Politics and History

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

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

president ghost

A ghost story for the election season from listener Eric Van Vleet.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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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

woman in wispy colors

Clinical psychologist Filip Bromberg says many young Swedes are suffering from serious stress and burnout, to the point where they’re abandoning seemingly good, high-paying jobs in search of more meaningful lifestyles.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 Emma Seppala says that it’s because collectively, we’re falling for outdated ideas about success.More

Fun outside on election day

Eric Liu, founder of Citizen University, tells us why citizens are more powerful than they think and how he's trying to reinvigorate the culture of voting — by making it more fun.More

the rollercoaster of democracy

Historian Jeremi Suri places our present moment into a larger context — and uses the ups and downs of history to theorize what might lie ahead of us.More

Vote mural

Constitutional scholar and law professor Kim Wehle says democracy itself is on the ballot this year. What can you do about it? Vote.More

A village in

Kenyan literary scholar James Ogude believes "ubuntu" — a concept in which your sense of self is shaped by your relationships with other people — serves as a counterweight to the rampant individualism that’s so pervasive in contemporary cities.More

A building at the Zoma Museum

In Addis Ababa, curator Meskerem Assegued and artist Elias Sime have created Zoma Museum as a visionary model of an urban future, using ancient Ethiopian building techniques. They say modern development can be much more than concrete high-rises.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 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

Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton wrote more than a million words on alchemy over his lifetime, conducting decades of alchemical experiments. But he did it all in secret. Why? The question fascinates historian Bill Newman.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

Haleema reporting in Pakistan

You could say that the work of nation-building is never really done. Haleema Shah has been thinking about that after a recent trip to a country close to her heart — Pakistan.More

tea set

Journalist Adam Minter wrote a whole book about what happens to our things when we don’t want them anymore. It’s called “Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale” Angelo asked him: why don’t we think more about the things we donate?More

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