Social Science

The Context Of Meaning

Nick Chater— In an ever more mechanized world, and with science revealing the hidden processes of nature with ever more precision, the desire to reassert the value of the non-mechanical, the spiritual and the emotional can seem increasingly urgent. We humans struggle to find meaning in a world apparently governed

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White Supremacy and Privilege: Legacies of Slavery

Richard D. Brown— Everyone reading this enjoys privilege. Some possess athletic or intellectual gifts that set them apart; and those possessing sight, speech, hearing, and physical mobility are privileged. Those possessing the capacity to love and to be loved are privileged. Because these are not “man-made” social or cultural privileges,

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What Got Antivaxxers to Vax in New York City

Richard Robb— In fall 2018, measles returned to New York City. It was hardly surprising, given the alarmingly widespread resistance to vaccination. According to a recent survey, 2% of Americans believe vaccines are unsafe and ineffective and another 6% believe the side effects of vaccination outweigh the benefits. Many antivaxxers maintain

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Will They Swing the Thick Stick?

Martin Pugh— I spent 1969 to 1971 on Voluntary Service Overseas as a Lecturer in European History at the Aligarh Muslim University in India. It was an exciting time politically as Indira Gandhi, the prime minister, had entered her radical phase provoking much controversy within the Congress Party. She nationalized

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Racial Passing in America

Adele Logan Alexander— Over the years, the practice of “passing” for white has variously been considered wicked, cowardly, deceptive, essential, all or none of the above by much of the African American community. Certainly, it was and is controversial. In years, decades, and centuries past, a number of light-skinned African

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There Are No Non-Believers

Agustín Fuentes— We all believe. But we are not all religious. Belief is an evolved capacity that incorporates our neurobiology, our behavior, our cultures, our histories, our individual development and experiences. This enables humans to live in the here and now, in the moment, in the material world, and to

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The Gospel of Matthew: Within and Without Judaism

John Kampen— Matthew is usually regarded as the “most Jewish gospel” since it bears evidence of more direct and more informed interaction with texts, concepts, and institutions usually identified with Jewish life at the conclusion of the first century CE. While the noted connections have not always been well-informed by

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Understanding Literacy

Beth Barton Schweiger— The power of literacy’s hold on the modern imagination cannot easily be measured. One way to begin to comprehend it is to pose a question: who is against it? From local school boards to Capitol Hill to the United Nations General Assembly, the consensus that literacy empowers

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Why We Read

Azar Nafisi— Reading is like Alice running after that white rabbit, because she is curious; she wants to know more about a talking rabbit. She is prepared to take the risk and jump down that hole without knowing what she will find at the bottom of the well. This is

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Horse Thieves and the Bandit Tradition

Mark Galeotti— Periodic epidemics, crop failure and other disaster cannot compare with the harm that horse thieves bring to the countryside. The horse thief holds peasants in perpetual, uninterrupted fear. Georgy Breitman, 1901 The horse thief lived a violent, dangerous life, at risk from both the police and peasant lynch

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