Politics and History

A splintering world.

All over the world, nation states are splintering. Separatism is on the rise. What causes nation states to erode? And what happens when they do?

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.

an aging world structure

The future feels unpredictable in so many places today. If you look around the world right now, seems like everyone wants their own independent nation. Are the old nation-states...toast? That’s what John Feffer worries about.

Catalons

Catalans have a different language, flag and anthem from Spain. Some in the region are fighting for independence. Catalonia is a nation divided in cultural identity, but should it separate from Spain?

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.

General Sherman, AKA Karl Marx

There's a famous sequoia named General Sherman that's the biggest tree on the planet. It has its own distinctive history linked to the Civil War general and a radical anarchist group. Cultural historian Daegan Miller tells this fascinating story.

Margery Kempe was one of the world's most famous Christian mystics — a medieval pilgrim with a penchant for uncontrollable sobbing. 

water

WisContext — a reporting collaboration between Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television and the University of Wisconsin's Cooperative Extension —has done some exceptional reporting on water rights and the economics of water diversion in our home state of Wisconsin. We're sharing some of it here.

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