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Nations and empires
Cosmopolitan Ottomans

European colonisation put an abrupt end to political experiments towards a more equal, diverse and ecumenical Arab world

Ussama Makdisi

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Nature and landscape
Rooted

What if, rather than mere props in the background of our lives, trees embody the history of all life on Earth?

Dalia Nassar & Margaret M Barbour

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Beauty and aesthetics
Blackness and beauty

We need a radical new paradigm for thinking about blackness that recognises beauty’s potential to save lives

Enuma Okoro

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Thinkers and theories
The Bible’s first critic

Centuries before Spinoza, there was Ḥiwi al-Balkhi, a Jewish freethinker for whom the Bible was too irrational for faith

Pieter van der Horst

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Cities
City on mute

When you stare at your phone or use Uber to navigate your neighbourhood, you flatten the rich texture of urban life

Kathleen Vandenberg

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Nations and empires
It is time to recognise

The Lakota, like other groups, see themselves as a sovereign people. Can Indigenous sovereignty survive colonisation?

Pekka Hämäläinen

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Animals and humans
The pointing ape

How a chimpanzee named Clint trained a psychologist to question human exceptionalism and reconsider the intelligence of apes

David Leavens

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Gender and identity
Sex on the brain

Humans, like other mammals, exhibit sex differences in their brains and psychological traits. But what do they signify?

Kevin Mitchell

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Education
The well-educated person

If we took Aristotle seriously we would revolutionise our educational systems to enable citizens to learn throughout life

C D C Reeve

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Animals and humans
Prison, spectacle, refuge

Modern zoos are proud of their contribution to animal conservation but will always be haunted by their histories

Nigel T Rothfels

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Race and ethnicity
Race on the mind

When Europeans colonised North Africa, they imposed their preoccupation with race onto its diverse peoples and deep past

Ramzi Rouighi

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Mathematics
Citizens need to know numbers

A single statistic, or its misuse, can help upend a nation. Civic life depends on a basic level of statistical literacy

David Spiegelhalter

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Animals and humans
Birds are ‘winged words’

The Classical world abounded with avians – and so birds took up in the human imagination, nesting in our language and art

Jeremy Mynott