Talal Ansari focuses on foreign policy and affairs, international conflict and human rights issues abroad.
"Afghanistan: 'A Shocking Indictment'," by Rory Stewart. The New York Review of Books, November 6, 2014.
Rory Stewart walked across Afghanistan —the entire country, in 2002—from west to east. My first introduction to him was when I read his book about these travels, The Places in Between, a travelogue like no other. Here he reviews Anand Gopal's book, No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban and the War Through Afghan Eyes. Gopal's book is important, for posterity, as it investigates serious lapses of Western involvement in Afghanistan, from horribly botched counter-terrorism operations to shoddy and suspect development work.
Aaron Braun focuses on the psychology and politics of work, histories of socialism, and critiques of Israeli exceptionalism.
“Whose Moon is it anyway,” by Rachel Riederer. Dissent, Fall 2014.
Rachel Riederer, an editor at Guernica, investigates the young but expanding private space sector. She questions the possibility of an expanding frontier, as a new bill—American Space Technology for Exploring Research Opportunities In Deep Space (ASTEROIDS)—aims to assert that the value of moon commodities is tied to entrepreneurship and not land ownership. Still, given the limited access to the private space sector (celebrity investors include Eric Schmitt), Riederer wonders if such unfettered frontiership is possible (if it ever was), and let lone anything resembling a lunar commons.
Naomi Gordon-Loebl focuses on queer and trans politics, youth and education, and the criminal justice system.
"Fear of a trans college," by Emma Caterine. Feministing, October 17, 2014.
Ruth Padawer's New York Times Magazine article on trans men at women's colleges depressed me. With gem anecdotes like a white trans man running for multicultural affairs coordinator at Wellesley because "masculine-of-center students are a cultural minority," the piece left me wondering: is this extreme tunnel vision and lack of analysis what we've come to? But then I read Emma Caterine's sharp response at Feministing, and felt my feet on the ground again. Caterine makes two central points: one, men pushing back on women's space is an entitled expression of patriarchy. Two, it's particularly ridiculous to focus on the demand for increased men's space at a women's college when some women—trans women—are almost entirely excluded. Too often, big media coverage of a community outside the mainstream is taken as fact, and the talkback—likely truer to the voices of the community—gets ignored. I hope this post, and other responses to Padawer's article, prove to be the exception to the rule.