Politics and History

gathering for food

Staff meetings, family reunions, dinner parties — even with all the digital ways we have to connect, face-to-face gatherings are still a regular part of our lives. Priya Parker thinks we need new traditions to make those gatherings meaningful.More

Kenyan landscape

Kenyan literary scholar James Ogude believes ubuntu — a concept in which your sense of self is shaped by your relationships with other people — might serve as a counterweight to the rampant individualism that’s so pervasive in the contemporary world.More

How does it work out over time for people who have made the transition to a new gender? Steve Paulson reached out to a transgender man — Benn Marine — to hear his experience.More

Wendy Kline says the history of birth in America is the story of the medical establishment’s deliberate suppression of midwives. For her as for most mothers, it’s a story that’s political and personal.  More

Half brothers Robert Lafayette Gee (right) and Henderson Gee (left). Robert was Ruben Gee‘s first child to his white wife, Aurelia. Henderson was his second child to his slave, Venus. Henderson was born a slave.

Rev. Alex Gee is fascinated by geneology. 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

Students testing their DNA

What's it like to discover that your own genetic ancestry is both black and white? At West Chester University in Pennsylvania, Anita Foeman leads the DNA Discussion Project, where students use DNA testing to learn about their mixed bloodlines.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 abroadMore

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

Illustration By George Wylesol (AFAR Magazine)

Unless you walk or bike to your next vacation destination, you’ll probably have to burn some fossil fuels to get there. Blogger Kathryn Kellogg is a guru of zero-waste living. She has a few tips on how to reduce your impact on the environment when you travel. More

A cruise ship in Norway

Journalist Elizabeth Becker, the author of "Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism," breaks down how we got to this moment in global tourism, and how we might nudge nations, companies and ourselves to become more responsible travelers.More

Traveling in Canada

Barry Lopez is an anthropologically-minded travel writer with deep interests in environmentalism and human nature. "To the Best of Our Knowledge" executive producer Steve Paulson asked Lopez why he travels, and how he writes about the people he encounters.More

Fighter jets

From the European Union to the United States, analysts have claimed that the Western world is seeing a resurgence of populism. Dutch philosopher Rob Riemen disagrees though, he says it's time to call the problem what it is: fascism.More

Benito Mussolini, during the march on Rome, with some of the quadriumviri: from left Emilio De Bono, Italo Balbo and Cesare Maria De Vecchi.

A new museum of fascism is scheduled to open in Predappio, Italy—the birthplace of Benito Mussolini. The town is already a pilgrimage site for neo-Fascist groups. Journalist Ilaria Maria Sala says the Mussolini museum has sparked controversy.More

gas station

Can you hear racism and intolerance? Jennifer Stoever can when she listens to the “sonic color line” — a way to hear racial division, how it’s reinforced and maintained, by whom and why, and at what cost. 
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Conceptually, hope feels big, amorphous, hard to define exactly. But for the past few months, "To The Best Of Our Knowledge" producers have been trying anyway. Scientists, activists, futurists, theologians, artists, authors all weighed in on what they think when they hear the word "hope."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

Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker presents a Dangerous Idea: things today are actually better than they've ever been.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

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