[Image Credit: SanduStefan, https://www.needpix.com/photo/909371/chicken-baby-chick-yellow-chicken-yellow-chicks-chicks-chickens-chick-chicken-little-young-chicken)

Earlier during the pandemic, when we had only been in quarantine for a week and it seemed as if the plague might exhaust its contamination in another three weeks more, the New York Times ran a story about a shortage among the breeders of baby chicks, induced by the Coronavirus, much like the shortages of toilet paper and beans in other quarters. In a time of quarantine, went the explanation, families turned for comfort to rituals like incubating chicks for the springtime. The suggestion was that families were buying and raising chicks just as they turned to card games or…


Watercolor of Aylan Kurdi’s corpse. Credit: @robertsharp cc BY 2.0 https://www.flickr.com/photos/robertsharp59/20635914503

The book begins with a meditation on the abandoned corpse of a child. Aylan Kurdi was a three-year-old Kurdish boy and stateless person, whose corpse washed ashore in Turkey after his family’s attempt to flee from Syria by boat. Some read about the corpse and shuddered about the refugee crisis or thought about human rights. When Ben Dueholm read about Aylan, he began to think of the corpse as a metaphor for a kind of suffering that affects most of modern humanity: anonymous, cut off from the community that we need to survive, rejected by the world, and left to…


Perhaps one of the most important cultural theorists of our time is the legendary philosopher Ernst Cassirer, a founding member of the Marburg School. Cassirer is a specialist in metaphor, mythology, and the way that language structures contemporary politics. What secret metaphors govern the blockbuster television series, Game of Thrones, and how they reflect the political climate of our time? In the transcript that follows, historian Jo Guldi interviews Ernst Cassirer about the genius of George R. R. Martin.

Like everyone else, I’ve been obsessing about the final Game of Thrones season. I really just had to talk it through…

jo guldi

Associate Professor of History at Southern Methodist University, co-author of https://www.cambridge.org/core/what-we-publish/open-access/the-history-manifesto

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