“Still It Makes Me Laugh, No Time to Die”: Methodological Reflections on Oxford Street

Ato Quayson

In responding to several commentaries on his book, Oxford Street, Accra: City Life and the Itineraries of Transnationalism, the author calls upon autobiographical memories and probes their relation to fieldwork and translational transactions between various languages, pointing out that there are no easy or single sources for entextualized anecdotes or slogans.

Más Arte Más Acción: Utopia’s 500th

This essay presents the work of Más Arte Más Acción, a UK–Colombian non-profit cultural foundation set up in 2009 by visual artist Fernando Arias and cultural manager Jonathan Colin.

Comic by Craig Klugman

The Health Humanities and the Future of Publishing

This paper discusses the evolution of the field of Health Humanities and examines the effects that changes in publishing may hold for its continued development, including open access, pre-print servers, textbooks, ebooks, blogs, and other innovations that might presage a non-print—and even post-text—future.

Los intelectuales africanos ante el fenómeno de las dictaduras

A menudo me preguntan para qué sirve la literatura en las sociedades africanas. Desde fuera, resultan incomprensibles tantas horas de…

Featured Video Play Icon

Breath, Body and Voice Gala Concert: Stephen Jaffe’s “Migrations”

Breath, Body and Voice Gala Concert, Part Two: poet Nikki Finney’s A New Day Dawns and composer Stephen Jaffe’s Migrations…

Featured Video Play Icon

Achille Mbembe, Future Knowledges & the Dilemmas of Decolonization

In this “at large” Humanities Futures talk, philosopher Achille Mbembe considers the possibilities of a new planetary configuration of the…

Featured Video Play Icon

Donna Haraway | Making OddKin: Telling Stories for Earthly Survival

Multispecies environmental and reproductive justice must be practiced against human exceptionalism and in resistance to colonial capitalist divisions of species,…

Featured Video Play Icon

Health, Loss, and the Biopolitical Distribution of Affect

This panel from the Health Humanities & Social Justice Breath, Body, Voice Conference at Duke University dealt with health, the…

Featured Video Play Icon

Nikky Finney: Sipping Kerosene at the Refectory

Famed poet Nikky Finney kicked off our Health Humanities & Social Justice Breath, Body, Voice Conference with a reading from…

Featured Video Play Icon

Medical Memoirs and Social Agency in Planetary Perspective

In this panel discussion, WiSER Institute colleagues Achille Mbembe (Author, Philosopher) and Nolwazi Mkhwanazi (Senior Lecturer in Anthropology), are joined…

Zhuangzi Dreaming of a Butterfly, Ming dynasty, mid-16th century, ink on silk.

Cosmographic Experiments: Thinking, Doing, and Being with Classical Chinese Medicine

Mei Zhan

In questioning the status of materialist theory and the process of theorization in traditional Chinese medicine, and in postsocialist life more broadly speaking, classical Chinese medicine advocates imagine nondialectical materialisms as immanent ways of thinking, doing, and being in the world.

Pume Bylex's Tourist City

"Illuminating the Hole": Kinshasa’s Makeovers Between Dream and Reality

I examine the history of modern urban planning ideas and makeover models in the capital city of Kinshasa, Congo, with specific reference to the career of Pume Bylex. These proposed and attempted makeovers are looked at in the historical, cultural, and social context of Kinshasa itself, specifically regarding its colonial past, its prevailing mysticism, and its residents’ collective yearning for a dream city and a utopia that removes them from the reality of the actual city and nation they inhabit.

Man Collecting a blood sample from a Tibetan subject

Genetic Origami in Asian Experiments

Aihwa Ong

How can the humanities and social sciences can be blended in a contemporary inquiry into the flow of bioscience to sites in Asia?

Lebanese women wave their national flag and hold placards as they take part in a protest in Beirut

Environmental Activism in the Middle East: Prospects and Challenges

The 2011 uprisings in the Arab world catalyzed scholarly interest in developing a more nuanced understanding of the dynamics of…

What Water Teaches: Wissenschaft in the Age of Sea Level Rise

Does the sense of urgency occasioned by global warming and sea level rise have the power to reshape the humanities? Insofar as sea level rise will affect thousands of institutions of education and culture in coastal cities, the answer is yes.

Douglas Bleakley, father of Alan Bleakley, behind the wheel of a Jaguar c.1946

Don’t Breathe a Word: A Psychoanalysis of Medicine’s Inflations

Modern medicine has achieved great things but, like all institutions, it has significant flaws. Medicine’s major flaw is inflation, appearing in a variety of guises and intensities as the following: overconfidence, arrogance, self-importance, narcissism, authoritarianism, impulsivity or lack of reflection, fear of failure, intolerance of ambiguity, and overdeterminism.

Persian Literature and Educating the Whole Person

I suggest that students can learn to use emotional and aesthetic intelligence as a means of living healthier and more balanced lives and that ancient artistic and literary masterpieces are intellectual tools that revive and nourish our ability to pause, look closely, and ponder. I further suggest that, more often than not, seeking questions is more important than finding answers.

Eko-Atlantic project, Nigeria.

Re-Urbanism in Africa: Frictionless Utopias for the Contemporary Urban Age

Following an introduction to the concept of the "parallel city" or "satellite city," this essay reviews a variety of examples, including city-building projects in Lagos, Morocco, Mauritius, Ghana, and Uganda.

Malaria Commission of the League of Nations, Geneva. Photograph by Poesch photographic agency, 1928

From Colonial Medicine to International Health in East Asia

This essay examines in depth the history of colonial medicine in East Asia and its transition to an international health initiative.

Colorful pile of pills

Toward Global Histories of Pharmaceuticals in East Asia

Timothy Yang

This brief essay considers the history of pharmaceuticals in East Asia. It begins with a discussion of the burgeoning popularity of cultural and social histories of modern medicine in East Asia, and it describes the benefits and potential pitfalls of examining medicines as commodities.

Motorcyclist outside the Nallur Kandaswamy temple, Jaffna, Sri Lanka. Photo by Jim Sykes.

Remapping Sound Studies

The authors argue that this project necessitates asking different sorts of questions than have been typically asked in sound studies, and they contend that this change will in turn require broadening the purview of sound studies because it will challenge some of the field’s central presuppositions.

Shaikh Dervish

Explorations in Islamic Feminist Epistemology

Responsive to Elizabeth Castelli’s (2001) call to "trouble" and destabilize our categories of analysis in the study of religion and gender, this paper explores the feminist epistemological category of "experience," particularly as it relates to the study of Islam and Muslim societies.

The Future of Political Theory: The Normative Science of Politics

This essay examines the contrasts between political theory and political science, with a view toward the future trends of the two in relation to one another in the twenty-first century. The author ventures to make three predictions and invites readers to offer their own insights in response.

African Intellectuals in the Face of the Phenomenon of Dictatorship

Given the current political climate, this paper insists that we recognize the work of Africans who strove to counter totalitarianism throughout the twentieth century. Starting with the Fifth Pan-African Conference in 1945, it brings to light the contributions of African thinkers, writers, and artists who dedicated themselves to resistance in the form of creative production.

Thinking "Global Blackness" Through the Frame of Angelus Novus: An Exploration of Racial Aporias and the Politics of Modern Power, Sovereignty, and Temporality

In this exploratory essay, I would like to offer a way of thinking about the generative processes inherent in the formation of modern power that bring about and sustain a globalizing "blackness."