The Public Humanist

Our blog publishes the voices of many contributors who use the humanities to explore our world. Reader commentary is encouraged. Consider contributing – complete form. Editor David Morgan.

Global in (African) Nature: Great Zimbabwe and Kilwa Kisiwani

One of the many original passageways within the Hill Complex, where only the king, his advisors, and his invited guests were permitted.

Trading empires in Africa created a global network while Europe was still reeling from the Middle Ages. Great Zimbabwe is a testament to this neglected history and its ruins demonstrate the architectural and mercantile prowess of its previous inhabitants.

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Thinking with Arendt about Massachusetts Ballot Question 2: Revaluing the “Public” in the Fight for Public Education

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This November, Massachusetts voters will be deciding whether to lift the cap on charter schools in the Commonwealth, begging the question of what advocates mean by the term “public.”

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What is a Terrorist?: Modern War

Guy Fawkes, caught in an attempted bombing, proclaimed that declared that “a dangerous disease required a desperate remedy,” evincing the asymmetry of power and terrorism.

Terrorism may be modern warfare’s brutal apotheosis; a simple strategy in an asymmetrical environment.

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What is a Terrorist?: The Difficulty in a Definition

Images via Google news

The standards by which we call someone a terrorist may be part religious and racial discrimination; hesitating to label individual or group violence as domestic terror appears wise when looking into history.

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What is a Terrorist? An Introduction

“Terrorist” in English texts dating from 1800 to 2008: Image via Google Books Ngram viewer

After 9/11, the word “terrorist” dramatically increased in American discourse, and yet for many—including the United States government—its definition still lacks clarity.

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Welfare and Liberty

Founding Fathers painting

Twenty years ago, President Clinton signed into law the welfare reform act for which his presidency is widely remembered. His efforts changed our national concept of welfare. But the word used to mean something very different, as is true with many of the ideas put forth in the Constitution.

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Lend Me Your Ears: Rhetoric in Ancient and Modern Times

Bust of Alcibiades. Capitalize Museum, Rome

In a democracy, the ability to persuade a voting population is the road to power itself.

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Voice Matters in the Land of the Free and Un-free

The immediate challenge to Michelle Obama’s statement about the slaves who built the White House is a very public reminder that words spoken by an African American tongue are still considered suspect.

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The Kurdish Experiment: Mandates that Made the Middle East

Turkish nationalists demonstrate against the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) in Istanbul on September 8 ,2015. (AFP Photo/Ozan Kose)

Arab nationalism may deserve more credit for shaping the Middle East following World War 1 than it sometime receives—especially in the case of the Kurds.

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Believing is Seeing

If gendered differences are made to appear biological and irreversible, it is easier to reinforce the heterosexuality and male privilege in our gendered relationships.

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