How National Boundaries Distort Our Understanding of the World

Today's Most Pressing Global Issues Can't Be Addressed Through the Prism of Borders

Every four years, in summer and in winter, the Olympics open with a choreographed ceremony dominated by national delegations wearing national uniforms parading behind their respective national flags. Each event culminates in a medal ceremony that confers honors to the top three competitors, raises their national flags, and plays the national anthem of gold medal winners. The overall medal count has become a de facto Olympic competition pitting country against country for international prestige and bragging rights.

Similarly, the World Cup fuses sport and national identity on a quadrennial basis. …

How Nashville ‘Killed’ Traditional Country Music—and Then Reinvented It

The Genre Created by 'Hillbillies' and Folkies Now Speaks to Pickup-Driving Suburbanites

25 years ago, American Heritage writer Tony Scherman declared traditional country music dead and done with, asking, “How far from its social origins can an art form grow before it …

Chimpanzee Behavior Isn’t Just Monkey Business. It’s Culture.

Grooming, Using Tools, and Fishing for Termites Show the Humanity of Our Primate Cousins

In 1961, famed primatologist Jane Goodall discovered that wild chimpanzees were fashioning tools from sticks and using them to fish termites out of their nests—revolutionizing our understanding of culture and …

How Movies and TV Are Helping Venezuelans Negotiate Their Country’s Collapse

Amid Food Shortages and Rising Crime, My Students Turn to The Hunger Games and Walking Dead

Last March, I was teaching twice a week at the Universidad Bicentenaria de Aragua, 75 miles west of Caracas, Venezuela. While protests were breaking out in the streets around the …

American Populism Shouldn’t Have to Embrace Ignorance

Rejecting Authority and Expertise Doesn't Make All Opinions Equally Worthy

Public ignorance is an inherent threat to democracy. It breeds superstition, prejudice, and error; and it prevents both a clear-eyed understanding of the world and the formulation of wise policies …

Every October, on Martha’s Vineyard, We Celebrate Cranberry Day

For as Long as Anyone Knows, the Wampanoag Have Connected to Their History Through the Fruit and the Bogs Where It Grows

Many know the place I live, an island off the southern coast of Massachusetts, as Martha’s Vineyard, a vacation spot for celebrities including Presidents Clinton and Obama. But those of …