Politics and History

Mubin Shaikh

Self-described former jihadist Mubin Shaikh believes many terrorists are drawn to political violence for very rational reasons. He recounts his journey into, and out of, extremism.More

mosque

For his book “The Sultan and the Queen,” Jerry Brotton has uncovered a history that goes against everything we’ve been told about the relationship between Islam and the West.More

Greek columns

We sat down with conservative intellectual Victor Davis Hanson, classics scholar Donna Zuckerberg, and French-Tunisian political scientist Nadia Marzouki to talk about President Trump’s speech, and try to unpack the question at the center of the president's speech: Is the survival of the West the fundamental question of our time?More

cover of "The Negro Travelers' Green Book"

Lawrence Ross delved into the "Green Book," a 1957 handbook to help black motorists find safe stops along the highway, and used it to shape a contemporary road trip that celebrated black history, culture, and business.More

Big trucks

Finn Murphy talks about his career as a long-haul driver who moves people's possessions across the country.More

Manal al-Sharif

Manal al-Sharif on how the most transgressive thing a Saudi woman could do was learn to drive.More

Michael Twitty

Michael Twitty can trace his family’s food history back to the slave cabins and Antebellum kitchens of the South. Honoring his diasporic heritage — he’s both black and Jewish — lead Twitty to the practice of identity cooking. He calls it Kosher/Soul.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

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

Adam and Eve

We decided to trace Western culture's fixation on guilt back to one of its earliest origins — the story of Adam and Eve. It's only a page and a half in the Bible, but literary historian Stephen Greenblatt told Steve Paulson why it has been so influential.More

guilt for smoking

A lot of people feel guilty about something - diet, money, relationships or something else. Our host Anne Strainchamps and writer Devorah Baum definitely do. So we asked them to sit down to talk about how we wound up about in a giant cultural guilt trip.More

Let’s remember that it wasn’t that long ago that liberals and conservatives were often friends. Jeanne Safer and Richard Brookhiser met during the good old days of American politics. She’s a lifelong liberal; he’s a senior editor for the conservative National Review. They’ve been happily married for more than 35 years.More

Awash in a sea of Trumpian conservativism

Charlie Sykes spent more than two decades hosting a popular conservative talk-radio show, railing against Obama and pushing Paul Ryan and Scott Walker onto the national stage. Today, he’s a Trump critic who's disillusioned with the Republican Party.More

Ken Stern

Ken Stern has lived and worked in a liberal bubble for most of his life, including his ten years as the CEO of NPR. Then, Ken decided to get out of his liberal bubble into Red America, where he found that he agreed with a lot of what he heard.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

Women Who Rule

If our cultural and political history is a guide, women in power make us uncomfortable. We deal with that discomfort in one of two ways: making powerful women out to be villains — witches, demons, succubi, changelings — or erasing them entirely.More

USA Trilogy

Kim Stanley Robinson recommends "The Greatest Story of the 1920's That We Have: The U.S.A. Trilogy" by John Dos Passos.More

Hatshepsut statue, partially defaced

For centuries, even the memory of Hatshepsut was erased. By the men who followed her. Now, Egyptologist Kara Cooney has written about the great Egyptian queen — a woman who should have become legend — as well as the many other women who ruled ancient Egypt.More

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