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From the archives

Pax Atlantica

NATO’s long-lasting relevance

The Melmac Years

My peculiar resin d’être

Ira Wells

Ira Wells teaches literature and cultural criticism at the University of Toronto. His work has appeared in The Walrus, The New Republic, American Quarterly, and elsewhere.

Articles by
Ira Wells

The New Campus Puritanism

Free speech, safe spaces, and the limits of tolerance May 2018
Until recently, it was possible to assume that the so-called “campus free speech” debate was a distinctly American phenomenon—the product, perhaps, of a more divisive and toxic political culture. The stories emerging from U.S. campuses, about protests to rename university buildings, insensitive Halloween costumes, administrators being shouted down in the streets—plus the familiar chorus of right-wing pundits sounding the free-speech alarms—sounded like dispatches from an alternate…

Michael Ignatieff’s Nouveau Modesty

The Ordinary Virtues epitomizes a career defined by ironies December 2017
In his lacerating novel Scar Tissue (1993), which was shortlisted for the Booker and Whitbread awards, Michael Ignatieff offers an intimate portrayal of losing his mother to Alzheimer’s disease. The novel’s characters are fictionalized, but the thoughts, reflections, and locutions are unmistakably Ignatieff’s. He represents Alzheimer’s as a form of death in life, a curse that is genetic in origin but metaphysical in…

The Age of Offence

The politics of outrage, and the crisis of free speech on campus April 2017
Among those invested in the notion that higher education is currently collapsing before our eyes, fewer pieces of evidence are proffered more frequently (or more uncritically) than the modern university’s supposed tendency to nurture and promote “offence taking” as a default attitude toward the world. Our universities, we are told, have discarded their traditional raison in order to become incubators of moral…