Cultural Studies

If you’ve somehow avoided listening to podcasts, you will have missed out on the recent explosion of long-form audio storytelling – and I mean it, you’ve really missed out. The show which pioneered the form, This American Life (TAL), pulls a cool four to five million listeners each week ...

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Love and Lament offers a bracingly revisionist and upbeat account of how the arts flourished across a broad cultural spectrum in Australia over the course of the twentieth century. Margaret Plant, an emeritus professor of the visual arts at Monash University, argues explicitly with the thesis propounded by Keith ...

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The word ‘normal’ and its derivatives permeate our language, but what exactly does the term mean? It is entrenched in contemporary medical discourse (normal blood pressure, normal heart rate, normal body temperature, normal blood sugar levels), shows up in statistics (normal distribution curve), in geometry (normal lines) and even in chemistry as a measurement t ...

When I was twenty-seven, I visited mainland Scandinavia for the first time. I had spent the last of my travel money on a rail pass, and I was on a tight budget. One day, I thought I would save some money on accommodation by catching an overnight train from Stockholm to Trondheim. When I woke up the next morning ...

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Culture by Terry Eagleton

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October 2016, no. 385

No one should be surprised that Terry Eagleton has written yet another book about the excesses of academic postmodernism. Railing against the pretensions and deceptions and ...

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Over the past three decades, and particularly since the prime ministership of John Howard, there has been an extraordinary growth in the number of ...

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The Economist’s foreign correspondent John Hooper turns to a quintessentially English theme: Italians. Italians seem to be a sort of recurring obsession, a presence that periodically intrudes into the English imaginary. The cultural construction of Italy is a particularly sensitive and timely topic in the context of debates about the future of Europe. The a ...

When we look back at the major cultural achievements of the early twenty-first century, The Sopranos (1999–2004) will surely prowl, thuggish, at the top of the list. Created by David Chase, the HBO drama tells the story of Tony Soprano, a New Jersey mob boss who tries to balance the violent demands of his professional life with a more quotidian existence as a father and husband in the suburbs. Tony’s treatment for panic attacks by the psychiatrist Dr Jennifer Melfi is central to the six seasons. Self-described as a ‘fat fuckin crook from New Jersey’, Tony Soprano is more than that: a multi-layered, deeply flawed, always fascinating creature of millennial capitalist America.

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Zombies by Jennifer Rutherford

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December 2014, no. 367

In recent times the figure of the zombie has pervaded modern culture. Despite their origins as macabre creatures from Haitian myths, and then their modern cultural origins in B-grade horror films, zombies have established themselves as an important element of modern mythology. Jennifer Rutherford’s book aims to explore the reasons for our society’s obsession with these decaying entities.

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Helen Small, Professor of English at Pembroke College, Oxford, adopts a pragmatic and non-polemical approach in addressing The Value of the Humanities. This topic has been much debated recently as political and economic pressures on universities and funding agencies have led to an alleged devaluation of the humanities.

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