Politics and History

Jet Lag

Christopher J. Lee says jet lag has become more than a temporarily scrambled body clock. It’s become a way of life.More

Mondays, powered by coffee

Why does it seem like we always head into Monday feeling let down? Journalist Katrina Onstad explains how we ruined the weekend, and how to get it back.
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Jukebox hero

In 1985, The New Yorker writer Susan Orlean started traveling around the country to find out how Americans spend their Saturday nights. One thing she discovered? How many Saturday night songs there are.
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Still in bed

People in every century, every age have complained about feeling exhausted. What’s changed over time are the explanations. Cultural historian Anna Katharina Schaffner lays them out in her new history of exhaustion, "Exhaustion: A History."More

Scythians at the Tomb of Ovid c.1640 (CC0)

When Donna Zuckerberg noticed references to classical writers popping up on neo-Nazi and white supremacist websites, she decided to investigate. Why are they so invested in the classics?More

The parthenon

As a French-Tunisian Muslim and political scientist, Nadia Marzouki has come to believe that Americans are actually ambivalent about some of our own sacred values - like freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Even democracy.More

American economist James Buchanan won the 1986 Nobel Prize in Economics.

Historian Nancy Maclean wanted to know where the billionaire Koch brothers got their libertarian ideas, and she found that the economist James Buchanan was a huge influence. She says most people don’t realize just how disruptive these ideas are.More

Black Lives Matter is just one movement whose online presence took root among black Twitter users.

One person’s bubble can be another person’s safe space — a place where you don’t have to pretend and where you can feel supported and understood. For many black Americans, that place is Twitter. Media scholar Meredith Clark explains why.More

A house in Savannah, Georgia — one of America's most haunted cities.

The Sorrel-Weed House has been called the “most haunted house” in Savannah, Georgia, and its “ghost tour” is a big tourist attraction. But historian Tiya Miles found another story of slavery and racial stereotypes buried in this history.More

"Phenomena: The Secret History of the U.S. Government's Investigations into Extrasensory Perception and Psychokinesis" book cover

Joe McMoneagle was a "remote viewer" for the U.S. military. Using ESP — or was it a clever magic trick? — he identified the Soviet's secret Shark submarine. McMoneagle and journalist Annie Jacobsen recount this history of government psychics.More

Tea Party Flag

Brendan Steinhauser was watching Rick Santelli on Squawk Box, listening to the CNBC editor’s now-legendary rant following the 2009 bailout of the financial sector that ended with his call for a “Chicago Tea Party” outside of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Steinhauser thought it sounded like a good idea.More

Angry person

Psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett runs a lab where she studies emotions and says that if you pay attention, everyday anger can be a source of wisdom.More

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Writer Pankaj Mishra traces the roots of contemporary political rage back to a surprising source: the 18th century Enlightenment.  More

Boy screaming

Could we, as a nation, be addicted to anger? That’s what science fiction writer and astrophysicist David Brin thinks. In fact, he wrote an open letter to addiction researchers and psychologists, asking them to investigate America’s epidemic of self-righteous indignation.More

Black Lives Matter sign

Anger can separate us into partisan camps, but it can also inspire people to work together to achieve amazing things. Michael Eric Dyson knows this firsthand.More

"Prayers for the Stolen" by Jennifer Clement

The recipient of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature recommends Jennifer Clement's novel about teenage girls surviving the violence of cartel-controlled Mexican border villages in "Prayers for the Stolen."More

John Carlos, Tommie Smith, and Peter Norman at the 1968 Olympic games.

Before "taking a knee," there was the fist. More

Lone tree

Laird Hunt has written what is really three stories wrapped around each other: A famous lynching in Marion, the story of a song about it, “Strange Fruit,” and a new novel, which begins on that terrible day. More

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