Author Archive

Kalypso Nicolaïdis

Kalypso Nicolaïdis is professor of International Relations at the University of Oxford. Previously at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, she has worked with numerous EU institutions, including as a ‘wise man’ for the European Council’s reflection group on the future of Europe. She likes to think of herself as a translator between worlds, across different languages, cultures or disciplinary boundaries as well as between academia and the public sphere, and as a teacher, between generations and their ways of communicating. She writes on European and global affairs, as well as on solidarity and empathy, sustainable integration, post-colonialism, myth and politics, demoi-cratic theory, and theaters of recognition. Her last book is Exodus, Reckoning, Sacrifice: Three meanings of Brexit, which she discusses in her recent TEDx talk. See: www.kalypsonicolaidis.com

Man walking along in fog against backdrop of a cityscape.

In 2013, as two Fellows at New York University, we embarked on an “eruv tour” of Manhattan. Created through almost invisible strings attached to poles that envelope part of the city, this imaginary enclosure serves to delineate a religious space in which it is permissible to carry out the Jewish Sabbath. Today, we contemplate this almost invisible boundary running down Sixth Avenue with new appreciation of the insights it may yet bring to our current predicament as a pandemic of unprecedented proportions forces us to reinvent our common space, the boundaries which define it and the ways we can and should interact within it. The eruv was introduced in Roman Palestine around 50AD for a Jewish community where many of …

Do we know more now about the likely shape of the future Brexit deal?  While Theresa May’s speech has provided some much-needed clarity on the British position, her uncompromising stance on the single market could make the deal yet more unpredictable. In the configuration sketched out today, the eventual result will depend even less on what Theresa May wants and even more on what the rest of the EU will give her. Commentators tend to argue that there are too many unknowns to figure out the positions and bottom lines of the 27.  But nevertheless, the fundamentals are arguably simple enough to be described in three short equations, each of which gives us a clue about an eventual Deal UK (Duk). Equation 1: …

  The EU might be dysfunctional but it is still Britain’s home. Help us fix it from the inside.   Dear British friends, My kids and husband are British, I teach and pay taxes in this country, talk to my village neighbours everyday and love English country lanes, Scottish castles, Welsh road-signs, Cornwall’s gardens and all the bloody rest of it. As a French and Greek citizen, I won’t have a vote in this referendum and yet this is one of the most momentous decisions that will ever be taken in my name, as a European citizen living on this side of the channel. So, along with the two million other EU expats living here, and millions on the continent …

“Tout est pardonné” What are we to do with this message on perhaps the most awaited cover in the history of global journalism? And what are we to do with the fact that these powerful words, written last week in tears – literally — by a once joyous band of journalists, were almost ignored in the tsunami of reactions to the image itself of a Mohamed with a Je suis Charlie banner shedding a tear? We knew that the survivors’ issue would be “ni pleurnichard ni revanchard”(neither tearful nor revengeful). “Tout est pardonné” in a way echoes “l’amour pas la haine” after the 2011 Charlie bombing, well, minus the provocative kiss-on-the-lips. Defiant, they refuse self-censorship: but this is the most pacifist of all Mohameds. So why did the world only comment on the defiant image? What shall we do with the forgiving part? There is of course, at the root of it all, the power of drawing, irreverence as the ultimate universal. But as all power – and power was Charlie’s main target – it must be used wisely. Tignous, one of the cartoonists killed, explained that satire must fulfil three conditions, make us laugh, hopefully make us think, and if it is a perfect success, create a feeling of shame to be laughing about that.As Xavier de la Porte muses on his Rue 89 website, that is a complex message! And what a risk, taken by each cartoonist time and time again, not to be as subtle as his ambition. Can our public space live up to such power and subtlety? Do we have enough trust in ourselves and in one another? Mutual recognition between people and cultures moves in mysterious ways, the cartoon its Rorschach test.