Illustration of two people trying to communicate through tin-can phones with a disconnected string

How Media Stifles Deliberative Democracy

As outlets that welcome rational exchanges of ideas dwindle those that serve as echo chambers are exploding. What does that mean for free speech and the health of the US?
An unidentified neo-Nazi gives a speech from a podium under a 'White Power' banner in Lafayette Park surrounded by his followers who are, in turn, surrounded by police watching for trouble, Washington DC, July 3, 1973.

Is Racism a Disease?

Since the 1940s, mental health professionals have repeatedly debated the question of whether (some forms of) racism can be classified as a disease.
Virgin of Guadalupe, 1779

Abstinence By Juramentos

Long before Dry January became a thing, Mexicans were using a similar program of temporary abstinence based on a pledge to the Virgin of Guadalupe.
A street dog in Varanasi city, India

Our Most Popular Stories of 2022

Personality tests, street dogs, underwater treasures, and a natural history of dragons.
Ganesa writing the Mahabharat, dictated by Vyasa. Page from an illustrated manuscript of the Mahabharata

The South Asian Human Rights Tradition

Human rights discourse drawing on ancient Sanskrit texts focuses more on the responsibilities of individuals and states than on the rights themselves.
Anna te Drieën, 1528

Who Was Jesus’s Grandma?

Canonical scripture never mentions the parents of the Virgin Mary, but the body of St. Anne was vital to Christianity in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
A treasure chest in the woods

The Plight of the Hunter

Seeking buried treasure has long been an American pastime, but its the failure to find the gold that keeps the hunt—and the story—alive.
From the cover of Life Magazine, August 1925

A Cigarette-Eye View of US History

The big story for cigarettes in the twentieth century was their journey from popularity to pariah.
Seven-year-old Luz Clarisa Pacco shows huatia, potatoes cooked in a traditional Andean way in a whole on the ground on June 21, 2022 in Pisac, Peru.

Respecting the Potato

Cuzco’s Potato Park conserves biodiversity and strengthens food sovereignty, all while emphasizing respect for this important and charismatic crop.
Photograph: Anti-gay marriage protestors pray outside the Massachusetts State House March 11, 2004 in Boston, Massachusetts. 

Source: Michael Springer/Getty

What is Fundamentalism?

Fundamentalism, which shifts the balance between authority structures and the indescribable divine, emerged after medieval society gave way to the modern.