Make Mine Bigger Or Maps And What They May Say About History And Us

A friend recently pointed to a poster on her wall and explained that it a Peter’s Map. An area accurate projection of the world, its first publication in 1974 provoked a minor firestorm. Perhaps because it revealed how the world’s powers were in fact geographically tiny nations – as if size and land mass may have had something to do with cultural, intellectual, military and social superiority. China was finally seen to be nearly 4 times the size of Greenland. Africa was 14 times the size of Greenland. Its just not cricket! Details »

Student Work: Saloni Bhojwani / The Aftermath/EXPOSURE Workshop, Ajmer India 2009

Copyright Saloni Bhojwani

Copyright Saloni Bhojwani

Hers was perhaps the subtlest way of working, one that allowed her to quietly, unobtrusively blend into a space and be forgotten. Rarely have I seen a first time shooter with such a knack for becoming inconspicuous so easily and so precisely. Details »

Student Work: Elizabeth Herman / The Aftermath/EXPOSURE Workshop, Ajmer India 2009

Copyright Elizabeth Herman

Copyright Elizabeth Herman

It took only a few hours after her arrival in Ajmer for Elizabeth to realize that the story she had hoped to do did not exist. Details »

Student Work: Radhika Saraf / The Aftermath/EXPOSURE Workshop, Ajmer India 2009

The Cheeta-Mewati, Beawar Rajasthan: Copyright Radhika Saraf

The Cheeta-Mewati, Beawar Rajasthan: Copyright Radhika Saraf

Her nervousness was palpable; sitting in the corridor late at night I watched her and her fear. For the last three days she had been exploring the lives of the Cheeta-Mewati community in the Beawar region of Rajasthan. Details »

Speaking Of The Obvious Or Profiling Photographers And The Selling Of War

A fascinating little piece of reporting from The Stars & Stripes that simply reminds us what this entire US military embedd fiasco is all about. In a piece called Files prove Pentagon is profiling reporters we learn that the US military and the Pentagon profile reporters before allowing them to embed with the military forces. Basically, if you are in, then you have been taken. There are some still running around pretending that their embedded reporting was done with a wide degree of ‘liberty’ and ‘latitude’ and without any specific constraints imposed on them. Details »

How Hindus Are Destroying New Delhi Or An Exercise In Absolute Foolishness Masquerading As A Stupid Opinion

Writer Rana Dasgupta, famous for his book Tokyo Cancelled, has penned a piece on the city of New Delhi and its rampaging obsession with things material, brand-obsessed, consumerist, shallow, callow and crass. Called Capital Gains it appeared in the recent issue of Granta magazine.

Fair enough – one can write similar pieces about pretty much any city in any ‘capitalist revolutionary’ city anywhere in the world. Take your pick, this story though well written and at times funny, could just as well be about Karachi, Rio De Jeneiro , Bangkok, Dubai, Shanghai, Beijing or even the now-under-China’s shadow, Hong Kong. Details »

In Bed With Robert Musil: Part I

I am traveling with Robert Musil’s A Man Without Qualities.

I have a bad habit of writing in books I read. I will usually do it on the inside flap of the cover and never on the pages of the book itself. Readings will provoke thought, but more often, I will simply note down a page where I found a sentence or an idea particularly interesting.

What I love about Vintage International’s edition of Musil’s book is that it comes with a number of blank pages towards the end. This is not the only excellent thing about the version; the bindings are superb and allow the reader to bend and fold the book comfortably into his hands without cracking the spine. And its porportions are an excellent example of the size a book should actually be – easy to hold, carry, bend, store and pack. Details »

India Diary: August 6th 2009 The Aftermath/Tufts University Photography Workshop Sessions

I am back in India to teach a workshop and to continue my work on The Idea of India project.

I, along with The Aftermath Project founder and photographer Sara Terry, am teaching a two week workshop in Ajmer, India to students from Tuft University’s Institute for Global Leadership.

Thanks to a wonderfully imaginative collaboration between the grant program and the school, we will be spending an intense two weeks with nine students exploring stories that speak to issues of cultural and religious pluralism, and social and civil conflict aftermath. Details »

The Palestinian Wedding Or More Studies In Farce & Fanaticism

A Wedding At Masara, West Bank Photo By: Oren Ziv/ Activestills.org

A Wedding At Masara, West Bank Photo By: Oren Ziv/ Activestills.org

This post today celebrates a Palestinian wedding thanks to the photography of Israeli activists at Activestills and Haggai Matar who was in fact beaten by Israeli soldiers while participating in this event, as he explains here in this piece called Assault-A Personal Story Details »

Fear The Pushtun Bogeyman Or Scaring Children As An Imperialist Habit

Juan Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Engaging the Muslim World. He has a regular column at Salon.com. and writes the Informed Comment blog.

He has now written what I think is the first piece that connects modern day American imperialist paranoia in Afghanistan to 19th century British imperialist paranoia in Afghanistan. Details »