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Cultures & Languages
Black Achilles

The Greeks didn’t have modern ideas of race. Did they see themselves as white, black – or as something else altogether?

Tim Whitmarsh

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Stories & Literature
Communist robot dreams

Tech flourished in communist Bulgaria and so did a body of science fiction asking vital philosophical questions

Victor Petrov

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History
Phantasmic Phoenicia

The British, Irish and Lebanese have all claimed descent from the ancient Phoenicians. But ancient Phoenicia never existed

Josephine Quinn

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Future of Technology
Fuelling the future

Fantasies about new power sources for human ambitions go back a century or more. Could these past visions energise our own future?

Iwan Rhys Morus

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Stories & Literature
Thus spake Albert

You probably know a quote from him. He probably never said it. How did Einstein become a touchstone of all that is wise?

Andrew Robinson

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Economics
Confidence tricks

The financial world is a theatrical production, abundantly lubricated by that magical elixir of illusionists: confidence

Matt Seybold

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Education
The five-paragraph fetish

Writing essays by a formula was meant to be a step on the way. Now it’s the stifling goal for student and scholar alike

David Labaree

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History
Teachers and students

Medieval people knew that love and pain and dread and desire made the experience of education possible, and could also sow ruin

Irina Dumitrescu

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Stories & Literature
The good guy/bad guy myth

Pop culture today is obsessed with the battle between good and evil. Traditional folktales never were. What changed?

Catherine Nichols

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Stories & Literature
Readers of the world unite

How markets, Marx, and provincial elites created world literature to fight both empire and nationalism

Martin Puchner

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Stories & Literature
The coming-of-age con

How can you go about finding ‘who you really are’ if the whole idea of the one true self is a big fabrication?

Cody Delistraty

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Stories & Literature
Mata Hari uncovered

Dancer, courtesan, spy: on the centenary of her execution, how much do we really know about the woman behind the legend?

Julie Wheelwright

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History
Agony in the agora

Democracy, by nature, is a contest between clashing political desires. That is why the public square matters so much

Saul Frampton

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Personality
Indescribable you

Can novelists or psychologists better capture the strange multitude of realities in every human self?

Carlin Flora