Plant of the Month: Yerba Mate
The biological and cultural profile of mate has affected its global expansion, unlike other plants native to the Americas, such as cacao and maize.
Scientific Seances in Twentieth-Century Iran
Spiritism appealed to Iranian intellectuals who sought to reconcile their commitment to science with their pursuit of moral reform.
Dogs, the Four-Legged Crime-Fighters of Paris
Now a familiar part of policing, the partnership between canines and cops developed in an unpredictable fashion.
The Cosmopolitan Culture of the Gullah/Geechees
Emphasizing the isolation enforced by Lowcountry geography erases the agency of Gullah/Geechee communities in the preservation of African culture.
Stamp Collecting as Metaphor for the Free Market
The hobby was originally pursued by middle-class women and children. But its resemblance to capitalist values made it attractive to men.
When Monks Went Undercover to Steal Relics
Because relics were understood to be capable of working miracles, any relic that was stolen must have wanted to be.
Quiet Struggle Means Resistance without Protest
A lone resister is easy to take down, but there is safety in numbers, in conspiracies of silence, in refusals to testify against one's neighbors.
Meet the Man Behind the Peony
In China, gramophone and camera in tow, botanist and explorer Joseph Rock collected seeds from the tree peony that bears his name.
Fifty Shades of Affective Labor for Capital
Fifty Shades of Grey sells an absurd fantasy version of a romantic relationship—as between man and woman, so between capitalism and female workers.
How the American Civil War Shaped Marxism
Although Karl Marx never saw the U.S., he thought long and hard about how it fit into his theory, especially during the Civil War.