Politics and History

Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin

At the end of WWII, Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin met in Yalta to forge a post-war settlement. Now, the war in Ukraine shows that we're living with their decisions. Historian Catherine Grace Katz tells the story of the three "daughters of Yalta."More

Google maps versus paper maps

The debate is cartographer today is about which is better — a paper map, or a digital one? Cartographer Mamata Akella argues that there are merits and downsides to both.More

The Löwenmensch figurine after restoration in 2013

Shapeshifting images run deep in human history, going back to ancient cave paintings. Archeologist Chris Gosden says they're linked to the shaman's ability to cross into the spirit world where humans and animals merge.More

the raven

Bad things happen when people lose their connection to the more-than-human world. "Animals know something that we that don't," says psychologist Sharon Blackie. That's one lesson you can take from the old shapeshifting myths and fairy tales.More

An old barn near Sandy Neck on Cape Cod, Massachusetts in December 2012

Simon Winchester is a British journalist and best-selling author who spent decades on the road before finally buying a small farm in the Berkshires. The experience led to his book “Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World."More

Demonstrators near the Standing Rock Reservation.

Land Back is a movement that demands the return of native lands to indigenous people. One of its leaders, Hayden King — executive director of the Yellowhead Institute — explains why the movement is gaining traction in Canada.More

Makenna Goodman on her homestead in Vermont

Makenna Goodman is a modern-day homesteader and novelist in rural Vermont. She was inspired by Scott and Helen Nearing, who were back-to-the-land pioneers. But she says their philosophy of "the good life" reeks of class privilege.More

19th-century German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels scroll on their smartphones

China Mieville is a writer best known for speculative fiction, but he's also written a lot about Marxism, most recently in a history of the Communist Manifesto called “A Spectre, Haunting."More

Nancy Fraser

Hinge points are moments of crisis where a new system can be made. Philosopher Nancy Fraser believes the particular crises we face today are so severe they actually present an opportunity.More

Nancy Fraser

Over four decades, philosopher Nancy Fraser has worked to expose the deep roots that connect all the crises of our time: racial violence, environmental devastation, the impoverishment of families, challenges to democracy. Think of each as the toxic byproducts of capitalism.More

A mushroom

Pharmaceutical companies have a long history of hunting for medicinal drugs, often in Indigenous cultures. Historian Lucas Richert tells the story of how one company went bioprospecting for peyote.More

Rachel Fernandez

Sutton King wants to change the culture around psychedelic medicines by confronting historical wrongs and getting Indigenous people into key decision-making roles in the psychedelic industry. More

Conversation with Samantha, the artificial intelligence

To a certain extent, loneliness is part of the human condition. You can be lonely anywhere, even surrounded by friends. But modern life has exacerbated it, and that requires modern solutions. Indie game designer Jason Rohrer has one — an artificial friend named Samantha.More

Jim Thorpe on the football field, the Olympic track, and the baseball diamond.

Drawn from conversations with hip-hop artist Tall Paul, journalist Patty Loew and biographer David Maraniss, we hear stories from the NFL, from baseball, and, of course, from what made Thorpe a legend —the 1912 Olympic Games.More

"You're not ok, that's ok" yard sign

During the height of the pandemic, producer Charles Monroe-Kane made a yard sign — 300 of them, in fact. They read "You're not ok. That's ok." He put a few in his yard and the rest on his porch. Soon they were gone.More

Frans Hals, Meeting of the Officers and Sergeants of the Calivermen Civic Guard, 1633

The Frans Hals Museum in the Netherlands holds an exquisite collection of 16th and 17th century Dutch art — and the largest collection of paintings by artist Frans Hals himself. Steve Paulson takes us along on a tour of Hals’ work, and talks with Steven Nadler, a philosopher who has written a new book about Hals.More

Lucrezia de’ Medici (1545-1561)

In her latest novel, Irish novelist Maggie O’Farrell takes us into the world of Renaissance Italy, where she unravels the tale of a young woman, Lucrezia de’ Medici. Shannon Henry Kleiber talked with O’Farrell about what we can learn about history and ourselves through the many layers of portraits.More

Peter Brathwaite has now researched and re-imagined more than a hundred paintings of Black subjects. What began as a game is now a book and a museum exhibition called “Rediscovering Black Portraiture.More

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