Politics and History

man moving steel

Alissa Quart spent the last few years traveling around the country, talking with all kinds of people about work. What she found is a lot of people with jobs that look good on paper but who feel — in a word — squeezed.More

punch the clock

When we talk about reforming work, fixing work, creating new kinds of work — author and historian James Livingston thinks perhaps we’re not going far enough. More

Henry Morton Stanley (center) meets David Livingstone (right)

Nineteenth century European explorer David Livingstone died of malaria nearly 150 years ago, but as author Petina Gappah explains, Africans are still debating his legacy today as they assess the impact of European colonialism.More

prison

Feeling regret about committing a crime matters in criminal sentencing. But if emotion isn't supposed to have a place in the law, should it matter? Susan Bandes tells us how judges and juries evaluate remorse, and why.More

Robin Wall Kimmerer (left) and Anne Strainchamps (right)

Emerging science in everything from forest ecology to the microbiome is confirming that our relationship with plants and animals is deep. Ecologist Robin Wall Kimmerer also draws on Native knowledge to explain our intimate relationships with plants.More

earth from space

Lidia Yuknavitch’s apocalyptic novel “The Book of Joan” is one of the most stunning examples of climate fiction. It’s the story of a near-future where Earth is decimated and the last few survivors are stranded out in space.More

Greenland ocean sunset

In "Our Biggest Experiment," climate advocate Alice Bell traces the history of the scientists who have been studying the impact of humanity on the climate since 1856. She tells Anne Strainchamps that science has been critical for spurring the world to act. More

basketball hoop

On Native American reservations, high school basketball is huge. They have developed a fast-paced style of play called “rez ball.” New York Times reporter Michael Powell spent a season covering the team from Chinle High School in the Navajo Nation.More

The 1968 Olympic games changed everything for John Carlos. He and fellow runner Tommie Smith raised their fists in the Black Power salute on the podium in a moment that became known as the most defiant and controversial in Olympics history.More

A moment on the street in Addis Ababa.

Ghanaian post-colonial theorist Ato Quayson thinks a lot about globalization, diaspora and transnationalism. Because he’s a literary scholar, he decided to "read" a single street — Oxford Street in Accra — as a study of contemporary urban Africa.More

Lending a helping hand.

Historian Emily Calacci says the massive migration into African cities isn't following the Western model of urban development. Instead of an infrastructure of roads, railways and electric grids, many African cities rely on "people as infrastructure."More

A french bulldog doing a snooze.

Philosopher Lars Svendson thinks we shouldn't be stressing about learning to bake sourdough or memorize TikTok dances in quarantine. He thinks we need to learn to be lazy again.More

Mondays, powered by coffee

Why does it seem like we always head into Monday feeling let down? Journalist Katrina Onstad explains how we ruined the weekend, and how to get it back.
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A woman behind screens

Anne Helen Petersen has been writing about burnout long before the pandemic. Now she says we’re really starting to run on empty.More

WORKER HARDER

In one recent study, 50 percent of people surveyed said they often or always feel exhausted from work. Emma Seppala says that it’s because collectively, we’re falling for outdated ideas about success.More

Picking up leaves on a leisurely hike.

Our lives have never been more optimized to save us time. But is it all time well spent? Maybe it’s time to embrace inefficiency, argues typewriter collector and philosopher Richard Polt.More

Ferris wheel

At one point there were more than 1,500 amusement parks across America. Historian Lauren Rabinovitz says they helped ease the country into a period of rapid technological change.More

crystal meth

When anthropologist Jason Pine traveled to rural Missouri, he wound up spending a lot of time observing underground meth labs. And he came to a startling conclusion: that the meth cooks of the Ozarks are today’s alchemists.More

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