Dr. Anthony Fauci. His position, with its mixture of informal power and public visibility, scientific authority and beltway influence, is sui generis. Few other unconfirmed civil servants have access to as many rooms in the executive interagency; no public official commands as much respect in the world of science and medicine. As director of the...

Bringing It Back to Baldwin | Myth, Memoir, and America’s Racial Reckoning

Joel Rhone

With Eddie Glaude Jr.’s Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and its Urgent Lessons for Our Own, the recent surplus of James Baldwin features has grown another monograph larger. Begin Again quickly climbed bestseller lists, earning a number of glowing reviews — hardly surprising, given that, over these past few years, Baldwin has certainly been back in vogue. This summer, we may have reached peak Baldwin: Instagram was rife with the...

“Different Experiences with the Data” | DC’s Covid Math

Allison Hrabar

I thought learning about DC’s Covid-19 response would help me regain the sense of control I lost in March. I’d been inside for three months, court closures had made my day job as a paralegal largely irrelevant, and DC’s Covid-19 dashboard updated daily around 10:30 AM. I started waiting in bed every morning until the latest infections and deaths were posted, in some version of the strategy people use to...

A Note from the Fireline | Climate Change and the Colonial Legacy of Fire Suppression

Jordan Thomas

In late August, before dawn broke on a foggy California morning, I marched with a crew of wildland firefighters through a redwood forest. We crossed a small farm, the jostle of our footsteps joining the cries of sheep and chickens as a man and woman paused to watch us pass. A mile in, we found the Dolan Fire creeping close to the ground through the underbrush, as if lying in...

“Stratified and Fragmented” | Teaching and Learning in a Pandemic

Andrew DiPrinzio, Bix Archer, Bryan Bejarano, Chet Ozmun, Dylan Hardenbergh, Emily Tian, George Duoblys, James McAsh, John Tormey, Julia Martins, Juliette Bretan, Kiva Uhuru, Lucas Cassoli, Mia Wood, Shoaib Shafi, Tryggvi Brynjarsson

From day care to graduate school, teaching and learning have been upended as never before. Schools closed in March, teaching was relegated to Zoom, and parents became reluctant homeschoolers. While the wealthy assembled pods to avoid the risks of ordinary in-person schooling, the poor juggled full time childcare with essential work. Now, we’re seeing a patchwork of half-measures and ill-advised, staggered reopenings as another year begins — and rising rates...

The DJ and the Miracle Cure | The Perils of Postcolonial Medicine in Madagascar

Chanelle Adams

On March 16, Madagascar’s state-owned TV station aired an 18-minute documentary. Narrated by two airline pilots, it re-enacts a November 2019 visit to the island nation by an anonymous Brazilian woman purported to be a prophet. “Joana,” as she is dubbed in the film, crosses the island in two flights, one south-to-north and the other east-to-west, tracing the shape of a crucifix. She has been sent by God, she confides...

Art after Objecthood | Self-Consciousness from the Minimalists to the Present

Lucas Zwirner

In 1967, a budding art critic and PhD student named Michael Fried published the essay in Artforum that would make him famous. “Art and Objecthood” was on the surface a piece that took aim at the Minimalists, then a group of up-and-coming artists led by Donald Judd. But embedded in the critique was a fully-fledged theory of art — in many ways the last of its kind. In the years since,...

Editors’ Note | A Feature, Not a Bug

  1. Even Netflix thinks it’s time to log off. Last month, the streaming service released The Social Dilemma, a documentary that promised to “unveil the hidden machinations behind everyone’s favorite social media and search platforms.” Intercut between dramatizations featuring actors you’ll sort-of recognize (Pete Campbell from Mad Men, the guy who played Larry’s dermatologist’s son on the most recent season of Curb) are the direct-to-camera testimonies of former tech...

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