What Obama Owes New Haven

The city’s black leaders speak.

Shafiq Abdussabur remembers sitting on the shoulders of his mother, dressed in a little black jacket bedecked with protest buttons, staring out at an army of police in full riot gear. The year was 1970, and Ms. Abdussabur, her son, and twelve thousand other Black Panthers and their supporters had converged on the New Haven Green to protest the trial of Panther leader Bobby Seale and several of his compatriots for murder. In the following month, before the case ended in a mistrial, activists would. . . Read more
Ben Lasman
The Book of Goldman

And so it came to pass in the city of Manhattan.

And so it came to pass in the city of Manhattan that a plague fell upon the largest of the houses of investment banking, such that they turned to dust or became deformed. The plague struck first the house of the brothers Lehman, and destroyed it. Then came it to the house of Merrill Lynch, called Merrill, and did not destroy it, but made it weak; and the elders of that house sought relief from the plague, and they placed themselves and all of their. . . Read more
Dara Lind

A website cures bad habits—sometimes.

Goethe once proclaimed, “What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.” Well, duh. Goethe may have been a decent writer, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that at Yale, procrastination is a way of life. To paraphrase Freud, it probably all started in our childhoods. When I was nine I tried to read the Encyclopedia Britannica but lost motivation after the entry for “Anabaena” (“a genus of nitrogen-fixing blue-green algae with beadlike or barrel-like cells and interspersed enlarged spores”).. . . Read more
Haley Cohen
The Nuclear Testament

The Yale Divinity School talks disarmament.

Standing in the Yale Divinity School common room, beneath the benevolent gaze of portraits of deans past, were a Navy officer, a United Nations diplomat, and a slew of clergy from around the country. They were mostly white, mostly male, and mostly middle-aged—not the usual demographic to be discussing “vulnerability.” But as the room filled with the melodies of choir practice from across the quad, the crowd spoke of an “anxious age.” Though the only weapons on the premises were special YDS ballpoint pens poised. . . Read more
Kate Selker

Where in the world of academia is geography?

You don’t have to know much about topography to imagine that fighting for geography education is an uphill battle. Study after study has desensitized the public to American students’ geographic illiteracy, showing that two-thirds of Americans aged 18 to 24 cannot identify Iraq on a map; that six months after Hurricane Katrina, 33 percent of Americans in that age range failed to locate Louisiana; that nine in ten high school graduates in the United States do not know where Afghanistan is. These figures are just. . . Read more
Laura Zax
Continental Drift

As a legendary philosopher concludes his career, the Yale Philosophy Department contemplates its future.

The 1980s and ’90s were troubled times for Yale’s once prominent philosophy department. Fierce infighting—the result of both personal and academic quarrels—resulted in the exodus of almost all of Yale’s continental philosophy professors. Professor Karsten Harries PC ’58 GRD ’62 survived the strife, but most of his fellow continental experts in French and German Enlightenment thought left the department and were replaced with scholars of analytic philosophy, which focuses on logic and language and includes the fields of metaphysics, semantics, and epistemology. Soon, Harries was. . . Read more
Sophie Quinton
Building Blocks

New Haven models new development on an old urban ideal.

John DeStefano is a development man. Since his mayoral inauguration in 1993, his administration has directed billions of dollars, year after year, to rebuilding New Haven—gutting and renovating its schools, developing blighted neighborhoods through the Livable City Initiative, and revitalizing empty business districts like Orange Street and the Ninth Square. DeStefano sees his work as a march toward the future, but the future he envisions is very much like the New Haven of 90 years ago: a living, walking, and working urban environment with a. . . Read more
Sarah Nutman
Bare Market

Exploring East Street’s Catwalk Club.

Come a little closer, baby—pull your barstool over, lean in, inhale the haze of cigarettes and perfume so thick it’ll make your throat burn—and Phoenix will tell you everything you want to know. She’ll tell you about her parents, who hate her job of course but stand by her because stripping is just a temporary thing and they support her no matter what because that’s just the way they are, y’know. She’ll tell you about what she really wants to do, which is become a. . . Read more
Laura Bennett
A Light Touch

Award-winning filmmaker teaches Yalies to let go.

Film, says Laura Poitras, “takes over your whole world.” Poitras is young-looking, with pretty, thick-lashed brown eyes. She gestures delicately with her long, pale fingers, speaking softly and lifting her voice to curl statements into questions: “I think we should just talk about ideas?” She is fond of saying “like” and “totally,” and there is something girlish about the way she forms her l’s—lightly, with the very tip of her tongue. She is hardly the picture of a war-zone reporter. Yet she is now working. . . Read more
Amy Fish