Social Science

What Goes Around Comes Around: Our Faith in Karma

Sam van Schaik— …The logic of the text is causation: If you do x, then y will happen. This is, of course, karma. Every event comes about because of previous events. Moreover, every event sets up chains of causation that produce innumerable further effects. The Buddha’s teachings on karma take this

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The Sykes-Picot Agreement and the Modern Middle East

Neil Faulkner— A hundred years on from Sykes-Picot, the Middle East is in turmoil. These two things are intimately related. Mark Sykes was a British diplomat, François Georges-Picot his French opposite number. They gave their names to a secret agreement to carve up the decaying Ottoman Empire between Britain, France,

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Why Memes Matter for Feminism

Eileen Hunt Botting— Memes are a staple of contemporary popular culture, but most people would be hard pressed to define what exactly they are.  Simply put, memes are widely recognizable yet variously replicated symbols of ideas.  In the twenty-first century, most people associate the meme with social media, in which a

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For Kids with Pain, Attending School Can Help More Than it Hurts

Rachael Coakley— Jessica started her freshman year of high school in great spirts. Then, in early October, she began to get daily headaches after school. Her headaches typically began around 4 PM and persisted through the evening making it difficult for her to complete homework. When Jessica couldn’t finish assignments

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Abolitionists are American Democracy’s Unsung Heroes

Manisha Sinha— Most Americans greeted Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew’s decision to put Harriet Tubman, the abolitionist heroine of the Underground Railroad, on the front of the twenty-dollar bill and relegate the Indian hunting President Andrew Jackson to its back with approval. The ironies abound. Fugitive slaves like Tubman most feared

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Moving Beyond Arab Spring

Ibrahim Fraihat— Five years have passed since several Arab countries revolted against their repressive regimes, and peace and stability are nowhere in sight. The unraveling of their political systems pushed these countries into challenging transition processes where violence is always a serious possibility. Yemen and Libya’s civil wars present blunt

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The Past, Present, and Future of America and the Islamic World

Tarek Osman— In 1801, the rulers of Tripoli, in today’s Libya, declared war on the US, after the republic had attacked North African corsairs who had repeatedly pirated American ships in the western Mediterranean. American politicians were not particularly worried about the impact of the Libyan threat on their republic,

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A Beginner’s Guide to Science Blogs

Christie Wilcox— I love writing a science blog. I write a lot of things—I’ve written peer-reviewed journal articles and a dissertation; I’ve written for major newspapers, science magazines, and chic, quirky outlets; I’ve even written a popular science book about venoms. But of all the writing I do, I have

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Five Questions Every Patient Should Ask When Interviewing A Physician

Abraham Nussbaum— Physicians are used to asking questions—Where does it hurt? How long has it been bothering you? Did you mean to stick that up there?—but when a patient is seeking a new physician, she needs to ask her own questions. The healthcare industry encourages patients to ask questions—Where did

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Questioning the Identity of Modern Chinese Philosophy

John Makeham— Forty years ago, intellectual historian Joseph Levenson famously commented: “What the West has probably done to China is to change the latter’s language—what China has done to the West is to enlarge the latter’s vocabulary.” Levenson was referring to a process that began in the decades immediately before

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