Politics and History

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

trumpet

Political repression and censorship forced a generation of Black jazz musicians out of South Africa and into clubs in Europe and the US. But jazz critic Gwen Ansell says some musicians remained, and they left a legacy of unforgettable music.More

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"Just Mercy" author Bryan Stevenson believes in creating incentives to reduce the country's prison population.More

Demonstrators protest police brutality at a June 2 event in front of the White House.

At the heart of many Americans' fear of Black men is an ugly stereotype — the stereotype of the Black criminal. Historian Khalil Gibran Muhammad traces some of our current attitudes about race and crime to the late 19th century, when sociologists first began looking at crime statistics.More

Malcolm Gladwell

The narrative that police brutality is a question of a few "bad apples" is precisely the wrong way to think about police brutality, says journalist Malcolm Gladwell. More

Malcolm Gladwell

Journalist Malcolm Gladwell is famous for mining behavioral science for his work, and when it comes to better understanding the intersection of crime, violence, and policing, he turns over and over to criminologist Frank Zimring.More

Empty prison

Scholar and activist Ruth Wilson Gilmore says when you put mass incarceration in a larger context, it's pretty clear — you don't solve a problem by repeating the kind of behavior that brought you the problem in the first place.More

Women Who Rule

It's common in literary and historical accounts of powerful women to make them out to be villains — witches, demons, succubi, changelings — or erase them entirely. Historian Kara Cooney, author Madeline Miller, Religious scholar Serenity Young, and classics scholar Emily Wilson talk about why that might be.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

In 2010, then-LAPD Chief William Bratton asked civil rights attorney Connie Rice to investigate the biggest police corruption scandal in Los Angeles history, and to train 50 LAPD officers in what she calls "public trust policing."More

The high profile deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner have raised all sorts of questions about racial profiling and the use of force by law enforcement. For writer Emily Bazelon, the debate has also raised an ethical question: When do you call the cops on an African American man?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

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

a view of the Manhattan skyline from the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens.

One of the greatest walkers of our time, William Helmreich — known for exploring every street in New York City — was an early casualty of COVID-19. But composer David Rothenberg got to walk with him one last time, around wetlands in Queens.More

Famed novelist Kazuo Ishiguro recommends “Prayers for the Stolen,” by Jennifer Clement —a harrowing tale about young children who are abducted in the midst of Mexican drug wars.More

Singer/songwriter Tori Amos tells Steve Paulson that her new album, "The Beekeeper," is all about reclaiming representatives of the sacred feminine tradition who weren't afraid of their own sexuality.More

Stanley Crouch

Cultural critic Stanley Crouch tells Steve Paulson that Americans have some pretty messed up ideas about what it means to be authentic.More

flower

Tucker Malarkey has written a novel called "Resurrection" about the discovery of the Gnostic Gospels in Egypt in 1945.More

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