States, Religious Diversity, and the Crisis of Secularism

Rajeev Bhargava

Western conceptions of political secularism do not appear to have travelled well to other societies.

Rethinking Secularism

Craig Calhoun

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

Recess Coaches

The Editors

In an era of life coaches, we now have “recess coaches.”

Justice: Thick and Thin

Daniel Philpott

Rare are intellectuals who both achieve a leading status in their field and relentlessly pursue knowledge that seeks to better the lives of ordinary people. Amartya Sen is one.

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?

An Interview with Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell

Richard Madsen

When people’s personal friendship networks become more religiously diverse, that seems to make them more accepting of other faiths, but it also turns out that if you add friends within a congregation, more church friends, you actually become more civically engaged.

Does Money Undermine Social Relations?

Eva Illouz

The ideology of the pure gift is not foreign or extraneous to the monetization of relationships.

Holding Them Closer

Carl Desportes Bowman

The successful formation and launching of children still matters; it is just that parents don’t want to launch them very far.

The Cultural Contours of Parenthood

Stephanie Muravchik

Given that most Americans now assume that children are priceless and fragile, it is no surprise that many have striven to remove all risks they might face.

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.

Science Anxiety

Ari N. Schulman

There is a long series of instances in which public health agencies have responded to disease outbreaks with dangerous Pollyannaism, seemingly violating their core mission.

Vocation in the Valley

Philip Lorish

What kind of society can be produced from a work culture that demands so much from its workers without offering them stability in return?

Better Living Through Bibliotherapy

Chad Wellmon and Paul Reitter

Majoring in English, the sales pitch now goes, will help you craft your soul.

No Ordinary Place

Clare Coffey

For some friends of the library, no defense of the stacks is necessary.

A Distant Elite

Wilfred M. McClay

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

Being There

Wilfred M. McClay

A human person is a historical being, in whom the past remains immanent in the present, and whom the wear and tear of time enhances rather than diminishes.

Virtuosos of Idleness

Charlie Tyson

Our crisis of work is accompanied by a crisis of idleness.

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.

From the Editor

Jay Tolson

Reconsidering the complex relationship between humans and the wider animal kingdom.

Friends

Wilfred M. McClay

My new old friend. An odd formulation. 

Technology and Modern Friendship

Richard Hughes Gibson

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

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.

Solving for André, Subtracting Simone

Robert Minto

A grotesque and caricatured version of Simone Weil undermines an otherwise good book.

Mere

Wilfred M. McClay

Like a lover of endangered species, the lover of endangered words jumps for joy when he sees a word being rescued.

Inviting Evil In

Paul A. Cantor

We have met the monsters, and they are us.

Lockdown Nostalgia

S.D. Chrostowska

Back to normal? So soon?

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.

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.

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?

A Divine Comedy

Eugene McCarraher

Like the “radical orthodoxy” associated with John Milbank, Stanley Hauerwas, and an array of other British and American theologians, Hart’s project of rejuvenation has been no narrowly theological or academic exercise.

The Press and the Police

Sophie Haigney

When you turn to the news, what you will encounter, overwhelmingly, is crime.

Thinking the Worst of Ourselves

Jackson Arn

We might be murderers, and we might not, but isn’t it safer to assume we are and be proven wrong? Maybe not.

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.

The Unchosen Condition

Malloy Owen

Is there really anything left to say about White Fragility?

“Peace” and the Organization Kid

Mike St. Thomas

Have we exchanged our desire for its objects?

By Whose Waters We Wept…

Charles Mathewes

“White Christian nationalism” remains a grievance-driven mode of whiteness.

The Brass Ring

Jonathan B. Imber

Is credentialism “the last acceptable prejudice”?

The Dehumanization Debate

Oliver Traldi

Why do people commit acts of cruelty?

Notes on Naff

Sean Wyer

 Naffness is not an idea. It is a sensibility.

A Different Sense of Privilege

Steve Lagerfeld

Privilege today still comes with strings attached, but they are different now.

Opinion Fetishism

Alexander Stern

In any case, trying to use Twitter as a public square is like hiking the Matterhorn at Disneyland. Like the Matterhorn, Twitter is an amusement, not a place for exploration.

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.

Awareness Daze

Phoebe Maltz Bovy

Awareness is not the opposite of ignorance. Rather, it’s a stand-in for performative gestures of all kinds.

Anything But True Love

Talbot Brewer

Is love so discrete and impregnable that it can subsist in the midst of the most repellent undertakings?

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

In the fifties we wanted to assimilate into the mainstream and not stand out even while, behind closed doors, we practiced being Jews, now identity was front and center of what we wanted the world to know about us.

Thinking About Homelessness

Stephen Hitchcock

Thinking about homeless requires separating it from the larger discourse on poverty.

Back to the City! Back to the Country!

Stephen Assink

One of the most salient features of the post–World War II suburb was its localization of the American middle class and its propagation of practices of mass consumption.

The Power of Play in the Public Square

Wendy Baucom

The renovated Place de la République shows the power of the public square.

Reclaiming Connections

David Peterson

According to Sherry Turkle's latest book, my peers and I simply can’t stand sitting alone with our thoughts, and it’s hurting our capacity for intimacy.

Impossible Wonder

Paul Nedelisky

Does understanding really rule out wonder?

The Dance of the Porcupines

Marie Kolkenbrock

There is a risk that we will compensate for the current sense of crisis and isolation with too much closeness.

Lockdown Nostalgia

S.D. Chrostowska

The return to normalcy will be long, and we might even change our mind along the way.

You liberal you!

Mark Edmundson

A human spirit of community and kindness can be learned. But it can also be forgotten.

Toward a New Universalism

Shahrzad Sabet

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

The Fantasy of Self-Forgiveness

Gordon Marino

We need to preserve a distinction between recognizing our transgressions and resolving to change, on one hand, and imagining that we can forgive ourselves, on the other.

More Than Just a Word

Richard Hughes Gibson

Americans have been making arguments about the nature of their unity from the beginning.

Trump Isn’t Lear. But Maybe Edmund?

Cassandra Nelson

What haunted Edmund was a fear of being second best.

Apart of a Community—Or a Part of It

Scott M. Reznick

Reading and interpreting poetry offers a unique way to cultivate ethical knowledge and therefore bears on collective, and not just individual, life.

A New Guild System

Alan Jacobs

What if the more successful political commentators on Substack, or music teachers on YouTube, or masters of the podcast interview, began to teach their craft to others?

No Mere Acquaintances

Richard Hughes Gibson

Renewing your weaks social ties might make your closest ties stronger.

Let Us Now Praise the Periodical Cicadas

Vincent Ercolano

The pulsating song of billions of seventeen-year cicadas.

The Desk

Mike Rose

These were places where I could imagine anything, be anybody. Space travel was new, fresh, a laboratory of possibility.

Why Lecture?

Amy Wright

It’s easy to see how lectures got a bad rap. We have all been subjected to someone who abused the privilege of an audience. 

The Professional-Managerial Novel

Sohale Andrus Mortazavi

Pretending that all workers are the same obscures rather than clarifies the reality of class.

The Problem with Productivity and the Good Work of Love

Alan Jacobs

That means, first, that I have to love my neighbor—my colleague—above my own productivity.

Neither This Nor That

Rhoda Feng

We view the concept of “compromise” from all sorts of oblique angles.