The Birmingham Brief

Intelligent thought on policy issues.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Birmingham.

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Thursday 2nd February 2017

Holocaust Memorial Day and Denial: Auschwitz in a post-truth age?

Description
In January 2000 the libel trial David Irving vs Penguin Books and Professor Deborah Lipstadt began in London. In April Mr Justice Gray delivered his judgement: Irving had 'deliberately falsified and distorted the historical evidence because he was an apologist for and a partisan of Hitler and on that account is intent on exonerating him.' Shortly after the trial started the government announced that from 2001, 27 January (the date of the liberation of Auschwitz) would be Britain's Holocaust Memorial Day.
Date:
Thursday 2nd February 2017
Thursday 1st December 2016

'All Past Times Were Worse': Remembering Fidel Castro

Description
Fidel Castro (1926–2016), was without doubt, one of the most forceful protagonists to erupt onto the global stage in the 20th century. Drama, charisma, audacity and defiant dynamism marked his emergence as a young leader, following his successful overthrow of the US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959, and his defence of the Revolution against its principal detractors for almost 60 years. The Cuban Revolution radically reshaped Cuban society, transforming the nation's geopolitical significance, and making it a vital broker in major global negotiations at key stages in the cold war and beyond.
Date:
Thursday 1st December 2016
Thursday 28th July 2016

What did Europe mean to William Shakespeare?

Description
Shortly after the news of the referendum result, I heard some English politicians being interviewed on BBC radio. One of them remarked with apparent satisfaction that membership of the European Union had now been rejected by a majority of 'our countrymen.' Another, a woman, observed that the entire referendum campaign had been a very masculine affair, and pointed to her adversary's telling use of the word 'countrymen.' 'I'm sorry,' he replied, 'I have been reading the works of our national poet, and it must have affected my vocabulary.'
Date:
Thursday 28th July 2016
Thursday 9th June 2016

Funding and finding films: British cinema and Brexit

Description
So many books with 'European cinema' in their titles have excellent chapters on Spanish, German, Italian, French and even British cinema, but say nothing about the subject that their covers promise. European cinema denies any hierarchy of its many languages, mixes and matches its stars and treats genres like play-doh.
Date:
Thursday 9th June 2016
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