Culture Briefing


What is the Meaning Behind These Categories?

These categories are intended to orient you to the substance of the article and to communicate our framework for understanding the endowments that constitute civic life. This “human ecology” model is at the core of the Thriving Cities Project, a research initiative of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture.

White Nationalists Wield Torches at Confederate Statue Rally

New York Times

Tensions are high over a decision to remove statues of Confederate generals in our hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia.

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On Monument Wars (Vol. 80)

Culture Briefing

Two pieces on the so-called “monument wars”—ongoing debates about efforts to remove or dramatically re-contextualize particular public memorials.

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Tempers Flare Over Removal of Confederate Statues in New Orleans

The New York Times

Fausset reports on the New Orleans monument wars, recording voices from different sides of the debate.

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The Monument Wars

Harper's Magazine

Debates about public monuments offer “a chance to arrive at new conclusions, nominate new heroes, rethink the past, and reorient ourselves to the future.”


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Bryan Stevenson on Charleston and Our Real Problem with Race

The Marshall Project

Stevenson’s Memorial to Peace and Justice project is an attempt to counter the narrative that racism, terror, and white supremacy are ideologies of the past.

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Good Bones

Waxwing Magazine

Smith’s beautiful poem on the joy and pain of life has resonated widely since last week’s tragic shooting in Orlando.

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Marilynne Robinson: The Art of Fiction

The Paris Review

This 2008 interview highlights the deep self-understanding of one of America’s greatest living writers.

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How Art Became Irrelevant

Commentary Magazine

Lewis argues that the arts “no longer shape in meaningful ways our image of ourselves or define our collective values.” 

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A Conversation with Rowan Williams


In a wide-ranging and stimulating interview, world-renowned theologian Rowan Williams speaks about poetry and meaning-making.

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Roger Federer as Religious Experience

New York Times Magazine

In this nearly decade-old piece, David Foster Wallace offers an exquisite and earnest reflection on the glimpses of transcendence we see in sports.


The Soul of Things Goes

Oxford American

In a fascinating interview with Win Bassett, poet Christian Wiman discusses his most recent collection, Once in the West.


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