Politics and History

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

desks

Young people seem to be feeling the pressure to be perfect more than anyone else. Social psychologist Tom Curran tells us how neoliberalism and the digital age created a generation that feels guilty about falling short of flawlessness.More

prison

Feeling regret about committing a crime matters in criminal sentencing. But if emotion isn't supposed to have a place in the law, should it matter? Susan Bandes tells us how judges and juries evaluate remorse, and why.More

Antigone

Writer, classicist, and stand-up comic Natalie Haynes makes a strong case for reading ancient Greek and Roman literature in the modern age.More

A house in Savannah, Georgia — one of America's most haunted cities.

The Sorrel-Weed House has been called the “most haunted house” in Savannah, Georgia, and its “ghost tour” is a big tourist attraction. But historian Tiya Miles found another story of slavery and racial stereotypes buried in this history.More

president ghost

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

Vaccine tubes

In her book "On Immunity," social critic Eula Biss explores the metaphors and myths hidden within the current vaccine debate.More

Avery Trufelman

Avery Trufelman hosts "Articles of Interest," a six-part podcast from "99 Percent Invisible" about some iconic items of clothing — from blue jeans to Hawaiian shirts to pockets. Anne wanted to know how that work connects to what she wears every day.More

people

Social scientists are finding that generating happiness in your life may have less to do with an arbitrary number — like your bank account or how many Instagram followers you have — and more to do with how well you connect with the people around you.More

kisses

Kathryn Bond Stockton is an English professor and queer theorist and a self-professed lover of kissing. She wrote a whole book just to make out what kissing means in our lives.More

sunny protest

Lynne Segal, the British feminist icon, has a theory about happiness: it's both personal and political. She advocates radical happiness — finding joy in collective action.More

Twitterstorm

Journalist Alissa Quart thinks it's unfair when people's reputations are torn to shreds on Twitter for saying the wrong thing. She even wrote a poem about it.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

The Maraniss family in 1952, shortly after Elliott went before the House Un-American Activities Committee.

There’s a word that’s popping up a lot lately — McCarthyism. Are there really parallels today to the censorship that dominated America during that period? To find out, journalist and historian David Maraniss decided to dig up his own family history.More

blurred man

College campuses have long been hotbeds of political activity, fervent debate and occasionally violence stemming from a war of words, but today, in this era of call outs and cancel culture, there is a renewed and controversial argument over free speech playing out at universities and colleges around the country.More

College students on the left are demanding protection from words and ideas they consider harmful. Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt worries that the end result will be a generation that doesn’t know how to have real debates or constructive arguments.More

medieval knight

Medievalist Dorothy Kim argues that colleagues in her field need to speak out against hate speech being cloaked in iconography of the Middle Ages. An argument that has earned her harassment, hate, and violent threats from the self-described "alt-right."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

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