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 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
Thursday 31st March 2016

Passover in 2016: reflecting on the current refugee crisis

Description
As we approach the Jewish festival of Passover in 2016 we are witnessing in the millions an exodus of refugees from war torn countries in the Middle East. Having survived unspeakable violence, this present day exodus leaves Europe with many strangers in our communities and untold more hoping for food and shelter.
Date:
Thursday 31st March 2016
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