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After Rhodes Falls

Natalya Din-Kariuki

29 June 2020

As the #CoronaContract campaign documents, casualised staff at universities across the UK will be hit especially hard by the fallout from Covid-19. Many have experienced financial hardship already, through the loss of promised work hours or their institutions’ refusal to furlough them. Some have had their contracts terminated prematurely. And things will get worse, as universities across the country announce the non-renewal of casual contracts, hiring freezes and redundancies. To fight racism at universities, we need to concern ourselves not only with the future recruitment of Black academics (there are only seven or so Black professors at Oxford), which the mechanisms of casualisation obstruct, but also with the urgent difficulties facing insecure workers currently in the university’s employ.

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How Should I Refer to You?

Amia Srinivasan

I’vehad the wrong pronouns used for me – ‘he/him’ instead of ‘she/her’ – by two people, as far as I know. One of them was an editor at this paper, who I am told used to refer to me as ‘he’ when my pieces passed through the office. In his mind only men were philosophers. The other was Judith Butler. I had written a commentary on one of...

 

Consider the Hare

Katherine Rundell

Hares​ have always been thought magical. In their long-limbed quivering beauty, they were believed to be walking, breathing love potions. Philostratus warned his third-century readers that there were unscrupulous men out there who had found in the hare ‘a certain power to produce love and try to secure the objects of their affection by the compulsion of magic art’. Pliny...

Diary

In Mali

Rahmane Idrissa

As it​ usually is in September, Dakar was sweltering and sticky. I’d come to examine back issues of the Bulletin de l’Institut fondamental français d’Afrique noire in the National Archives, looking for material on the Songhay empire. For some reason, BIFAN, the most important scientific journal of Francophone black Africa, isn’t available online. Songhay was...

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What can the WHO do?

James Meek

At the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic it was gravely expected that the Euro-American countries would hold firm, with their sophisticated healthcare systems based around high-tech hospitals, while the disease would cut a terrible swathe through Africa. The question of solidarity, or the lack of it, would come down to how much or how little the rich countries were willing to give the less well-off. So far it hasn’t happened that way. The formerly colonised countries, with their thinly resourced health systems, have been spared the worst; it is the old colonisers, with their ventilators and ECMO machines, that have suffered. Senegal has had far fewer deaths than France, the Democratic Republic of Congo far fewer than Belgium, Kenya far fewer than Britain. That may yet change. More remarkable is the way the epidemic has exposed a lack of solidarity within Western countries themselves. The debate about the path of global health improvements turns out to be meaningful within countries as well.

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At the Type Archive

Alice Spawls

TheType Archive near Stockwell in London used to be a hospital for cab horses and circus animals, but since 1992 it has been home to every sort of mould, matrix, burin, bodkin and slug. The archive holds typographical apparatus from the last six hundred years, but its main collection relates to the technology of Monotype printing. That capital letter is important: this isn’t the...

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Jenny Offill

Adam Mars-Jones

During​ the US presidential campaign of 2016 Louis Amis wrote a scabrous satirical story from the point of view of a member of Trump’s team, a daring exercise in fantasy that was revealed as hopelessly timid when the election result was announced. Jenny Offill’s novel Weather is an attempt to grapple with a future that is hard to inhabit imaginatively, the consequences of climate...

 

Cultural Pillaging

Neal Ascherson

Afewmonths after the end of the Second World War, Stephen Spender returned to Germany. His plan was to contact German intellectuals. This was not very fruitful: most were dead or in exile, and Ernst Jünger, whom he did meet, evaded his invitation to show unqualified guilt for the Nazi past. But then Spender was asked to reopen libraries in the British zone of occupation, having first...

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Talking Politics: History of Ideas

After each episode of the new Talking Politics podcast, brought to you in partnership with the London Review of Books, continue your exploration of the history of ideas in our unrivalled archive of essays and reviews, films and podcasts.

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LRB Books: Collections and Selections

Rediscover classic pieces, recurring themes, and the dash the London Review of Books has cut through the history of ideas, for the past 40 years, with LRB Collections and now LRB Selections: two new series of collectible books.

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Notice from Bury Place:

Like most other businesses, we have taken the decision to close both the London Review Bookshop and the Cake Shop until further notice. All events and late shopping evenings due to be held in the spring have been postponed indefinitely, but we’ve recorded a few of them as podcasts, and we’ve also launched LRB Screen at Home, a new, free series of online film events: join us on the bookshop’s YouTube channel every Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. A selection of books and book boxes curated by our booksellers is also now available for online purchase. Stay tuned for news of our plans for reopening, and many thanks for your support.

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