JSTOR Daily published around 700 stories in 2019—that’s a lot for our small staff. Here are the greatest hits: our personal favorites and yours. As always, each of these stories includes free, open links to relevant scholarship in JSTOR. Happy New Year!


A person holding a newspaper on fire

How Language and Climate Connect

While we’re losing biological diversity, we’re also losing linguistic and cultural diversity at the same time. This is no coincidence.
Charlotte Bronte

Sorry, but Jane Eyre Isn’t the Romance You Want It to Be

Charlotte Brontë, a woman whose life was steeped in stifled near-romance, refused to write love as ruly, predictable, or safe.
A basilisk with a beam of light extending from its eye

The Extremely Real Science behind the Basilisk’s Lethal Gaze

According to the extramission theory of vision, our eyes send out beams of elemental fire that spread, nerve like, to create the visual field.
An illustration of hands around a ballot box

Enfranchisement Is the Only Route to Security

In our final security studies column, our columnist posits that security as a permanent mode of government is actually making Americans less secure.
Whitman at about fifty

Should Walt Whitman Be #Cancelled?

Black America talks back to "The Good Gray Poet" at 200.
Empress Joséphine holding a Jacquemus Mini Le Chiquito handbag

A Mini History of the Tiny Purse

The purse has always been political, a reflection of changing economic realities and gender roles.
King (Kabaka) Mwanga from Buganda (1868-1903)

Anthropologists Hid African Same-Sex Relationships

Sex between people of the same gender has existed for millennia. But anthropologists in sub-Saharan Africa often ignored or distorted those relationships.
Source: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Richard Prum: How Does Beauty Evolve?

Prum speaks on Darwin’s idea of sexual selection, the importance of arbitrary traits, and why he could never choose a favorite species of bird.
An elderly man typing on a laptop

To Fight Fake News, Broaden Your Social Circle

Fake news is spread through online communities that become echo-chambers of like-minded ideas. What's your online community like?
An illustration from the cover of Grendel by John Gardner

The Question of Race in Beowulf

J.R.R. Tolkien’s seminal scholarship on Beowulf centers a white male gaze. Toni Morrison focused on Grendel and his mother as raced and marginal figures.

The Tweety Bird Test

How a classic Tweety Bird cartoon became a mainstay in linguistics research.
Someone standing in the room of a hoarder

What’s Causing the Rise of Hoarding Disorder?

Now that the DSM lists severe hoarding as a disorder apart from OCD, psychologists are asking what explains its prevalence.
A stack of books by Virginia Woolf

Was Modernism Meant to Keep the Working Classes Out?

In the 19th century, more working class readers started partaking in contemporary fiction. Modernist literature, however, was specifically not for them.
Honeybee Apis mellifera

Are Honey Bees Bad for Wild Bees?

Recently, the health of the honey bees has been a topic of some concern. But many scientists think we should actually be worrying about wild bees instead.
Student with practice baby at Cornell University

When Home Ec Classes Borrowed Babies

In the early-to-mid 20th century, foster children in Canada and elsewhere were placed in practice homes and cared for by home economics students.
The Native American village of Secoton

Yes, Americans Owned Land Before Columbus

What you were taught in elementary school about Native Americans not owning land is a myth. The truth is much more complicated.
A physician wearing a seventeenth century plague preventive costume

How the Plague Reshaped the World

The bacterium that causes the plague emerged relatively recently, as bacterium go. And yet the pandemics it's created have altered the world.
A headstone featuring clasped hands

The Cemetery Symbol of Eternal Love

Why did Victorian-era gravestones include so many images of clasped hands?
Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan in The Great Gatsby, 2013

What The Great Gatsby Reveals About The Jazz Age

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel embraced jazz, while also falling prey to the racist caricatures associated with it.
Illustration of a man lying on a couch

Workplace Burnout is Nothing New

Doctors were talking about the dangers of chronic stress, exhaustion, and anxiety back in 1909, predicting dire consequences if the symptoms were ignored.
Charles Drew sitting with medical residents at Freedmen's Hospital

The 1910 Report That Disadvantaged Minority Doctors

A century ago, the Flexner Report led to the closure of 75% of U.S. medical schools. It still explains a lot about today’s unequal access to healthcare.
A power button filled with green leaves in front of a dark background.

The 4 Questions to Ask before You Unplug

If you're concerned about the internet's effects on the world and on yourself, unplugging might not be the answer.
Meet John Doe

“Meet John Doe” Shows the Darkness of American Democracy

Meet John Doe, Frank Capra’s 1941 drama, carries forward the populist themes of his other movies, only with a much darker premise.
Robotic Arm Holding Blue Felt Tip Pen

Can Artificial Intelligence Be Creative?

Machines can write compelling ad copy and solve complex "real life" problems. Should the creative class be worried?
Tarantella dancers, 1828

When Dancing Plagues Struck Medieval Europe

The tarantella is named for a peasant woman from southern Italy whose tarantula bite started a contagious dancing fever!
John Tyndall's setup for measuring radiant heat absorption by gases

How 19th Century Scientists Predicted Global Warming

Today’s headlines make climate change seem like a recent discovery. But Eunice Newton Foote and others have been piecing it together for centuries.
Satan's fall from heaven, into the logo for Chapo Trap House.

Satan, the Radical

There is a long history of leftist thinkers embracing Satan, usually just as a way to shake up political rhetoric.

What are your favorites? Head over to our Facebook page and let us know! Or have a look at last year’s list.


AMAZING list, right? If you love us as much as we love our writers, please become a member on our Patreon page.

Print