Politics and History

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.
 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 Emma Seppala says that it’s because collectively, we’re falling for outdated ideas about success.More

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

Elizabeth Feinler, Radia Perlman, and Stacy Horn.

You know the Apple origin story with the two Steves in the garage. You know the Facebook origin story with Mark Zuckerberg in his dorm. But journalist Claire Evans argues, if you want to tell the internet origin story, you have to talk about women.More

The Schlitz Bottling Floor, c. 1666.

Milwaukee has a reputation as America's "Brew City." But why? Historian Ben Barbera lays out the economic forces and acts of God that built the houses of Miller, Pabst and Schlitz.More

Claudia Rankine

In her book "Citizen: An American Lyric," poet Claudia Rankine challenges readers to explore their underlying assumptions about race. She tells Charles Monroe-Kane what compelled her to write the book, and about visiting Ferguson, Missouri.More

Flint corn

Botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer says there is a reason so many around the world consider corn to be sacred. We give it life, and in return, it gives us life. She says the industrial-scale farming of America has lost control of that balance.More

jefferson

For years it was rumored that Thomas Jefferson had a sexual relationship with Sally Hemings. Then legal historian Annette Gordon-Reed proved it. She tells the complicated story of the Jefferson-Hemings relationship.More

Half brothers Robert Lafayette Gee (right) and Henderson Gee (left)

Rev. Alex Gee is fascinated by genealogy. So he took a DNA test and discovered one of his ancestors was a white slave owner. Then he went down to New Orleans to meet his white relatives — and that meeting sparked a slew of complicated emotions.More

a son of Thomas Jefferson and his slave, Sally Hemings, is buried in a local cemetery.

Steve Paulson was surprised to discover that a son of Thomas Jefferson and his slave, Sally Hemings, is buried in a local cemetery. With the help of Erin Hoag of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, he searches for the grave of Eston Hemings Jefferson.More

Person at the Institute for American Indian Arts.

A wide range of writers — now celebrated with commercial and critical success — work to celebrate an evolving literary canon without limiting it. More

A powwow in 2015 at the Institute for American Indian Arts.

Tommy Orange's debut novel “There There” was one of the big breakout books of 2018. He told Steve that with his novel, he hoped to better represent modern Native Americans that have grown up living in cities.More

Anne Strainchamps and Lisa Diamond

Psychologist Lisa Diamond offers a radical new understanding of sexual orientation, arguing that it’s much more fluid than previously believed.More

Lydia Hester

Lydia Hester is 17. A junior in high school with a pile of AP classes. And she has a nearly full-time job as an activist. She does all that, and she’s not even old enough to vote. And yes, that really bugs her.More

Deray Mckesson

Organizer and activist DeRay Mckesson says hoping for big change is great, but it doesn't go anywhere without small actions where people take care of one another.More

Man along an unnamed road in Obafemi Owode, Nigeria.

Chigozie Obioma grew up in Nigeria — he’s a novelist and teaches at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. He says that despite rampant corruption, poverty, and an HIV/AIDS crisis, Nigerians are definitely more optimistic than most. He explains why.More

Throughout history, we've been surrounded by substances that seemed benign and innocent in our food, in our gardens, in our medicine cabinets — until we realized they could be slowly killing us.More

Vaccine vial

Married couple Ilan Kedan and Christina Lombardi work at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, and they each decided to participate in two separate medical trials for COVID-19 vaccines.More

Pages