Politics and History

A US passport.

Countries around the world pour money into policing their borders — with walls real or virtual — while a global black market smuggles people across them for money. Artist Molly Crabapple imagines another way.More

Mariela Shaker

In 2013, violinist Mariela Shaker escaped the Syrian Civil War and relocated to the US, moving from Aleppo, a city of 2 million, to a small Illinois town of less than 10,000.More

EU flags

Financial Times columnist Wolfgang Munchau on the political realities of mass migration in Europe, and what it might mean for the future of the European Union.More

A globe with political boundaries

"To The Best Of Our Knowledge" talked to artist Molly Crabapple, economist Bryan Caplan and global strategist Parag Khanna about the differing ways they came to the same conclusion: that borders have become an outdated concept.More

Kevin Goodan with all his brothers and step-father this summer.

Do you have to be Native American to write Native American fiction? Kevin Goodan grew up among the Salish people. His brothers and stepfather are tribal members. But Kevin is white.More

A serious backbar

Prohibition gave us speakeasies, jazz clubs and bathtub gin. But a new revisionist history uncovers a more disturbing legacy: campaigns against immigrants, the War on Drugs, and the rise of America's "incarceration nation," says historian Lisa McGirr.More

Tie

Anthropologist Ilana Gershon argues that if you want to have a successful career in the US today, you have to be a job quitter.More

deray on Twitter

Maybe you can do without social media, if your life is already pretty comfortable. But you know what? Some people can't wait for something better to come along. They need social media today. Like organizer DeRay Mckesson.More

Ways to help Jay

In 2015, Jay Costello was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a treatable but incurable blood cancer. His family couldn't handle it alone, so his daughter Megan started asking for help online, fundraising via a GoFundMe page. More

Wheelchair

Writer Haddayr Copley-Woods says she's been trying to figure out how to deal with unsolicited help since she was first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. For the helpers, it’s a nice thing to do. For her, it’s patronizing.More

gift giving

Is it actually possible to give a truly selfless gift? Anthropologist David Graeber says it's not only impossible, the entire concept of a "free gift" is a capitalist construct shaped by impersonal market economies.More

earth

Historian Iain McCalman’s Dangerous Idea? The Anthropocene — the idea that humans have fundamentally changed our global climate. It’s scary, but we’re also seeing people come together in unprecedented ways to solve planetary problems.More

Mind/body

Remember debating the mind-body duality in college? You probably argued the meaning of Descartes’ adage “I think, therefore I am” in your dorm. Maybe you even delved into the idea of what is consciousness. But for Lauren Slater, author of “Prozac Diary,” the mind-body argument isn’t just a debate or an intellectual pursuit.More

Doors across borders.

The Pakistani novelist Mohsin Hamid sets his newest novel, "Exit West," in a world of permanent mass migration, in a city ripped apart by civil war. He told Steve Paulson he modeled it on his own city — Lahore, Pakistan.More

Lady Liberty

Historian Carol Anderson walks us through the timeline of truly free and fair elections in the United States, a period she says lasted from the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 until a fateful Supreme Court decision in 2013.More

Voting Day

Could we make our elections more secure, more inclusive, or just more fun? Depends on who you ask, and we asked a lot of people.More

Guy under stress

According to one estimate there may be as many as 50 million workers in the on demand economy, and they're not all Uber drivers or freelancers. Economist Guy Standing has a word for this new and very insecure economic class: "the precariat."More

Robot boy

Alexander Weinstein’s “Children of the New World” is a collection of cautionary tales about extreme emotional attachment to software and silicon.  More

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