Social Science

A Black Christian Experience

Willie James Jennings— Mary, my mother, taught me to respect the dirt. Like many black women from the South, she knew the earth like she knew her own soul. I came along late. I was the last of her eleven children, born not of the South but of the North,

Continue reading…

Ten Minute Guided Meditation with Stephen Batchelor

Stephen Batchelor is a teacher and scholar of Buddhism. He is the author of numerous works, including Buddhism without Beliefs, Living with the Devil, Confession of a Buddhist Atheist, Secular Buddhism, and After Buddhism. Read More from Stephen Batchelor The Art of Solitude In a time of social distancing and isolation, a meditation on

Continue reading…

The History of Racism in Ferguson

Mustafa Dikeç— The Department of Justice (DoJ) report following the investigation of Ferguson police department and municipal court was categorical: ‘Ferguson’s law enforcement practices are shaped by the City’s focus on revenue rather than by public safety needs.’ This emphasis on revenue generation led to unconstitutional policing and irregular practices

Continue reading…

Tootle the Engine and Character Formation

David Riesman with Nathan Glazer and Reuel Denney— Tootle the Engine (text by Gertrude Crampton, pictures by Tibor Gergely) is a popular and in many ways charming volume in the “Little Golden Books” series. It is a cautionary tale even though it appears to be simply one of the many

Continue reading…

Land Tenure and Inequality

James C. Scott— A hypothetical case of customary land tenure practices may help demonstrate how difficult it is to assimilate such practices to the barebones schema of a modern cadastral map. The patterns I will describe are an amalgam of practices I have encountered in the literature of or in

Continue reading…

Books on the History of Race Relations

We have all heard the news, read the stories, watched the footage—America has reached a crossroads on racial injustice. The path forward may be challenging, but as a contributor to the global understanding of human affairs, we hope our books will help inform the public consciousness and promote tolerance for

Continue reading…

A Matter of Dignity

Donna Hicks— Like so many of us, I am deeply saddened and outraged by the brutal killing of George Floyd by members of the Minneapolis police. The jaw dropping video showing the fatal actions of Derek Chauvin, while George pleaded for his life, were beyond comprehension. What happened to Derek

Continue reading…

The Moment of Parallel Emancipations in Jamaica

Stanley Mirvis— Thirteen years ago, Yale’s Center for British Art, in collaboration with the Institute of Jamaica Museum, commemorated the bicentennial of the abolition of the slave trade with an exhibition focused on the 1834 emancipation of slaves. The exhibit centered on the work of the Jamaican artist Isaac Mendes

Continue reading…

Fake News, Then and Now

Tracy Campbell— In his first fireside chat after Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt urged Americans “to reject all rumors,” noting that “these ugly little hints of complete disaster fly thick and fast in wartime.” By summer 1942, FDR knew that executive admonishments had failed to curb the avalanche of false information

Continue reading…

Infants and Language Learning

Marek Kohn— Amnesia inclines us to assume that entry into language is painless, as does the apparent ease with which children typically become speakers. But many if not most skills require struggle to acquire, even if they seem effortless once mastered. We take language to be one of the most

Continue reading…