Sam Haselby
Senior Editor, Aeon

Sam is a Senior Editor at Aeon and a historian. He is the author of The Origins of American Religious Nationalism (paperback, 2016) and can be found on Twitter @samhaselby

Written by Sam Haselby

Omar ibn Said c1850. Digitally colourised. Omar ibn Said’s autobiography is the only known extant autobiography of a slave written in Arabic in America. It was not edited by his owner, as those of other slaves written in English were, and is therefore surmised to be more authentic. It also attests to the high level of education that existed in Africa at the time and also reveals that many Africans who were brought to the United States as slaves were followers of Islam. Public domain via the Beinecke Library/Yale University

Essay/
History
Muslims of early America

Muslims came to America more than a century before Protestants, and in great numbers. How was their history forgotten?

Sam Haselby

USA. Watertown, South Dakota. February 2008. Photo by Alec Soth/Magnum

Essay/
History
American secular

The founding moment of the United States brought a society newly freed from religion. What went wrong?

Sam Haselby

Edited by Sam Haselby

Former child soldiers forced to join the Lord’s Resistance Army, seen here at an army child protection unit following their rescue by the Uganda People’s Defence Force. Gulu, Uganda, September 2004. Photo by Vanessa Vick/Redux

Essay/
Human rights and justice
Against humanity

What the Lord’s Resistance Army can teach us about flaws in the ideal of human rights and the fight for justice

Sam Dubal

A Japanese-American shopkeeper and graduate of the University of California unfurled a banner proclaiming ‘I am an American’ in the window of his grocery store in Oakland, California, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. This photo was taken three months later, just prior to the man’s forced removal to an internment camp. Photo by Dorothea Lange

Essay/
Political philosophy
The theorist of belonging

Judith Shklar fled Nazis and Stalinism before discovering in African-American history the dilemma of modern liberalism

Samantha Ashenden & Andreas Hess

The infamous ‘London fog’, seen here on 17 November 1949. Two generations after the Clean Air Act of 1956, London seems much cleaner with Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emission zones. Photo by Keystone/Getty

Essay/
The environment
Slow hope

Climate change is an emergency but despair is not the answer. The world is full of untold stories of people-powered change

Christof Mauch

Detail from Hannah Duston Killing the Indians (1847) by Junius Brutus Stearns. Courtesy Colby College Museum of Art; Gift of R Chase Lasbury and Sally Nan Lasbury

Essay/
War and peace
American torture

For 400 years, Americans have argued that their violence is justified while the violence of others constitutes barbarism

William Fitzhugh Brundage

An aerial view shows a typically busy Wuhan, in China’s central Hubei province, deserted amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak that originated in the city. 27 January 2020. Photo by Hector Retamel/AFP/Getty

Essay/
Technology and the self
Collaborators in creation

Our world is a system, in which physical and social technologies co-evolve. How can we shape a process we don’t control?

Doyne Farmer, Fotini Markopoulou, Eric Beinhocker & Steen Rasmussen

Samuelson explained economic theory to the postwar American public. Photo by retrofile/Getty

Essay/
Economics
The people’s economist

Paul Samuelson’s mathematical brilliance changed economics, but it was his popular touch that made him a household name

Roger Backhouse

Armed Armenian revolutionaries, Turkey, 1906. Photo courtesy of B Dickson/Royal Geographical Society/Getty

Essay/
Nations and empires
Roving revolutionaries

Moving between the Russian, Iranian and Young Turk revolutions, cosmopolitan Armenians helped usher in the 20th century

Houri Berberian

Jewish bankers from the Canticles of Holy Mary. Codice of El Escorial. Written in Galician-Portuguese. Reign of Alfonso X. 13th century. Courtesy the Museum of the Americas, Madrid/Wikimedia

Essay/
Global history
The rumour about the Jews

Antisemitism flourished in response to the unsettling, abstract growth of finance capitalism in the early modern world

Francesca Trivellato

The execution of Robespierre and his accomplices, 17 July 1794 (10 Thermidor Year II). Robespierre is depicted holding a handkerchief and dressed in a brown jacket in the cart immediately to the left of the scaffold. Photo courtesy the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris

Essay/
Global history
Vive la révolution!

Must radical political change generate uncontainable violence? The French Revolution is both a cautionary and inspiring tale

Jeremy Popkin

Plaque depicting warrior and attendants (16th-17th century), Edo peoples, Benin kingdom, Nigeria. Courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Essay/
Global history
Africa, in its fullness

The West focuses only on slavery, but the history of Africa is so much more than a footnote to European imperialism

Toby Green

The Miracles of Saint Francis Xavier (1619-22) by André Reinoso. Saint Francis Xavier was a missionary and co-founder of the Jesuit order. Courtesy Museu de São Roque, Lisbon/AKG

Essay/
Nations and empires
Architects of empire

Jesuits knew the miserable truth of European empire in India and Brazil, yet their writings rendered it grandiose and sacred

Ananya Chakravarti

Cicero, in the Senate, accusing Catilina of conspiracy. Fresco by Cesare Maccari (1889). Palazzo Madama, Rome. Photo by AKG London

Essay/
The ancient world
Rules or citizens?

Ancient Athenian and Greek practices afford us insights into how and why to maintain real accountability in public life

Melissa Lane

John Berger at home in Quincy in the Haute-Savoie, France, in 2008. Photo by Franck Courtes/Agence VU

Essay/
Art
Ways of living

John Berger’s ‘Ways of Seeing’ exploded a discipline. But his greatest legacy might be a quieter project of re-enchantment

Joshua Sperling

The Garden of Eden with the Fall of Man (c1615) by Jan Brueghel the Elder and Peter Paul Rubens. Early supporters of the Royal Society, founded in 1660, commonly spoke in theological terms about the new science recapturing a lost, pre-Fall human dominion over nature. Courtesy the Mauritshuis, the Hague, Netherlands

Essay/
History of science
Reformation of science

Protestantism didn’t hold back science – it revolutionised its methods, its theoretical content and its social significance

Peter Harrison

Marble statue of an anonymous man wearing a toga, 1st century CE. Gift of John D Crimmins, 1904. Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Essay/
The ancient world
The power of anonymous

Is the figure of the author bad for literature? Un-authored Roman literature and the transcendence of mere individuality

Tom Geue

Winter Landscape with Ice Skaters (c1608), by Hendrick Avercamp. Avercamp was deaf and mute and specialised in painting scenes of the Netherlands in winter. Courtesy the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Essay/
Environmental history
Little Ice Age lessons

The world’s last climate crisis demonstrates that surviving is possible if bold economic and social change is embraced

Dagomar Degroot

Detail from Woman at a Window, Waving at a Girl, by Jacobus Vrel (c1650). Fondation Custodia/Frits Lugt Collection, Paris

Essay/
Family life
Keeping secrets

All families have secrets, from the innocent to the deeply sinister. Are there good reasons to keep them under wraps?

Karen Vallgårda

A hunting party brings back a bowhead whale during the spring whaling season near Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow), Alaska. Photo by Kate Orlinsky/National Geographic

Essay/
Animals and humans
Turn and live with animals

The slaughterhouse ethic of Soviet and American whalers tells us we must look beyond communism and capitalism to survive

Bathsheba Demuth

Dark Satanic Mills. October 1948. Photo Robert Capa © International Center of Photography

Essay/
Religion
Mammon

Far from representing rationality and logic, capitalism is modernity’s most beguiling and dangerous form of enchantment

Eugene McCarraher

Fisherman at Saint Jean d’Acre in then Ottoman Syria, now Israel. Photo taken in 1891 by André Salles. Courtesy Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris

Essay/
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

Members of the American Indian Movement and the Oglala Sioux in a stand-off with FBI agents, National Guard soldiers, and federal marshals at Wounded Knee in March 1973. Photo by Bettmann/Getty

Essay/
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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