Who Will Educate the Educators? An Interview with Gayatri Spivak

Ryan Rafaty, Apr 24th

“When Du Bois wrote about the recently emancipated slaves, he said they certainly need food, clothing and shelter, but at the same time, to learn to communicate with the stars. Now that fourth item is not something about which you can just say, “oh well, that will be easily taught, because after all, they’ve suffered, and so they’re pure of soul”. All these mantras of “feminism is the secret”, or “the indigenous know the answer”, that one can just do anything with any group and they will just retain their purity. That is a very idealistic denial of history.”

Recent articles

Do I Dare Disturb the Public? Academics and the Vocation of Journalism

Ryan Rafaty, Feb 28th

The past few weeks I’ve been following the many journalists and bloggers who’ve had a sudden affinity for debating the scarcity and shortcomings of academics in the public sphere. From the spark of a single tweet or article, ideas often spread like wildfire in digital media.

How Academia and Publishing are Destroying Scientific Innovation: A Conversation with Sydney Brenner

Elizabeth Dzeng, Feb 24th

Nobel Prize winner Professor Sydney Brenner tells us that the key to encouraging innovation in research is to foster “deviant studies,” where researchers work in areas in which they are ignorant, allowing for fresh perspectives and new ideas. Unfortunately, academia today discourages this sort of creativity.

Six Shades of Grey? Increasing Pragmatism in Russian Strategy in the Islamic World

David Gioe and Jeremey Parkhurst, Jan 27th

Despite the popular quip that, when it comes to geopolitical grand strategy, Russians play chess not checkers, the reality has not always reflected this ideal. Recent geopolitical interventions by Russia, particularly in the Middle East and Asia, have shown signs of a more nuanced and complex set of policy tools.

The Unethical Aesthetic? A Commentary on the Gurlitt Case

Jonas L. Tinius, Jan 23rd

The ‘Gurlitt case’, as Anna Blair traces in her article in this magazine, is a prism for a nexus of hitherto not unrelated but rarely ever so intertwined (art) historical, moral, political, and economic conundrums.

The Politics of Hidden Images: Display and the Gurlitt collection

Anna Blair, Jan 22nd

The recent discovery of 1,406 artworks confiscated in Nazi Germany, thought lost forever, is the beginning of both an art historical fantasy and a legal quagmire. The facts are astonishing in themselves: border police stopped Cornelius Gurlitt on a train …

Playing with children, adults and Michael Gove: An interview with Patrick Bateson

Dana Smith, Jan 21st

Though seemingly a frivolous activity, play is essential for our intellectual development. King’s Review sat down with Professor Sir Patrick Bateson to discuss the benefits of play, creativity, and what happens when children aren’t allowed this opportunity.

A Salary for Living

Tobias Haeusermann, Jan 17th

The recent proposal to institute a Universal Basic Income (UBI) in Switzerland may turn out to be a short-lived experiment, but it raises important questions about human needs, social justice and how to attend to them.

An interview with Michael Herzfeld: Cryptocolonialism, the responsibility of the social sciences and Europe

Raffaella Taylor-Seymour and Johannes Lenhard, Dec 24th

Last week Raffaella Taylor-Seymour and KR editor Johannes Lenhard had the chance to interview Professor Michael Herzfeld, Ernest E. Monrad Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University. The three talked about what Herzfeld describes as ‘cryptocolonialism’, the public responsibility of the social sciences, economists as the Azande diviners of our times, and neoliberalism in Europe.

Journey to justice: American dreams and nightmares after Rosa Parks

Dexter Dias QC, Dec 16th

Fifty-eight years ago this month, Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for ‘civil disobedience’.  She sat where she wanted on a bus.  On 1st December, the day of the anniversary, Barack Obama sent out a tweet with a picture …

Boris Johnson: Philosophe?

Paul Sagar, Dec 13th

Boris Johnson’s recent remarks about inequality at the Centre for Policy Studies are more than just another provocation. In fact, the idea that inequality was part and parcel of economically advanced societies harks back to Mandeville, Kant and Smith. Johnson shows that the controversial theoretical postulates of the eighteenth century have become the political commonsense of the twenty-first.

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The Blog

How the North can learn from the South in building a welfare state

Johannes LenhardMar 31

A recent UC Berkeley #GlobalPOV video with professor Ananya Roy demonstrates that the issue of welfare dependency is just as bad among the middle classes and corporations as it is among the poor. KR editor Johannes Lenhard extends the case to Britain and links it up with recent ideas on the Universal Basic Income and the development of new welfare states in Asia and South America in this small blog-post.

Gilded Birds Interview: Thomas Adès

Gilded BirdsFeb 10

The composer Thomas Adès discusses his conception of beauty in relation to a photograph of his niece.

The palaver about Channel4’s Benefits Street and the significance of a Universal Basic Income

Johannes LenhardFeb 3

How could a version of the Universal Basic Income as debated in Switzerland potentially fuel a debate about the problems in the British benefits system? Commenting on Tobias Haeusermann’s recent article in the KR, Johannes Lenhard illustrates the case with his own research among homeless people in London and the current controversies about Channel4′s program Benefits Street.

Gilded Birds Interview: Christopher Prendergast

Gilded BirdsDec 19

As part of a series of reproductions from the Gilded Birds website, King’s Review presents an interview with King’s College fellow Christopher Prendergast.

Gilded Birds Interview: Jane Haynes

Gilded BirdsDec 5

King’s Review is pleased to present material from Gilded Birds (, a series of online interviews which each offer ‘a snapshot of contemporary ideals of beauty’. Jane Haynes, psychotherapist and author, discusses her husband’s photograph, ‘Dog and Grass’.

‘Catch it and talk to me’ – Flirting Tehran Style

Johannes LenhardDec 3

There are things happening in Tehran that even by Western standards are almost too creatively subversive to be true. And they are happening in the vehicles that Tehranis covet. During ’rounding’ – a form of car-speed dating – the intimacy that is typically banned from anything but the most private nocturnal spaces is partly able to return during sneaked daytime moments.

Destroying the universities

Paul SagarNov 4

It may surprise readers to learn that the government has spent the last three years persistently undermining and obstructing Britain’s seventh largest export industry.

America’s Strange Love Affair with Guns

Matthew WolfsonMay 6

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.

Menstruation Taboos: Let’s Break the Silence

Katie FitzpatrickMar 23

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 …

Closed material procedures, Rudi Dutschke and King’s

Nicholas Purnell QCMar 22

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 …