Social Science

Message to Democrats: Please Focus on Jobs and Wages

Isabel Sawhill— The midterm elections are over, and the Democrats have taken back the House. They now need an agenda that signals to the electorate what they are for, not just what they are against. It’s unlikely that much will get done between now and 2020, but if the next

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The Prosperous Brain

Kelly Lambert, Ph.D.— Although scholars have debated the exact meaning of Thomas Jefferson’s reference to the pursuit of happiness in the Declaration of Independence, the phrase can be traced to seventeenth-century philosopher John Locke’s “life, liberty, and property” philosophical trinity and his declaration that the pursuit of happiness was our

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The Origin of Empathy

Susan Lanzoni— Is it possible to empathize with lines in an abstract design, with the expansive reach of a tree, the sweep of a bird’s flight, or the imposing rise of a range of mountains? Can we “feel into” forms and shapes? If today we know empathy as a way

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The Art of Anime

Susan Napier— Who’s the good guy? Who’s the bad guy? Why isn’t there more dialogue?  It seems kind of slow. Why are their eyes so big? Shouldn’t the music be more Japanese-y? Hey, did I just see the hero die? These are the kind of questions I’ve gotten in the

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The Boasian Circle: Intellectual Kinship and Racial Privilege

Ned Blackhawk and Isaiah Lorado Wilner— The circle of scholars, authors, and intellectuals who shaped, and were shaped by, the anthropologist Franz Boas is wide and varied. Indeed, the intellectual legacies of this “Boasian Circle” cross disciplines, national boundaries, and hemispheres. Boas and his intellectual network provide a lens to

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We Are Not Our Parents’ Parent

Jody Gastfriend— I often refer to my 89-year-old mother as the Energizer Bunny.  She’s always on the go and is good at recharging her reservoir of energy. While her walking is limited, my mom still drives and enjoys running errands. On a recent trip to the supermarket, my mother encountered

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Color Codes

David Scott Kastan— Up until the eighteenth century, Asian people appeared white to European eyes. Sometime early in 1515, a Portuguese merchant named Tomé Pires sent a detailed account of his three years of Asian travel to King Manuel I and described the people he met there as “white, just

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No Wakanda for Us

Ruma Chopra— Maroons were tiny communities of escaped slaves who held an in-between status in many New World slave societies, somewhere between freedom and captivity. They avoided the brutality of slavery but confronted the abuses that came from being black in a white society. During the 1790s, a community of

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The Rural Race to Arms

Loka Ashwood— Rural Americans do, indeed, have more guns than their urban counterparts. According to the General Social Survey, the highest rates of gun ownership can be found in the most rural areas of the southeast United States. In those wide-open fields and forests, rural residents—black and white—are more likely to

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Two Rocks in the Holy Land

Gabriel Said Reynolds— A traveler walking along the road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem could be forgiven for missing the ruins of the Kathisma Church. The ruins, found just past a gas station and just before the Greek Orthodox monastery of Mar Elias, are overgrown with weeds and strewn with rubble,

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