Lines, Lineage, and Light in Jazmina Barrera’s “Linea Nigra”

THERE’S A CONCEPT in landscape architecture, a friend once told me, called a “desire line.” Picture a grassy quad on a college campus, neatly framed by flat gray sidewalks. Some walk along the cement, as the designers intended. But the preferred path can be seen from above; it cuts across the field, worn in from … Read more

Shedding Light in the Darkness of Our Historical Imaginations

IT ISN’T ALWAYS immediately clear to nonspecialists that medieval history is political. A time period stretching from, roughly, the fifth century to the 15th seems sufficiently removed from our world that its study couldn’t be adversely affected by our own prejudices. And yet, as historians know, all history is political, and the ways we relate … Read more