Politics and History

person and dog

Ecofeminist philosopher Donna Haraway has a reputation for tackling the big intellectual questions of our time. She’s also obsessed with dogs — their biological, cultural, political and personal history.More

a woman looking in a mirror

When you look online, you might think the most important pursuit in life is self-creation — optimizing, curating, branding yourself. Social critic Tara Isabella Burton says our current obsession with personal identity has deeply religious roots, which then got co-opted by advertisers and the self-help movement.More

The American carnival

Kurt Andersen says there’s something quintessentially American about fantasy — from Hollywood to our homegrown religions. The message is that you can create your own reality. But what happens when political leaders believe their own fantasies?More

two adults near a portal to Disneyland

Disney theme parks aren't just for kids. Plenty of adults say they're happy places. But a lot of people love to hate on "Disney adults." So what happens to our childhood love of fantasy when we grow older? Producer Angelo Bautista has the story.More

Just over 200 years ago, a group of renegade German writers and philosophers came together in a small town and forever changed who we think we are. Andrea Wulf tells this story in her book “Magnificent Rebels: The First Romantics and the Invention of the Self.” More

Robert (left) and Kofi (right) together in 2008. (Robert Hanserd)

Two friends of 20 years — Robert Hanserd and Emmanuel Kofi Bempong — show what a relationship between African Americans and Ghanaians can be.More

American plane in Africa

Just as thousands of African Americans are moving to Ghana, some Ghanaians are migrating to the West. Literature professor Ato Quayson explains that it raises a difficult question: should they stay in Africa or pursue a high-profile career in North America or Europe?More

L to: Yeleyeni Songsore and her husband; Mawiyah Kambon and Kamal Kambon; Kwaku Asantu Maroon Asare

At least 1,500 Black Americans have moved to Ghana since 2019, when the government declared its "Year of Return" initiative, calling on Africans in the diaspora to return to Africa. As the US continues to confront its history of racism and police brutality against Black people, many are heeding Ghana's call.  More

David Rooney.

Clocks control us – but who controls clocks? David Rooney gives us a brief political history of clocks. And a look at their future.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

One last drink

Could you give up alcohol for a whole month? No cocktails with friends, wine with dinner, or beer after a game. Ten years ago, John Ore and his wife started a new tradition and named it "Dry- nuary ." Today, people all over the world observe it. John says even after a decade, it's still a challenge — but worth it.More

phantom islands

Uzbekistani electronic musician Andrew Pekler is fascinated by "phantom islands" — islands that 15th and 16th century explorers made up to please wealthy patrons of their expeditions. So, he built an digital map of them, and added a soundtrack.More

Anne's mental map.

Bill Limpisathian is a professor of cartography and specializes in a brand new field – map cognition, or how we use and see and think about maps in the brain. More

Samoan journalist Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson was born and raised on the island of Savai'i. Rising sea levels washed away the small barrier islands that protected her home, eventually, forcing people to move — just one example of climate change disappearing islands in the South Pacific.More

Charmaine Minniefield

"Praise houses" were places where Black people would gather in secret to affirm their African identity and cultural practices. Artist-activist Charmaine Minniefield explains how her Praise House Project pushes back against the erasure of history.More

Ramtin Arablouei and Rund Abdelfattah

Ramtin Arablouei and Rund Abdelfatah are the producers and hosts of "Throughline" from NPR. They explain why history belongs in the news and how they fell in love with it.More

Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a New York Times columnist and political analyst for CBS News with a knack for providing historical context for present-day debates. It’s given him a distinctive voice among today’s pundits.More

Orwell among roses

George Orwell was the great writer on tyranny and authoritarianism. But as Rebecca Solnit shows in her book "Orwell’s Roses," he was also a gardener who loved flowers and trees. Beauty and the natural world sustained him through difficult times.More

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