Politics and History

collective joy people dancing in the streets in ecstasy. andy warhol detailed colorful

Speaking in 2013, Barbara Ehrenreich said modern Westerners have become obsessed with personal happiness, and we often neglect the pleasures of collective joy.More

witches

Archaeologist Chris Gosden has written a global history of magic, from the Ice Age to the internet. He told Steve Paulson he’s come to believe our own culture would be healthier and happier if we took magic more seriously.More

Honey Rose

Honey Rose is part of the next generation of witches. They perform traditional magic on TikTok, do tarot readings via email, and seek to control social media algorithms with spells. Producer Angelo Bautista wanted to learn more.More

Mural of ancient soldiers returning from battle

Why do humans still wage wars? Despite their terrible costs, they benefit certain groups, and thoughout history, they've also galvanized social movements and sparked scientific advancements. Margaret MacMillan explains how wars have shaped us.More

Charles (right) interviews Prince Marfo (left). (TTBOOK)

Prince Marfo is the Suyani Cultural Director of Ghana. He says his government needs to do a better job of welcoming African Americans — he wants to see them welcomed as sisters and brothers not just as Americans with resources.More

General Sherman, AKA Karl Marx

There's a famous sequoia named General Sherman that's the biggest tree on the planet. It has its own distinctive history linked to the Civil War general and a radical anarchist group. Cultural historian Daegan Miller tells this fascinating story.More

Pardeep Singh Kaleka and Arno Michaelis

Pardeep Singh Kaleka's father was murdered when a white supremacist attacked the Sikh temple that his father led. Remarkably, he and a former white supremacist met just two months after the massacre. Now, they work together.More

An abstract image of a man at a desk

Daniel Ziblatt has watched authoritarian leaders elected in country after country – Putin in Russia, Erdogan in Turkey, Orban in Hungary, Bolsinaro in Brazil. He says there’s a playbook for how demagogues destroy their countries' democracies.More

The Maasai have lived alongside the Serengeti wildlife for generations.

Science journalist Sonia Shah, herself the child of Indian immigrants, has long been fascinated with the way animals, people and even microbes move. She says migration is both a crisis and an opportunity.More

Mahjong tiles

Board games are a tradition for a lot of us. But have you ever thought about where those traditions come from? Producer Angelo Bautista investigates the history of mahjong.More

A man with totalitarian ideas and conspiracy swirling around him.

Examining both historical and present-day moments of widespread loneliness, philosopher Samantha Rose Hill argues we must understand our feelings of loneliness — otherwise they could be exploited to control us.More

maps and guides

Dave Eggers – the writer and founder of McSweeney’s – has been all over the world. Along the way, he developed his own personal code of travel ethics.More

Helping hands while traveling. Illustration By George Wylesol (AFAR Magazine)

What’s the most uncomfortable you’ve ever been on a trip? Anu Taranath is a social justice facilitator and teacher, used to having difficult conversations about race, identity and privilege. She says those are issues that come up all the time when Americans travel abroad.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

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

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

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