Saturday art blogging: patterns in Islamic art

by Eszter Hargittai on December 1, 2018

In my senior year of college, I took what must have been the most talked-about course offered at my school: a year-long introductory art history class, “Art 100”. It has since been discontinued, sadly, but also understandably, as it was taught by the entire art history faculty and its coordination must have been overwhelming. The benefit to students was that we got to learn about all materials by experts in it. It was a fantastic and beloved class, in some cases life-changing (see one example of this). Numerous friends in my house (Smith’s name for dorms) had taken it and we had countless conversations about the class (and to my chagrin now as a professor, some also about the profs, but for what it’s worth, they tended to be about our admiration).

One of my favorite sections was Islamic art. I hadn’t known much about it and found the patterns in architecture mesmerizing. When I was in Doha almost a decade ago, I very much enjoyed the tour of the Museum of Islamic Art where lots of patterns greeted us both in the architecture (see above) and the pieces on display (see below and here). Given these positive experiences, I was pleasantly surprised this week to stumble upon the Web site Pattern in Islamic Art, which offers a very nice collection that I wanted to share with you. The slideshow pages take a few seconds to load, they are worth it.

     

The three-party system in Australia

by John Quiggin on December 1, 2018

A couple of years ago, I had a go at analyzing politics in the English-speaking developed countries in terms of a three-party system. The three parties were neoliberalism (in hard and soft versions), leftism and what I then called tribalism, but can now be better described as Trumpism. Trumpism combines what might be called dominant identity politics (for the countries in question, the relevant identity is white, Christian, heterosexual and suburban/rural) with crony capitalism and “big man” authoritarianism.

When I described the Australian political system a year ago, I noted a profusion of Trumpist parties. The most important is the governing Liberal party, until recently (like the US Repubs) hard neoliberals, but now increasingly Trumpist, with the partial exception of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull,

Malcolm Turnbull, a wealthy businessman, and smooth neoliberal who was widely seen as reviving of the soft liberalism of the past on social questions. As it has turned out, however, Turnbull has acted as a puppet for the Trumpists who dominate the party

A few months ago, the Trumpists finally tired of Turnbull and dumped him in favor of Scott Morrison, a former PR executive, who has praised Trump and even taken to wearing baseball caps.

The results, happily have been catastrophic, that is for the Liberals. After being tossed out as PM, Turnbull resigned from Parliament and his ultra-safe seat was won by an independent. Then the Victorian Liberals, running on a Trumpist platform involving a racist fear campaign on crime, the revival of the drug war and support for anti-gay discrimination by publicly funded church schools, were comprehensively thrashed in a state election. With moderate members defecting and others in open revolt, the Liberals are now in a complete mess.

Where does this leave the three-party system?
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