Arts and Literature

The Muse of Urban Delirium: How the Performing Arts Paradoxically Transform Conflict-Ridden Cities Into Centers of Cultural Innovation

This collection of essays seeks answers to the challenges of urban diversity, conflict, and creativity by examining the emergence of musical and theatrical originality in a series of specific cities at particular times. It does so by using various performing arts - opera, dance, theater, music - as windows onto the creativity of urban life. These were urban societies in which the socio-economic and political transformations were taking place at such rapid speed as to force consideration of their meaning and identity.

Performing Community 2: Short Essays on Community, Diversity, Inclusion, and the Performing Arts

In 2012, the Urban Sustainability Laboratory began posting short essays by Director Blair A. Ruble about the themes of community, governance, and transparency in cities. By 2015, a sufficient number had appeared to be gathered in Performing Community: Short Essays on Community, Diversity, Inclusion, and the Performing Arts. This first collection included twenty-one essays focusing on the role of the performing arts in community building around the world.

Conservatism as Preemptive Strike: The Case of Novosibirsk

Novosibirsk—Russia’s third largest city and the unofficial capital of Siberia—rarely makes international news. Apart from stories about Akademgorodok, a Soviet-built science city, sometimes called the “Silicon Forest,” the city was barely mentioned in the Western press until recently.

Ukrainian Literature Series: "Decomposition" with Ukrainian Poet Lyuba Yakimchuk

Cosponsored by the Ukrainian Studies Program at the Harriman Institute of Columbia University

Conservatism as Preemptive Strike: The Case of Novosibirsk

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Bringing New York to the Broadway Stage

In 1987, two very different reviews of the state of New York City appeared almost simultaneously. The first was a report issued by an ad hoc Commission on New York in 2000 chaired by Robert F. Wagner Jr., who was the son of the city’s beloved three-term mayor and grandson of a popular New York Senator, and was himself deeply involved in city affairs and a chair of the City Planning Commission. The second review was a special issue of the distinguished leftist journal Dissent edited by author and journalist Jim Sleeper.

A Problem of Perception: How to Promote a Modern Ukraine

Art-project "Depersonalization." Kiev, Ukraine. Photo by Ruslan Kapral, some rights reserved.

Contemporary North Korean Art: The Evolution of Social Realism

The art of North Korea remains largely unknown to the outside world, apart from kitschy propaganda posters sold to tourists. And yet, art is huge in North Korea, where the state-run Mansudae Art Studio is home to the world’s largest government-supported art community. In a country where propaganda is paramount, the question looms: Is there “art for art’s sake” in North Korea? Is all of the art produced in North Korea entirely propaganda? And what can we learn about North Korea and party policy from the artwork produced at the state’s behest?

Engaging the Arts for a Vibrant, International Ukraine

Jamala's victory at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest reminded the Ukrainian political class of the critical role arts and culture play in foreign relations and their unique ability to promote national interests. Ukraine’s culture holds tremendous potential to counteract what many perceive as a growing “Ukraine fatigue” in the West. To what extent do Ukraine's political and economic elites grasp this possibility and have a strategy?

Preserving Cultural Heritage in Armed Conflicts

The ongoing armed conflicts in the Middle East have caused severe damage to the region’s cultural heritage. Despite the challenges, great joint efforts have been made between local heritage professionals and the international heritage community. Such efforts demonstrate creative approaches to preserving cultural heritage in conflict zones, and illuminate the future of more efficient international cooperation.