The Commodification of Self

Joseph E. Davis

The shaping and conditioning of our self-understanding by consumption is one form of the commodification of self. 

What Money Shouldn’t Buy

Michael J. Sandel

Is it true that there's nothing wrong with commodification that fair terms of social cooperation cannot cure?

Get a Life

Wendy Kaminer

Let’s identify the potential horror lurking in the proprietary relationships that some fans imagine they enjoy with celebrities.

Hoping, Willing, and Narrative Re-envisioning

Cheryl Mattingly

Hope is not a simple “denial” of reality, but something that is painstakingly cultivated. Part of the struggle for hope involves a shift of perception in light of changing circumstances.

French Secularism and the “Islamic Veil Affair”

Talal Asad

The ways in which the concept of “religion” operates in that culture as motive and as effect, how it mutates, what it affords and obstructs, what memories it shelters or excludes, are not eternally fixed. 

Making Sense of Cosmopolitanism

Joshua J. Yates

Cosmopolitanism commits you to a global conversation, or a set of global conversations, about the things that matter.

From the Editors

Joseph E. Davis and Jennifer L. Geddes

Thinking more deeply about how we can inhabit the public sphere with others.

The Meaning of Secularism

Charles Taylor

For the people to be sovereign, they need to form an entity and have a personality.

Rethinking Secularism

Craig Calhoun

The root notion of the secular is a contrast not to religion but to eternity.


Slavica Jakelić

A sourcebook of relevant titles on secularism.

Polarization and the Crisis of Legitimacy

James Davison Hunter

The nature and purposes of the family, education, science, faith, business, the media, and government itself are all disputed at a fundamental level.

The Myth of a Non-Polarized America

Carl Desportes Bowman

American differences are neither random nor ad hoc.

Non-Public Opinion

Jeffrey K. Olick and Andrew J. Perrin

The Frankfurt School scholars were motivated by their admiration for and their critique of American social science.

Agency Versus Autonomy

Matthew B. Crawford

We have too few occasions to do anything because of a certain pre-determination of things from afar.

How Not to Let a Crisis Go to Waste

Albert Borgmann

Good work breaks the spell of ever new toys.

Autonomy as Necessity, Agency as Compensation

Richard Stivers

Autonomy becomes necessity when efficiency is the universal measure.

Dimensions of Freedom

Gordon Marino

Increased choice equals increased freedom—or does it?

Crawford Responds

Matthew B. Crawford

There are certain kinds of work that thwart the logic of remote control.

The Ebb and Flow of Depression

David Healy

Depression’s prevalence can be attributed to the reduced importance of the notion of conflict.

Beyond Tocqueville’s Telescope

Arlie Hochschild and Sarah B. Garrett

To what degree have we turned away from the public sphere and the obligations it lays upon us? Has this happened across all realms of life, or more in some realms and less in others?

From the Editors

Joseph E. Davis and Jennifer L. Geddes

The rate of change, the kinds of change, and the scope of change taking place today are impossible to understand without also looking at the ways they are affecting societies and how we understand and experience ourselves and others.


Harvie Ferguson

We no longer experience a world, or sense ourselves as the subject of that experience; we are, rather, shrouded and carried along in the moodiness of the present.

From Inwardness to Intravidualism

Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn

The available terms for making better sense of the human predicament are plentiful, but most are currently buried beneath layers of exhausted soil.

The Shifting Experience of Self

Joseph E. Davis

We know very little about what we are doing, why we do it, or how we feel about it.

The Language Deficit

From the Editors

An Modern Language Association (MLA) study calling for curricular reform that addresses the need for increased language instruction and incorporates cultural and historical reflection. 

The Ghost of Kinsey Past

From the Editors

The Kinsey agenda remains alive as key justifications for counting up sexual acts.

Reflections on the Crisis in the Humanities

Richard Wolin

The civic and practical goals of humanistic learning are necessarily related to the project of human autonomy, for there can be no autonomy apart from the provisos and attributes of self-knowledge.


Richard Sennett

In a world filled with mobile people—economic immigrants and political exiles in particular—an old humanist ideal might help us to give shape to our lives.

Last Man or Overman?

Michael E. Zimmerman

If the clever human life form were to project its power in the form of technologically advanced, artificial offspring, would Nietzsche offer a principled objection, and if so, what would be its basis?

On Technology and Humanity

Daniel Doneson

The unscientific foundation of science and technology is in need of wisdom, practical and theoretical, about human ends.

The Social Meanings of Dignity at Work

Allison J. Pugh

Economies of dignity shape what people talk about and how people talk about others.

The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood

Daniel C. Johnson

Efforts to engage many emerging adults in serious moral reflection are met with bewilderment.

The Nagel Flap: Mind and Cosmos

John H. Zammito

The exasperated tone with which evolutionary scientists, philosophers of science, and others on the side of science and philosophy received Nagel’s book was struck early.

Moral Molecules, Modern Selves, and Our “Inner Tribe”

Lenny Moss

Like it or not, the basis of human culture has a great deal to do with the evolution of a socio-affective/social-cognitive infrastructure  that opens up an enormous arc of possibility.

Problems and Promises of the Self-Made Myth

Jim Cullen

The lack of focus on the self-made man in recent times is remarkable when one considers how intensely, and how long, it has functioned as a central trope of the American experience.

The Apocalyptic Strain in Popular Culture

Paul A. Cantor

Among their many meanings, zombies have come to symbolize the force of globalization.

The Gospel of the American Dream

Tony Tian-Ren Lin

The hope of reform and renewal, the conviction that things could get better, was crucial to the founding of this nation.

Martin Luther King and the American Dream

Joseph E. Davis

MLK’s American Dream always appealed to the value of equality.

The American Dream

Lawrence R. Samuel

The original definition of the American Dream was rooted in the democratic principles of both the Founding Fathers and nineteenth-century transcendentalists.

Happiness as an End in Itself

The Editors

Recent studies suggest that working on happiness may be counterproductive.

Turning Want into Wantology

John P. Hewitt

The marketplace has infiltrated intimate life and transformed the self.

How We Lost Our Attention

Matthew B. Crawford

This is a fertile time in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science for thinking about attention.

Recovering the Vernacular

Thomas Fitzgerald

Venues now available for many more competing voices, together with the multiplying perspectives of our times—hailed as liberating diversity—serve as dispensation to believe in anything, everything, or nothing.

Talking ’bout Their Generation

Charles Townshend

The aim is to re-examine the period up to the 1923 establishment of the Irish Free State in order to get beyond traditional approaches to understanding revolutionary change in terms of class or ideology.

Profiles in Humility

James K.A. Smith

Our moral educations should happen at dinner tables, in classrooms, on football fields, in synagogues and churches.

Adventures in Algy-Land

Charles Thaxton

A eulogy for book culture, a polemic against the online-content economy that has replaced it, and an international, interreligious romp.

Truth and Reconciliation

Frank Freeman

Taking the Socratic tradition to Palestine, Indonesia, New York’s Hasidic community, Brazil, and the Akwesasne Territory.

Unbinding a Nation

Johann N. Neem

The culture wars have led to a deep sense of loss for most normative Americans.

Uneasy in Digital Zion

Chad Wellmon and Julia Ticona

Confusion about our digital technologies and their use is not limited to the masters of Silicon Valley.

Putin, Ukraine, and the Question of Realism

John M. Owen IV and William Inboden

According to the realists, power is real, and all else is illusion.

Redeeming Narcissism

Eugene McCarraher

Conceding the pathological potential of narcissism, the book affirms that it can also be a “wellspring of human ambition and creativity, values and ideals, empathy and fellow feeling.

Asian Re-enchantment

Benjamin Schewel

How Chinese and Indian modernizers adopted and transformed modern Western notions of “spirituality” in order to criticize Western materialism.

Birth of the Foodie

Leann Davis Alspaugh

Herbert Hoover’s US Food Administration did more than simply change Americans’ eating habits.

The Witness of Literature

Alan Jacobs

To the arguments of Huxley and Tyndall against traditional religion, Yeats had no answer until literature and the other arts came to the rescue.

When Science Went Modern

Lorraine Daston

This was the nightmare of scientific progress: The truths of today would become the falsehoods—or at least the errors—of tomorrow.

Invisible Science

Steven Shapin

The invisibility of embedded science is an apparently paradoxical, but reliable, index of the significance of science for everyday life—for government, for commerce, and, not least, for our sense of self.

Temps, Consultants, and the Rise of the Precarious Economy

Louis Hyman

Since 1970, temporary labor has become part of the everyday fabric of work across all segments of society, from the bottom to the top.

Is There a Future for the Professions?

Howard Gardner

In the course of becoming a professional, a person is learning to fill a certain role in society.

The Self-Assembled Career

Carrie M. Lane

The solution to the unraveling of the social contract of employment may not be to prop up the ailing traditional job but, instead, to imagine what other forms work lives might take. 

On Frank Speech

Matthew B. Crawford

The role of frank speech in democratic culture is something worth considering, especially in light of the renewed ferment over political correctness.

A Distant Elite

Wilfred M. McClay

Rule by merit is, after all, no respecter of persons.

The Murderer’s Mother

John J. Lennon

Because of me, Alex will never realize his potential, never discover the man he might’ve been. I’m deeply sorry for that. And that’s the sort of existential shame I grapple with: Here I am, years later, sober and learning and writing and finding out who I can be, and yet Alex can never do any of those things. Because of me.

Monumental Woes

B.D. McClay

Symbols, like events, never float free from their context.

The Jefferson Brand

Timothy C. Jacobson

Between Jefferson’s profession of faith in the virtues of republican simplicity and the style of his own life the contradiction could hardly be greater.

Not Melting into Air

John M. Owen IV

Today the threat against liberalism is one of atrophy rather than violent death.

Southern Discomfort

James McWilliams

Resolved to reconcile the simultaneous horror and beauty of home, William Christenberry began the annual pilgrimages back south.

The Devil We Know

Elizabeth Bruenig

The devil was understood to be present and industrious, and America’s earliest forebears were quick to suss him out by his evil works.

Cosmopolitanism vs. Provincialism

Nancy Isenberg and Andrew Burstein

American politics thrives on exploiting confusion about real and perceived interests, whether those interests are tied to region or class, or both.

The Ideology of Anti-Ideology

Donald Dewey

We have harbored an ideology expressive of all-inclusiveness—one referred to with deceptive informality as the “American way of life.”

From the Editors

Jay Tolson

Great as they are, the challenges of the digital age are not only profoundly intellectual and conceptual.

Digital Metaphysics

Leif Weatherby

At the beginning of the digital revolution, there existed a speculative energy that we could use now. It was put at the service not of innovation or disruption but of maintenance and politics, of establishing categories to put our digital world on a better course.

The Inner Life of a Sinking Ship

Greg Jackson

I am concerned with the quality of our choices as choices, and I am interested in excavating from our behaviors and artifacts an archaeology of our emotional life in the hope that naming these feelings can help us begin to reclaim our choices as our own.

When Work and Meaning Part Ways

Jonathan Malesic

The fact is, work as we know it isn’t worth saving anyway.

After the Vernissage

Greg Jackson

The principal experience of the art I encountered, I found, was not the art itself, but the uncertainty and complexity of my own subjective response.

Seeing and Being Seen

Russell C. Bogue

Our political moment demands to see who we are—a beautiful and terrifying ordeal.

Good on Paper

Nan Z. Da

Books, reading, and literature cultivate “a way of being in time.”

A Gallery of Poems by Adam Zagajewski

Adam Zagajewski

Zagajewski’s poems call us to live more deeply, with both the ugliness and beauty of life, saying “but, just wait…there is more.”

The Shifting Experience of Self

Joseph E. Davis

Social and cultural change, from the rise of the “information economy” to changes in family life to the technological mediation of our relationships, is happening all around us.

Work and Dignity

Joseph E. Davis

Work is not just an economic matter. Beyond survival, a range of other human values and ideals are at stake.

Science and Moral Life

Joseph E. Davis

The successful marketing of the “new science of morality” suggests its considerable allure for the popular imagination.

The American Dream

Joseph E. Davis

How the American Dream—hope in the future—competes in these times with a pervasive pessimism.

Reality Made Me Do It

Martha Bayles

Is the whole world slouching toward a Panopticon of digitally enabled surveillance and control?

Trajectory of a Dream

S.D. Chrostowska

Why do dreams, aside from those that prove uncannily prophetic, not befit our biography?

Technology and Modern Friendship

Richard Hughes Gibson

The interplay of friendship and technology has been far longer-running than we think.

Hipster Elegies

Greg Jackson

The death and life of the great American hipster offers an alternative history of culture over the last quarter century.

Do Something!

Charlie Tyson

When it comes to doing nothing, style is everything

Homo Saecularis

Jay Tolson

Who is secular man, and why is he so unhappy?

Toward a Culinary Ethos for the Twenty-first Century

Rachel Laudan

Never has food been delivered in such abundance, so far, or so safely.

You Are What You (Don’t) Eat

James McWilliams

The personal diet has become not only a cult; it has become a political statement.

The Distance from Our Food

Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft

Distance can breed ignorance of the ecosystems and individual animal lives that feed us.

Body and Soul at Table

Wilfred M. McClay

Food is a strong proof of our animality; it is equally strong evidence of how we transcend it.

The King’s Two Bodies and the Crisis of Liberal Modernity

Isaac Ariail Reed

We are living through a vertigo in political culture.

The Art of Not Concluding

Becca Rothfeld

Can philosophy be worth doing?

Getting to the Root

Martyn Wendell Jones

Baring introduces a community of thinkers whose contributions have been obscured.

On Winter

Matt Dinan

It is hard to sustain the illusion that there is anything good about winter after the hundredth day or so.

The Soul in Itself

Nicholas Cannariato

Gustav Theodor Fechner’s soul neither defies naturalism nor depends on revelation.


Vanessa Place

If we really wanted to kill the monster, we would give it what it wants.

Inviting Evil In

Paul A. Cantor

We have met the monsters, and they are us.

Season of the Witch

Becca Rothfeld

Today’s witches are no longer experts in the “occult.” Instead, they rush to aid the downtrodden—and to publish their potion recipes in best-selling how-to guides.

Richard Nixon, Modular Man

Phil Christman

What to make of Richard Nixon?

Unbecoming American

Johann N. Neem

As a child, I thought that to be American was to believe in individuality, to support pluralism and equality, and to celebrate common holidays and eat common foods.

Je Regrette Tout

Jonathan Malesic

Moral growth doesn’t just mean looking to the future but reconciling past and present selfhood. It demands regret.

What Freud Got Right

Wilfred M. McClay

We might do a better job of living together if we believed that we are meant to do so.

After Cosmopolitanism

Stuart Whatley

Like globalist, cosmopolitan has become a freighted term.

Blood Sports

B.D. McClay

True crime is not quite about watching people die, but it does require an interest in the subject.

Unveiling Our New Modernity

Jonathan D. Teubner

We are coming to see our world as increasingly discontinuous with the twentieth century.

Quantifying Vitality

Jackson Lears

Statistics in the Progressive Era were more than mere signs of a managerial government’s early efforts to sort and categorize its citizens.

Schooling in the Age of Human Capital

Daniel Markovits

Metrics do not and, in fact, cannot measure any intelligible conception of excellence at all

To Have and To Hold

Becca Rothfeld

In the end, your collection always ends up collecting you.

Closing Time

Clare Coffey

We’re all counting bodies.

Mind the Gap

Matt Dinan

Modernity needs to be revealed to us, because it so successfully hides its true character, insulating itself against revision and correction.

O imitators, you slavish herd!

Christopher Sandford

In the event you needed any further bad news in this year of the coronavirus pandemic, you’ll find it in this piercing, distressing, and shaming account of our tendency to follow the herd.

Expletive Defeated

Wilfred M. McClay

We need more profanity? Aren’t we already being inundated with it?


Vincent Ercolano

If being sensible was no virtue to my father, being fantastic was just as bad.

Dissent and Solidarity

James Davison Hunter

King’s arguments for freedom and justice were not only constitutional but also profoundly ethical.

America, the Exceptional?

Steve Lagerfeld

Once attacked for rejecting American exceptionalism, liberals now are in almost sole possession of it.

Why I Am a Socialist

Sam Adler-Bell

It is the irreducibly human dimensions of the radical life that are to be most cherished, and most feared.

Whose Humanities?

Edward Tenner

The humanities may have suddenly mattered more than ever, but their support was also as fragile as it had been for decades.

Another Betrayal of the Intellectuals

Jonathan D. Teubner

A historian charts the evolution of her own center-right liberalism.

Demystifying Tech

Megan Marz

By suggesting that the constant resetting is all there is, disruption becomes “a theodicy of hypercapitalism,” a kind of “newness for people who are scared of genuine newness.”


B.D. McClay

Cancel ’s murkiness has made it a very useful word for pushing already contentious or delicate matters into the realm of total confusion.

Puritans’ Progress

Peter Skerry

What do we mean by culture? Don’t ask me, I’m a political scientist.

Straightness Studies

Phoebe Maltz Bovy

Straight women are not unusually boring. We are, however, coded.

“Peace” and the Organization Kid

Mike St. Thomas

Have we exchanged our desire for its objects?

The Strange Undeath of Middlebrow

Phil Christman

Everything that was once considered lowbrow is now triumphant.

Paul Valéry and the Mechanisms of Modern Tyranny

Nathaniel Rudavsky-Brody

All modern forms of government presume an objectification of their citizens.

Toward an Incarnational Aesthetic

Ashley C. Barnes

On locating the sublimity of art within the world and within history.

The Brass Ring

Jonathan B. Imber

Is credentialism “the last acceptable prejudice”?

There’s Nothing Normal about Normal

Noah J. Toly

On the surface, “normal” might seem harmless, charmingly self-deprecating, maybe even endearing.

Art and the Art of Living

Matthew Mutter

The disagreement between modernism and the contemporary discourse of “self-help” is not about whether literature has “therapeutic” capacities.

The Endless Pursuit of Better

Elizabeth Currid-Halkett

What is clear is that the great divisions in our country rest on our different systems of cultural capital.

Identity Tethering in an Age of Symbolic Politics

Mark Dunbar

The less politics effects change, the more politics will affect mood.

Capital Inequalities

Shamus Khan

We may well need to transcend the capital analogy.

Too Many Doctors in the House

Ronald W. Dworkin

The title of "doctor" is a very useful thing, provided you can make other people believe it is important.

Masks Off

Charlie Riggs

The pandemic-era “doctrine of masks” contained no playfulness or irony.

Authenticity in Fashion

Richard Thompson Ford

Concern with authenticity seems to be unique to societies marked by conspicuous racial or ethnic hierarchies.

Chasing Phillis Wheatley

Tara A. Bynum

Learning to read for the possibility or the certainty of laughter in the writings of Phillis Wheatley.

The Fake Book of Negroes

Gerald Early

Black Americans still embrace the exodus story as the defining trope of their collective experience.

How to Be Yourself

Joseph E. Davis

How is an alignment of the authentic self and the college admissions process possible?

My Identity Problem

Alan Shapiro

We used to want to assimilate into the mainstream. Now identity is front and center of what we want the world to know about us.

Another City

Charles Mathewes

Augustine is crucial to determining the continuity and dissimilarity between the Romans and ourselves.  

The Once and Vital Center

Antón Barba-Kay

The mythic bipartisan center was never a matter of niceness.

Small-Town USA

Phil Christman

A small town might well be angry; it is asked to do everything.

American Captivity

Ed Simon

The captivity narrative is the most American of genres, not just in fostering fear, paranoia, and violence but in contributing to the creation myth of a new variety of person: the American.

American Restlessness

Matt Dinan

Why precisely are the most fortunate of us the most restless? How can our private, individual restlessness explain our public, political sclerosis?

Awaiting a New Prophetic Dispensation

Ian Marcus Corbin

Perhaps we can tuck our disagreements about fundamental things away into our private lives, and let the public sphere be a place for adjudicating public things.

Nietzsche’s Quarrel with History

Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen

As much as we may wish otherwise, history gives us few reasons to believe that its moral arc bends toward justice.

A Usable Past for a Post-American Nation

Johann N. Neem

We are living through a time, however, when we cannot take our shared identity—and therefore our shared stories—for granted.

Vladimir and Volodymyr: A Pivotal Moment in History

Martha Bayles

Putin continues to play the Third Rome card that has brought him this far.

On Patrimony

Brian Patrick Eha

In my father’s house are many rooms, but all are empty.

Robert Bellah’s Search for Unity

Philip S. Gorski

Bellah held the conviction that religious matters were not purely intellectual, much less merely academic.

Is There Hope for Marriage?

Mary Harrington

Postromantic solidarity provides a basis for real hope.

The Eternal Hope of the Wandering Jew

David Stromberg

I’ve been cursed to envision peace without ever experiencing it myself.

Real and Fake Accounts

David Bosworth

Exploring the social and psychological costs of a life increasingly lived online.

The Right to Care

Adin Lears

Defenders of abortion might more wisely reframe their case around the central importance of care.

Getting Liberalism’s Attitude Back

Charles Mathewes

Ambivalence captures the internal nature of liberalism’s discontents.

Stop the Term-Creation Meaning-Kidnap!

Sarah M. Brownsberger

Nouns became verbs, verbs became nouns, and both became passive and adjectival.

A Time of Regret

Paul Scherz

We moderns have acquired a new experience of time.

Mental Medicine

Joseph E. Davis

More disorder, more screening, more care: the familiar talking points, all dutifully repeated.

Desire in the Cave

Mary Townsend

The fact is that we do not hold desire and reason together very well.

“I Love You” (in Theory)

Blake Smith

“I love you!” Barthes said really means “Love me!”

The Monster Discloses Himself

Phil Christman

There is a world within the world, and that world is not, as it is for the Marxist, a metaphor. It’s where the lizard people meet.

The Spirit of Appomattox

Jonathan Clarke

Why is Shelby Foote's Civil War subject to so much contemporary debate?

Sex and Privacy

Lily Meyer

The confused politics of discussing sex in public.

The Living Faith of the Dead

Kyle Edward Williams

Tradition is stalked by the uncertain possibility of either faithfulness or infidelity, handing down or handing over.

Pentecostal Compensations

Peter Hartwig

Pentecostal Christianity remains oddly ignored and misunderstood.


Jay Tolson

We inhabit an unabashedly reality-adjacent world.

The Wages of Estrangement

Charlie Riggs

Tillich suggested another word—and a curious one—to help interpret sin: estrangement.

Enchantments of the One and Zero Mirror

Antón Barba-Kay

What is the relationship between our conception of ultimate purpose and digital technology?

Beyond Progressivism

John Milbank

We are witnessing the ultimate emergence of tensions latent in the very foundations of the modern.

The Far Invisible

Alan Jacobs

Pynchon diagnosed our idolatry of the inanimate.

The Satmar Option

Rita Koganzon

Where do the Hasidim fit in the American picture of religious liberty?

The Need for Mourning

Paul Franz

Surely among the proper responses to despair is something more like disdain, contempt, loathing, a refusal to stoop—in short, a refusal to surrender?

Name Your Industry—or Else!

Sarah M. Brownsberger

Are we all in an industry? What happened to “occupation”?

Nothing Personal

Paul Nedelisky

Was this man Parfit some kind of sociopath?

What Heidegger’s Notebooks Don’t Tell Us

Michael Weinman

We have a book that seems aimed at thwarting efforts by decent humanist scholars to read Heidegger for any reason other than to condemn him.

The Denial of the Moral as Lived Experience

James Davison Hunter

The young will be formed. The question is how.

Sorting the Self

Christopher Yates

The self has never been more securely an object of classification than it is today.

The Character of Tragedy

Martha Bayles

Tragedies give pleasure because they make room for art.

You Can’t Go Home Again

Charlie Tyson

Our thinking about nostalgia is badly flawed because it relies on defective assumptions about progress and time.

The Confessions of Peter Brown

Jonathan D. Teubner

The historian is our most modern of all scholars.

Cold War Liberalism in the Courtroom

Ohad Reiss-Sorokin

Moyn’s Cold War liberals might rightly be called “post-Holocaust liberals.”

Glimpses of Light from Enlightenment’s Prison

Claire Richters

Criticizing modern society because it falls short of normative ideals.


Wilfred M. McClay

A, like, meditation on, like, words like “like.”

Be Mean

Matt Dinan

Being mean is not the same as being cruel, but meanness can become cruelty.

On Pilgrimage and Package Tours

Tara Isabella Burton

All “authentic” travel becomes a kind of secular pilgrimage.

A Cosmopolitan Revelation

Anne Taylor

Rick Steves teaches travel as a kind of road to civic transformation.

Over There

Jonathan Clarke

In glamorizing foreign travel, we sometimes neglect the near at hand.

Adventures Close to Home

Phil Christman

The cases for travel are often sillier than the cases against, and I think it’s important to question them.

A (Partial) Defense of Travel Writing

Clare Coffey

Travel is a way of acquiring lifetimes; travel writing, doubly so.

All Aboard for Virtual Utopia?

William Hasselberger

Augmented Reality doesn’t just add things to our perceptual experience; it redirects our attention.

California Road Trip

Matthew B. Crawford

A trip down the California coast has an aspect of memory and return to it.

Free at Last?

George Scialabba

Skepticism about free will is said to produce two disastrous but opposed states of mind: apathy and frenzy.

Rare Gift, Rare Grit

Martha Bayles

It’s nice to think that a gift like that possessed by Ella Fitzgerald will always find its way. But luck matters too.

Ideologies Have Their Reasons

Malloy Owen

Ideologues who understand that they are consulting human-made maps will be more open to alternative interpretations when their maps conflict with reality.

The Analyst and the Bard

Anna Ballan

The Freudian stain upon the literary imagination cannot be rinsed away. What, then, is the proper relation between psychoanalysis and literature?

Winter Storm Pax and the Power of Names

Claire Maiers

As Winter Storm Pax pushes across the eastern United States this week, I find myself pondering the power of names.

Wear It Proudly!

Leann Davis Alspaugh

What began as one of the most popular forms of menswear has now morphed into the kindler, gentler uniform. First, there was blue collar. Then white collar. Now there’s soft collar.

Collage Envy

Leann Davis Alspaugh

The wonder of Tom Wesselmann's 1962 collage, Still Life No. 1

Law, Religion, and Confident Pluralism in the University

John D. Inazu

With our colleagues, and with our students, we have the space not only to express disagreement in more than tweets and sound bites, but also to probe the reasons underlying our disagreement.

Introducing the Fall Issue: The Cultural Contradictions of Modern Science

Jay Tolson

As the power of science grows, its dominion extends even into areas of our culture where its proclaimed authority is questionable.

Mom, Apple Pie—and Lady Gaga

Leann Davis Alspaugh

Lady Gaga keeps it classy at Super Bowl LI.

Faulkner as Futurist

Carl Rollyson

Faulkner’s treatment of the past means much for the nature of our future.

Cousin Starfish

David Egan

Mother Nature sees you not as a soul shimmering with intelligence but as one solution to the problem of metabolism. 

More Than Their Crimes

Diane Gottlieb

Meeting a murderer and finding a friend.

Toward a New Universalism

Shahrzad Sabet

The gap between our concepts of love and justice has served us poorly.

Dare We Call It Charisma?

Mark Edmundson

A trick that only the most gifted demagogues can bring off.

From Pilgrim to Tourist to...?

Richard Hughes Gibson

One thinks of identity whenever one is not sure of where one belongs.

Wordsworth and the Paradox of Self-Writing

Kathryn Hamilton Warren

When I give myself over to the self-writers I love most, I am transformed.

Writing a Life

Alan Jacobs

The question I want to ask is simply this: Is the writing of a Life a game that, in our current moment, can be played?

Who Killed Essentialism?

Charlie Riggs

We seem to be unable to do without our essences.

The Silencing of the Lambs

Bruce J. Krajewski

We are here to ponder the longue durée of mutton in an age of capitalist wolves. 

It’s the Status, Stupid!

Michael Signer

Because this cannot be ignored. And because it may be prologue to the future.

Cognitive Behavioral Soulcraft

William Gonch

Cognitive wellness culture proposes to curate our attention so that we can better spend it.

In the Ruins of Western Civilization

Dan Edelstein

We can learn from the outdated Western Civ model, even as we transcend it.

The Uses of Artistic Extravagance

Alan Jacobs

Jean-Luc Godard, like Nietzsche and Wittgenstein and Heidegger, is worth paying attention to even when we think his work is bad

Hunting the White Goddess

Jesse Russell

It seems that neo-paganism is attractive in part because it offers an identity to those who have rejected postmodern, deracinated versions of Christianity.

A Funeral for Bruno Latour

Eric Luckey

What makes this so difficult is that time has a way of eroding the power of words.

The Banality of Psychedelics

Stephen Akey

The central truths revealed to me by psilocybin were all the things my mother tried to teach me.

Consumer Confusion

Leann Davis Alspaugh

Does the Meta-Birkin seriously compromise consumers’ ability to separate the NFT from the real Hermès bag? 

The Almost Unbearable Burden of Belonging

David Stromberg

What to become? Dissident or emigrant? Move abroad?

Rancho Rajneesh

James Conaway

No one works in Rajneeshpuram. They “worship.” Worship includes grading roads, plowing fields, pursuing the many lawsuits brought by Bhagwan in Oregon. 

Cormac McCarthy’s Poetics of Being

Christopher Yates

Cormac McCarthy is provoking us more than we may realize.

Kundera and the Question of Jewish-Israeli Identity

Yiftach Ofek

Kundera chose to take the long view, reflecting on the relationship between the Jews and Europe, and, more broadly, on the Jews and that European, literary spirit to which he saw himself heir.

From the Warp and the Woof, We Rise

Jonathan Coleman

Dick Allen faced racist taunts and boos so numerous and unrelenting that he became the first player in baseball to wear his batting helmet out in the field.

Facing It

Evan Gurney

Reading words is hard enough for me without having to read faces too.

Inside Out and Outside In

David Stromberg

Camus embodied an existence that was itself conflicted, caught between the vectors of history and lived experience.