Academia and Intellectual Soulcraft: A Conversation with Cornel West

King’s Review recently had the pleasure of talking with Cornel West during his stay last week at King’s College, Cambridge. Here he talks to us about the role of academia and the responsibility of intellectuals in the public sphere, particularly their relation to recent political movements such as Occupy, and pressing social and political problems such as climate change, poverty, and financial crises.

America’s Strange Love Affair with Guns

Guns, like country music, cowboy boots, and bourbon, have for the past forty years enjoyed a cultural cachet in America that is removed from any practical uses to which they might be put. They have become symbols of Southern and Western self-sufficiency and toughness, an easy way for consumers from particular regions in a market economy to flaunt a middle finger to authority.

Of Fat Cats and a Barking Public

Precisely one month ago, on March 3rd, Swiss voters backed a proposal to enforce some of the world’s strictest regulations on executive pay. In a society where obesity is the most common result of malnutrition, citizens seem to have realised that the fat cats sitting on the boards of Swiss companies embraced gluttony in a deregulated market—and a diet is in order.

Ward Seven

The Russian mentality – borne out of eternal struggle for survival – has become nationally addicted to the consoling idea of ‘a quick fix’. It seems that a new age occultism is fast becoming the religion for many Russian people.

Menstruation Taboos: Let’s Break the Silence

Two weeks ago, we celebrated International Women’s Day. While there should be no time-stamp on such celebrations, a specific day does provide an opportunity for focus, for female issues to be raised and discussed by experts and non-experts alike. At the United Nations office in Geneva, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) raised one such issue: menstrual hygiene. Experts from the WSSCC, a multi-partnership organization hosted by the […]

Closed material procedures, Rudi Dutschke and King’s

Nicholas Mulder’s piece ‘Closed Trials and Open Wounds’ unknowingly served to bring back to mind the part played by Ken and Rosemary Polack and King’s in the cause celebre of the Rudi Dutschke affair of 1970 and the seminal part it played in the abolition of the first ‘special appeals procedure’ which allowed for the secret consideration of evidence. As a junior barrister of two years’ call, I was astonished, […]

The Rights of Journalism and the Needs of Audiences

In Tom Stoppard’s play Night and Day, one character remarks to another: “I’m with you on the free press. It’s the newspapers I can’t stand.” I don’t think that our discussions of the proper configuration of press freedom have moved very far from this impasse in the thirty years since the play was published.

Why Economists are Liars (and other stories)

At first glance, experiments suggesting that business and economics majors lie more than others provide material for yet another indictment of academic economics. But the experiments also point beyond themselves to a much more recent development – one that implicates Udacity founder and Google Glass pioneer Sebastian Thrun – and to another more complex story involving bombs, the Ford motor company, and the self-fulfilling prophecy.

Closed Trials and Open Wounds

The political repercussions of the proposed Justice and Security Bill rocked the Liberal Democrats’ spring conference in Brighton this weekend. Civil rights campaigner Jo Shaw resigned after renouncing her support for Nick Clegg.

My language ate my savings

Keith Chen is a vanguard, almost a Žižekian pop-intellectual fulfilling the necessary clichés (receding hair, slightly squint-eyed, untucked shirt). His theory is daring and far-reaching. It could not only influence, but revolutionise our way of thinking about the economy (at least our way of excusing economic incompetence).

Billions of pounds to map billions of neurons

In the last month, both the European Commission and U.S. president Barack Obama have pledged to give billions of dollars to fund two separate projects geared towards creating a working model of the human brain.