Society and Culture | Wilson Center

Society and Culture

Purifying the Land of the Pure: A History of Pakistan’s Religious Minorities

When Pakistan became an independent state in 1947, it sought to provide a new homeland and safe harbor for South Asia's Muslims, the largest religious minority in the subcontinent at the time. Pakistan at first welcomed all of its new citizens, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. Non-Muslims comprised 23 percent of the total population, and non-Sunni Muslims comprised a quarter of the Muslim population. Today, however, Pakistan’s non-Muslims comprise a mere 3 percent of the nation’s population, and in recent years non-Sunnis have been subjected to high levels of persecution and violence.

Finding Babel: Film Screening and Reception

Isaac Babel's writings are subversive masterpieces, challenging the ideology of the early Soviet Union, and resulting in his arrest and execution in 1940. On the 75th anniversary of Babel's execution, Finding Babel, from 7th Art Releasing, follows Andrei Malaev-Babel, his grandson, on a journey to come closer to some sense of truth. This was a special sneak-peak premier for the Washington, DC area. For more information about the film, please visit

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.

Back to the Future: How the Past is Russia's New Ideology

Kennan Institute Distinguished Speaker Series
Why are Moscow residents more concerned about Ivan the Terrible than bombings in Aleppo? How can one explain the conservative trend in Russian public sensibility that has emerged in recent years? Maria Stepanova examined the political exploitation of historical memory as the Russian public delves deeper and deeper into its own past.

Putin Will Pay a High Price for Trump’s Friendship

Successful politicians usually enjoy their fair share of luck along the way. With the election of Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin received the luckiest break of all. Instead of continued isolation, the Russian president will get yet another reset, with several long-term goals – a recognized zone of influence, non-interference in domestic affairs, an equal relationship with the United States – within his grasp.

History Education in Divided and Postwar Societies

History Can Bite: History Education in Divided and Postwar Societies


Hometown D.C.: America's Secret Music City

In his memoir Music Is My Mistress, Duke Ellington fondly recalled whiling away the days of his youth at Holliday’s poolroom in Washington, DC.

Russian Opinion Polls Come Full Circle

To receive an email when a new post is available, please subscribe here.

As much as it may sound paradoxical to a Western reader, public opinion is important in Russia. Or, more to the point, it’s the polling industry and the copious amounts of data it collects that are important. The average Russian’s responses to all kinds of questions are a staple of that same average Russian’s media diet.

Russia’s Way of Managing Responsibility or Why the Kremlin Will Have To Escalate in Syria

Photo by Irish Typepad

To receive an email when a new post becomes available, please subscribe here.