Poetry and Ideology in Central Asia

The Role of Central Asian Poetic and Literary Traditions in the Development of National Ideologies in the Post-Soviet Period The new Bolshevik regime in Petrograd confronted the rising tide of nationalism head on,… Continue reading


  V, Ventura, California. 7pm, August 29, 2010.


Spencer Goes to the Orient: Part 1

Here I am in China. There’s a certain thrill, a sort of giddy high I get newly-arrived someplace, riding in a taxi through the streets of a foreign city. I certainly have that… Continue reading

Leopold Bloom and the Judaic Other: Zionism and the Dilemma of National Identity in Ulysses

It took James Joyce seven years to write the heroic Gordian burlesque of a novel he called Ulysses. From its inception in Paris in 1914 to its publishing in Paris on Joyce’s fortieth… Continue reading

On Nationalism

The nation-state was born in 1792, when France was established as a republic built around the idea of an ethnically French nation. At the time only one in five French citizens spoke French.… Continue reading

A Sunday at the Tracks

NOW Extra A Sunday at the tracks Horse Racing at Beirut’s Hippodrome provides authentic thrills Spencer Dylan Burke, Special to NOW Lebanon , July 3, 2009 In a city bereft of public parks… Continue reading

Reform, Revolution, and Russian Relations in the Bukharan Emirate, 1868-1920

At the time of the Russian Revolution, Central Asia lay at a crossroads between its past and its future.  Most of its land remained sparsely inhabited by the nomadic heirs of the Turkic… Continue reading

Ghosts of the Russian Empire

The Russian photographer Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) formulated a plan in the early years of the 20th century to conduct a photographic survey of the vast Russian Empire.  The scheme won the support of… Continue reading