Opinion

IAS scholars share informed and diverse perspectives on high-level issues, contemporary society, and social change, lending expert insight to the global discourse.

“We can see the unseen. An astonishing deep-field image of crashing galaxies and bygone nebulae. A glimpse at what the death of our own sun might look like. Baby stars being born perched on cosmic cliffs. The first photographs of the JWST are breathtaking, and they will dramatically change how we understand the universe."

During the heyday of the social movements of the 1960s, Martin Luther King’s citation of the abolitionist Theodore Parker’s—“the arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice”—served as an inspirational and aspirational text. Even as events called into question that belief in the inevitability of progress, some things did seem to be permanent advancements.

Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. It has created a refugee crisis, the scale of which has not been seen since World War II in Europe. The toll of civilian casualties is in the thousands, with countless others missing, injured, trapped, or lacking in essential medicines, food, and water.

By Adriana Petryna, past Member (2003–04) and Visitor (2006) in the School of Social Science:

"Already this year, both Colorado and New Mexico have seen the most destructive wildfires in their states’ histories. Colorado’s Marshall Fire consumed almost 1,100 homes in Boulder County. At a time when rooftops and lawns would normally have been covered with snow, drought had left the region dry and vulnerable instead."

By Jonathan Haslam, past George F. Kennan Professor (2015–21) in the School of Historical Studies:

"Are sanctions against Russia working? Two months on from the first targeting of Russian banks and oligarchs, Putin's grip on power remains as firm as ever. This shouldn't come as a surprise: restrictions on Iran, Venezuela and North Korea have impoverished their populations, but haven’t led to political revolutions."

By Didier Fassin, James D. Wolfensohn Professor in the School of Social Science:

The French president’s first term, with his neoliberal and authoritarian policies, has situated him on the right of the political spectrum rather than in the center as he had announced prior to being elected. But his shift has progressively gone even further with the decision to put immigration control and hardline secularism on the agenda.