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Culture

Culture rests at the core of how people live their lives and experience the world. Pulitzer Center grantee stories tagged with “Culture” feature reporting that covers knowledge, belief, art, morals, law and customs. Use the Pulitzer Center Lesson Builder to find and create lesson plans on culture.

 

Jamaica's Gays Worship In the Closet

It takes just 15 minutes to set up an underground church.

Two boxes and a white sheet make up the pulpit. The altar is a card table. Folding chairs constitute the pews. Then Rev. Robert Griffin, a solidly built gay American minister in his mid-40s, unpacks a battered cardboard box; inside is a wooden chalice, two candle holders, a communion plate and a dog-eared copy of the King James Bible. Add a pianist warming up on an electric keyboard and suddenly an empty meeting room is transformed into the Kingston branch of the Sunshine Cathedral, Jamaica's only gay church.

How AIDS Became a Caribbean Crisis

We may be accustomed to thinking of AIDS as most rampant in distant parts of the world like Africa, India, and South Asia. But these days the epidemic is flaring up a bit closer to home, in the Caribbean. Indeed, AIDS is now the leading cause of death among adults there, and the Caribbean's rate of new infections is the second highest in the world, following just behind Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Architect of 9/11

The photographs above correspond to Brook's three pieces published by Slate. The items labeled "Dispatch 1" are associated to his 9/08 piece, "Dispatch 2" to 9/09, and "Dispatch 3" to 9/10.

In Aleppo, Syria, Mohamed Atta Thought He Could Build the Ideal Islamic City

In 1994, Mohamed Atta traveled to Istanbul with a student group and continued onward to visit Dittmar Machule in northern Syria, where the professor was doing fieldwork on a Bronze Age village under excavation. But Atta found himself more interested in the traditional urbanism of the nearest major city, Aleppo. Atta was hardly the first student of Middle Eastern architecture drawn to Aleppo. Along with Fez in Morocco and Sana'a in Yemen, Aleppo is considered among the best-preserved cities in the Arab world.

Mohamed Atta Confronts the Historic Muslim Monuments and Modern High-Rises of Cairo

Mohamed Atta became an architect at Cairo University, in the city where he came of age. The Egyptian capital is a fascinating, albeit poorly maintained, open-air museum, spanning 5,000 years of architectural history. In its recent past—since Napoleon's 1798 invasion, in Egypt's near-geologic time frame—the city has lurched from Western model to Western model, trying in vain to reclaim its lost glory. In the Abdin neighborhood where Atta grew up, grand Parisian apartment buildings constructed in the 19th century now sit caked in dust, their windows shattered.

What Can We Learn About Mohamed Atta From His Work as a Student of Urban Planning?

A month after 9/11, Fouad Ajami wrote in the New York Times Magazine, "I almost know Mohamed Atta, the Egyptian [at] the controls of the jet that crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center." While the Middle East scholar had never met the lead hijacker, Ajami knew his type: the young Arab male living abroad, tantalized by yet alienated from Western modernity, who retreats into fundamentalist piety.

Good Intentions, Thwarted

Photos and audio reporting by Vanessa Gezari

Additional photos courtesy of U.S. Army Task Force 2-2

Editing by Megan Rossman of The Washington Post

U.S. soldiers are working with civilian anthropologists in the Human Terrain project to find new ways to win the trust of villagers in Afghanistan. But one Army unit's efforts to refurbish a mosque in a strategically important village are frustrated by Taliban interference.