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Empire: How a history of conquest shapes the present


Same history, different memories

A century ago, European empires dominated much of the planet. Gurminder K Bhambra and Charlotte L Riley ask what we can learn from the past.

I think Europe is the one part of the world that hasn’t actually decolonised. The places that were colonised have gone through a process of understanding that colonial history, but Europe hasn’t taken into account its colonial past, and so it continues to repeat particular patterns, without realising that this past is no longer part of its present.

The stories we tell ourselves

We might not realise it, but our image of modern Britain owes a debt to the propaganda arm of empire, writes Owen Hatherley

A place to call home

Almost a century after a mass “exchange” of Muslim and Christian minorities, the Aegean coast sees a new wave of refugees. Alev Scott reports.

The Spring 2017 issue of New Humanist is on sale now! Subscribe and get four issues a year for just £27.

Also in this issue:


  • Today it is taken as given that empathy is a driving force for good. But, asks Kenan Malik, is reason a more useful and compassionate approach?
  • North London’s ultra-orthodox Jewish communities are known for being self-contained – but what happens if you want to get out? Daniel Gordon reports
  • Angela Saini discusses the social taboos over menstruation, which have caused undue shame to millions of women
  • For an experienced mathematician, the greatest equations are beautiful as well as useful. Cal Flyn asks whether the rest of us can see what they see
  • The concept of human rights is being dangerously undermined. Lyndsey Stonebridge asks whether literature can bring us back from the brink
  • Marcus Chown explains a new scientific breakthrough on primordial black holes
  • Sexual violence has become a staple of mainstream entertainment. Sally Feldman argues that this is a dangerous trend with worrying consequences
  • The photographer Wolfgang Tillmans made his name documenting gay culture. Huw Lemmey asks whether his work still has the power to subvert
  • The death of a humanist: Samira Shackle explains the injustice of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws
  • JP O’Malley discusses consciousness and culture with the philosopher and scientist Daniel Dennett
  • Keith Kahn-Harris reviews recent books on white power music and the changing face of far right extremism
  • Columns from Michael Rosen and Laurie Taylor; the latest developments in biology, chemistry and physics; cartoon by Grizelda; book reviews; cryptic crossword and Chris Maslanka's quiz

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