NYPD officers arrest a suspect in New York, 1978. Photo by Leonard Freed/Magnum

Essay/
Gender
Against carceral feminism

Feminists who see police and prisons as their natural allies are entrenching the sexism and racism they claim to oppose

Aya Gruber

Limestone frieze (c146 BCE) with inscription in Numidian; half of a bilingual inscription, the other half being Punic from the mausoleum of Ateban at Dougga, Tunisia. Courtesy the Trustees of the British Museum, London

Essay/
Language and linguistics
Africa writes back

European ideas of African illiteracy are persistent, prejudiced and, as the story of Libyc script shows, entirely wrong

D Vance Smith

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Artists impression of ʻOumuamua courtesy M Kornmesser/ESO

Essay/
Astronomy
Contact

An alien-made artefact or just interstellar debris? What ʻOumuamua says about how science works when data is scarce

Matthew Bothwell

Photo by Paolo Pellegrin/Magnum

Essay/
Mood and emotion
Radical acceptance

The painful feelings you avoid grow twisted in the dark. By facing your sorrows and struggles you can take back your life

Joshua Coleman

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Dani people preparing for a pig feast. Baliem Valley, West Papua, Indonesia, 1996. Photo by Susan Meiselas/Magnum

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Anthropology
How equality slipped away

For 97 per cent of human history, all people had about the same power and access to goods. How did inequality ratchet up?

Kim Sterelny

Shoreditch, London, 5 October 2016. Photo by Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

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Neuroscience
The warped self

Social media makes us feel terrible about who we really are. Neuroscience explains why – and empowers us to fight back

Mark Miller & Ben White

Scientists during the refurbishment of the Super-Kamiokande neutrino observatory, 1,000 metres below Mount Ikeno in Japan. Photo courtesy of Kamioka Observatory, Institute for Cosmic Ray Research, University of Tokyo

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Physics
The unified Universe

Physics displays an uncanny alignment at its very deepest levels. Is a grand theory of everything finally within reach?

James Wells

Dani people preparing for a pig feast. Baliem Valley, West Papua, Indonesia, 1996. Photo by Susan Meiselas/Magnum

Essay/
Anthropology
How equality slipped away

For 97 per cent of human history, all people had about the same power and access to goods. How did inequality ratchet up?

Kim Sterelny

Protestant and Catholic women embrace in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland, in 1976. The Peace People began in 1976 as a protest movement against the ongoing violence in Northern Ireland. Its founders Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize that year. Photo by Peter Marlow/Magnum

Essay/
War and peace
Hail the peacebuilders

Conflicts only fully end when the delicate threads of peace have been steadily and quietly woven by ordinary, dedicated folk

Tobias Jones

Photo by Didier Ruef/LUZ/Headpress

Essay/
Love and friendship
Treasure them

Sure, lovers and children are great. But friends are more than ever the heart of happiness, of family and of love itself

Anna Machin

German citizens protest outside the far-Right National Democratic Party of Germany’s 1967 congress in Hanover. The poster reads: ‘Again? Not with us!’ Photo by Wolfgang Kunz/ullstein bild via Getty

Essay/
Nations and empires
Exit the Fatherland

Shaking off Nazism was no simple matter: the work to create a plural and peacable Germany was prolonged and painful

Helmut Walser Smith

Photo by Guido Mieth/Getty

Essay/
Psychiatry and psychotherapy
Rewiring your life

A radical therapy based on eye movements can desensitise painful memories, heal hurts and aid transformation at warp speed

Deborah Korn

Detail from Lippo Memmi’s Triumph of St Thomas Aquinas (1323, full image below) shows Averroes (Ibn Rushd), whom medieval philosophers saw as the commentator on Aristotle and who remained central to many different areas of philosophy until the end of the 16th century. Fresco from the Santa Caterina d’Alessandria church in Pisa, Italy. Courtesy Wikipedia

Essay/
History of ideas
What Renaissance?

Humanism did not replace Scholasticism, nor is it clear that ideas like the Renaissance help us understand history at all

Henrik Lagerlund

Scientists during the refurbishment of the Super-Kamiokande neutrino observatory, 1,000 metres below Mount Ikeno in Japan. Photo courtesy of Kamioka Observatory, Institute for Cosmic Ray Research, University of Tokyo

Essay/
Physics
The unified Universe

Physics displays an uncanny alignment at its very deepest levels. Is a grand theory of everything finally within reach?

James Wells