David A. Bell
Stop Blaming Colleges for Society's Problems
August 02, 2014
For better or worse, the university tends to evolve alongside society, not ahead of it.
Money magazine's college rankings are the most pernicious yet.
When French Irrationality Was Deadly
May 31, 2014
France was the seat of the Enlightenment and intellectual order. Perhaps this made its writers fall in love with disorder.
What the French Revolution can tell us about events in Crimea.
This Is What Happens When Historians Overuse the Idea of the Network
October 25, 2013
In the so-called “global turn” in contemporary historiography, it has not been enough simply to study the way Western powers have affected the rest of the world. The task has also been to show how the rest of the world affected the West. And it has been a matter of applying, even to quite distant historical periods, the controlling metaphor of the digital age: the “network.” Yet a remarkable amount is absent as well.
Is War Civilized?
March 03, 2013
Were princes more humanitarian than the Hague?
The War in Mali is a Reminder of France's Grand Malaise
January 15, 2013
The French public has recently been more inclined to a sense of decline, malaise, paralysis and crisis. And it is at least partially justified.
The Bookless Library
July 12, 2012
I. THEY ARE, in their very different ways, monuments of American civilization. The first is a building: a grand, beautiful Beaux-Arts structure of marble and stone occupying two blocks’ worth of Fifth Avenue in midtown Manhattan. The second is a delicate concoction of metal, plastic, and glass, just four and a half inches long, barely a third of an inch thick, and weighing five ounces. The first is the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the main branch of the New York Public Library (NYPL). The second is an iPhone.
Happy Birthday to Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Why the World’s First Celebrity Intellectual Still Matters
June 22, 2012
He was a man who claimed to have abandoned all five of his children, as newborns, at the door of an orphanage. He broke with nearly every friend he ever made, including some who sacrificed dearly for him, denouncing them in the most hateful and vitriolic terms. He wrote that law-breakers deserved to be treated as rebels and traitors.