The Transformation of the World

It was a time of unprecedented accumulation of knowledge, of expanding cities and fading frontiers: The 19th century made the world we inhabit…
It was a time of unprecedented accumulation of knowledge, of expanding cities and fading frontiers: The 19th century made the world we inhabit… [More]

100 years after 1914

World War I is “the calamity from which all other calamities sprang,” says Fritz Stern. It shaped the modern world and gave rise to 25,000 books and scholarly articles. And counting…
World War I is “the calamity from which all other calamities sprang,” says Fritz Stern. It shaped the modern world and gave rise to 25,000 books and scholarly articles. And counting… [More]

History of the workplace

To study the office is to study how authority maintains authority—and how the subjugated stay subjugated. Or so says Jerry Stahl…
To study the office is to study how authority maintains authority—and how the subjugated stay subjugated. Or so says Jerry Stahl… [More]

The Self-Portrait: A Cultural History

Origins of the selfie. Until about 1490, self-portraits were rare. Then artists started to take an interest in themselves. Was it self-scrutiny or vanity?…
Origins of the selfie. Until about 1490, self-portraits were rare. Then artists started to take an interest in themselves. Was it self-scrutiny or vanity?… [More]

History of paper

Despite predictions of the paperless office, paper remains the standard – as an artistic and political medium – to which digital media aspire…
Despite predictions of the paperless office, paper remains the standard – as an artistic and political medium – to which digital media aspire… [More]

The Novel: An Alternative History

Of course Don Quixote was the first real novel, right? Wrong. The form is as old as civilization, and experimental fiction precedes Ulysses..
Of course Don Quixote was the first real novel, right? Wrong. The form is as old as civilization, and experimental fiction precedes Ulysses.. [More]

History of French revolution

Before the French Revolution was one of fact, of declarations and executions, it was a revolution of ideas. Indeed, it was three revolutions…
Before the French Revolution was one of fact, of declarations and executions, it was a revolution of ideas. Indeed, it was three revolutions… [More]

Sleep’s Hidden Histories

Does sleep have politics? Apparently so. Critical sleep studies scholars are probing its meaning, ruination, and touchy relationship with capitalism…
Does sleep have politics? Apparently so. Critical sleep studies scholars are probing its meaning, ruination, and touchy relationship with capitalism… [More]

Homosexuality, Choice & Engineering

In my previous essay I rambled a bit about homosexuality and choice. The main point of this was to set up this essay, which focuses on the ethics of engineering people to be straight. In general
In my previous essay I rambled a bit about homosexuality and choice. The main point of this was to set up this essay, which focuses on the ethics of engineering people to be straight. In general [More]

History of American humor

Do Americans have a sense of humor? Tocqueville thought not. How wrong he was: Some fun-loving Pilgrims, Barnum, Babbitt, Bruce…
Do Americans have a sense of humor? Tocqueville thought not. How wrong he was: Some fun-loving Pilgrims, Barnum, Babbitt, Bruce… [More]