Columbia University

In April 2005, when President Bush decided to transfer Zalmay Khalilzad from Afghanistan to Iraq, Afghan President Hamid Karzai complained. The Afghan-born Khalilzad had been serving as U.S. ambassador to his native country, and his relationship with Karzai--which dated back to the late 1990s, when both men advised the U.S. oil company Unocal on the construction of a Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan pipeline--was strong.

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Afghanistan

In the current issue, I write about Afghanistan's shaky future as the country tries to overcome years of violence and a devastating dependence on opium trade. The books and testimony below help to illustrate a place whose history is fraught with tragedy--but where a cautious hope for a better life is beginning to take hold. Sarah Chayes, The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban (Penguin, 2006). As the Taliban fell in late 2001 Sarah Chayes was covering Afghanistan for NPR Subsequently she worked for an Afghan NGO doing reconstruction work.

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A few weeks ago, Andrew Delbanco wrote eloquently in The New Republic about the strange silence of his university in this time of war ("War College," December 11, 2006). Most people don’t think of Columbia University as an island of stillness and detachment. In Morningside Heights, as in Israel, any four people usually have eight opinions and express them with articulate fury. Yet Columbia holds its peace about Iraq—and, according to Delbanco, shows few traces of its active participation in America’s other wars. Princeton University, where I work, does feel like an island, "rising," as F.

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The Language of Forms: Lectures on Insular Manuscript Art By Meyer Schapiro (Pierpont Morgan Library) Romanesque Architectural Sculpture By Meyer Schapiro (University of Chicago Press) I. When Meyer Schapiro died ten years ago, at the age of ninety-one, he had a place in American intellectual life that was extraordinarily large and also rather mysterious. Quite a few of the people who mentioned his name with a quickening excitement, a catch in their voices, had probably not read a single one of the exacting essays about medieval art on which his scholarly reputation rested.

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War College

Hillary Clinton, congratulations. You’re the lucky recipient of a winning political issue, which has the added virtue of being morally important. Send your thanks to Columbia University and the U.S. Supreme Court.   This week, the Court unanimously upheld the Solomon Amendment, which denies government funding to universities that prohibit military recruiting on campus.

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What the Internet is doing to scholarship.

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Out of Africa

Melville J. Herskovits and the Racial Politics of Knowledge By Jerry Gershenhorn (University of Nevada Press, 338 pp., $65)  Melville J.

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Amnesty and Amnesia

Adenauer's Germany and the Nazi Past: The Politics of Amnesty and Integration By Norbert Frei Translated by Joel Golb (Columbia University Press, 365 pp., $35)In this grim account of the formative years of West German democracy, the German historian Norbert Frei examines legislation affecting the amnesty and the integration of Germans suspected of, accused of, and in many cases indicted for crimes committed during the Nazi era.

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America Made Easy

John Adams By David McCullough (Simon & Schuster, 751 pp., $35) I. At the height of the XYZ Affair in 1798, when American public outrage against France verged on war hysteria, President John Adams briefly enjoyed the sort of popular acclaim that he had long thought he deserved. In Paris, the French foreign minister Talleyrand had tried to bribe three American envoys sent by Adams to negotiate an end to continuing maritime hostilities between the two erstwhile allies.

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Yankee, Stay Home

Saving urban baseball from George Steinbrenner.

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