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Recent blog posts on political topics​

Older essays

  • In 2006 the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education voted in favour of an academic boycott of Israeli universities and scientists who fail to "dissociate" themselves from Israel's "apartheid policies".  They never did explain, though, the proper form in which the Israelis were supposed to attest to their political rectitude.  One possibility is here.

  • In 2004 Republicans attacked John Kerry for speaking French, and for "looking French".  Hatred of the French language as a foreign interloper, and disparaging the language and people as dishonest and effeminate, go back to the Norman conquest.  Here is an article on the history of the effete French. The original research on which this was based -- concerning the use of French language in Shakespeare's history plays -- is here.

  • Together with Julia Brettschneider, I have tried to document some of the antiwar sentiment expressed by residents of Berkeley and Oakland, California, prior to and during the invasion of Iraq in the winter of 2003. Our photographs may be found here

  • A long article reporting on my impression of East German views of the reunification may be found here.

We are here plunged in politics funnier than words can express. 
Very great issues are involved... But the amusing thing is that no one talks about real interests. By common consent they agree to let these alone. We are afraid to discuss them.

--Henry Adams, writing on the election campaign of 1884

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