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The contrivance of the casual: Billie Holiday in ‘The Sound of Jazz’
Visual Culture

The contrivance of the casual: Billie Holiday in ‘The Sound of Jazz’

by Nicolas Pillai Tim Wall and Paul Long note that The Sound of Jazz (1957) was one of a series of CBS-TV arts programmes themed around Gilbert Seldes’ notion of The Seven Lively Arts. The sophisticated visual design of the programme provided candid access to musicians in performance, framing jazz history and performance within the … Continue reading

Foul Play: Doping and Corruption in World Athletics
Visual Culture

Foul Play: Doping and Corruption in World Athletics

By Anne-Christine Wegener Global athletics have been in crisis since 2015. The second edition of the report published by Richard McLaren on grand-scale doping in Russian athletics confirms what many had already suspected: corruption and doping in sports go hand-in-hand and the problem is not restricted to a few bad apples. The problem distorts the … Continue reading

Q&A with Iwan Morgan, author of ‘Reagan – American Icon’
Visual Culture

Q&A with Iwan Morgan, author of ‘Reagan – American Icon’

An anti-communist hawk who hated nuclear weapons. A passionate advocate of freedom who supported brutal dictators and insurgents across Central America. An advocate of low taxes and a small state who saw public expenditure on arms balloon during his time in office. These are just a few of the contradictions that historians are presented with … Continue reading

Painting of the Week – ‘Fruit Sellers’ (1928) by Alexander Volkov
Painting of the Week / Visual Culture

Painting of the Week – ‘Fruit Sellers’ (1928) by Alexander Volkov

  This dark painting displaying a cubist aesthetic and oriental theme is a work by Alexander Volkov – an ethnically Russian artist working in what is now known as Uzbekistan, then part of the Soviet Union’s Central Asia – in the midst of the construction of the Soviet state. We see three Asian-looking men offering … Continue reading

Turkey: 2016 Politics Essential Reading List
History / Lists / Middle East / Politics

Turkey: 2016 Politics Essential Reading List

Turkey stands at the crossroads of world politics: caught between the West and the Middle East; bordering Syria and the frontiers of ISIS; excluded from the EU and governed by an increasingly hard-line leader. Recent events – both the failed military coup and Erdoğan’s subsequent nationwide crackdown – have propelled this young democracy into a new chapter of turbulence. Continue reading

An Interview with Abbas Kiarostami
Visual Culture

An Interview with Abbas Kiarostami

Yesterday, Abbas Kiarostami passed away at the age of 76. The filmmaker, best known for the Koker trilogy (1987–94), Close-Up (1990), Taste of Cherry (1997) – which won the Palme d’Or – was interviewed by Shiva Rahbaran for her book, Iranian Cinema Uncensored: Contemporary Film-Makers Since the Islamic Revolution (2015). Here is an extract of that interview… Continue reading

VIDEO: A chat with Philip Mansel, author of ALEPPO
Authors / Middle East / Philip Mansel

VIDEO: A chat with Philip Mansel, author of ALEPPO

Excerpts of a 2016 interview with historian Philip Mansel, author of Aleppo: the Rise and Fall of Syria’s Great Merchant City. Dr Mansel describes Aleppo’s colourful history, its trading  position, and the vulnerability of cosmopolitan cities, both in the  Middle East and elsewhere. (Courtesy:  B Hadrian)   Philip Mansel is a historian of France and the … Continue reading

Beyoncé and the problem of the Celebrity as Activist
Author Journal / Kirsty Fairclough-Isaacs / Visual Culture

Beyoncé and the problem of the Celebrity as Activist

In the wake of International Women’s Day 2016, Kirsty Fairclough-Isaacs picks two stand-out moments for celebrity culture and activism over the past year…   As a celebrity studies scholar and one who is interested the representations of famous women in mainstream culture, when International Women’s Day approaches, I find myself reflecting on the past year … Continue reading