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Sam Haselby

Senior Editor, Aeon+Psyche

Sam is a historian of early America with a particular interest in religion and politics. He was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and has been a faculty member at the American University of Beirut, the American University in Cairo and at Columbia University in New York City. He was a Senior Executive Producer at Al Jazeera America and is the author of The Origins of American Religious Nationalism (paperback, 2016). @samhaselby

Edited by Sam Haselby

A painting depicts three children dressed in old-fashioned clothing walking through a field of wildflowers at dusk. Two older children, one wearing a large brimmed hat, lead a younger child by the hand. The background shows a line of trees against a cloudy sky with a hint of sunset.

History of psychology and psychiatry

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In psychoanalysis, nostalgia was a sickness. It needn’t be

Nostalgia was, in Freud’s day, an illness steeped in the past. Today, it can be a joyful emotion that reframes the future

by Agnes Arnold-Forster

Marble statue of Hermaphroditus, depicting a naked human figure with male and female features, leaning forward slightly and holding a draped cloth in one hand, set against a plain background. The statue lacks a head.

Gender

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There is nothing new about gender fluidity and nonconformity

From Mesopotamia and ancient Greece to precolonial India and medieval London, gender has always been more than a binary

by Chris Wheatley

Graffiti in French reading “L’ART C’EST DE LA MERDE” is painted on a concrete wall. The words are written in black, casual handwriting, with a smaller, less legible text scribbled underneath. A piece of paper is fixed to the top right side of the wall.

Communication and language

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Censoring offensive language threatens our freedom to think

The modern obsession with textual purity stems from a misapplication of the philosophies of Wittgenstein and Derrida

by Paul Ham

A woman in an orange sweater is practising her golf swing in a narrow, cobblestone alleyway lined with bicycles, adjacent to a building with large windows.

Play

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The achievement society is burning us out, we need more play

This is about more than a self-help switch – it will take structural changes to reject capitalism’s productivity obsession

by Alec Stubbs

A vintage photo showing people dressed in old-fashioned clothing, carrying baskets and bags, walking through a busy outdoor market area.

Thinkers and theories

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How the feminist philosopher Helene Stöcker canonised Nietzsche

Despite Nietzsche’s reputation for misogyny, his work inspired a leading women’s rights activist of the early 20th century

by Lydia Moland

People of different ages and genders sitting on park benches, some chatting, some looking at their smartphones

Technology and media

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The illusion of closeness: how social media redefined respect

As we share and like and post, have our notions of restraint transformed so profoundly that all dignity becomes abandoned?

by Lutif Ali Halo

An illustration of two deer running in a forest, surrounded by text in a historical script, bordered in red.

Grief

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After my mom died, I found comfort in a medieval Andalusi tale

Ibn Tufayl’s story of a man mourning the gazelle who raised him helped me appreciate the interconnection of all things

by Veronica Menaldi

Two traditional-style pagodas in a grassy field under a blue sky with scattered clouds, with mist and mountains in the background.

Rituals and celebrations

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Together forever: ‘at-home burial’ in southern Vietnam

What might a traveller along the Mekong Delta learn about the beliefs and traditions behind the country’s elevated tombs?

by Gina Elia

Ancient stone carving of a woman standing beside intricately decorated circular patterns and floral motifs, with ruins in the background.

Sacred places

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Why Indian Buddhism has gardens, not monasteries

Wishing trees, jewels, unfading flowers – what place do these sensual pleasures have in the ascetic life of Buddhist monks?

by Simran Agarwal

Athlete in black and white kit finishes track race, smiling and pointing. Crowd applauding in the background.

Sports and games

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Sport shows how to use performance benchmarks in a positive way

IQ scores and other contextless benchmarks are suffocating and misleading. We should look to sport for a healthier approach

by Leif Weatherby

A pensive-looking woman is listening to headphones on a bus on a rainy evening

Communication and language

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Listening in on horror: why many women love true crime podcasts

True crime podcasts turn violence against women into a form of entertainment. Why do so many female listeners enjoy them?

by Amelia Anthony

A person walks a dog past a shop window displaying motorcycles with a “Zen Motorcycle” sign and glowing blue lights inside.

Mindfulness and meditation

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When mindfulness meets capitalism, it loses its way

The modern business of mindfulness strips the practice of both its spiritual meaning and much of its practical value

by Chris Wheatley