Michael Schulson

The Islamophobia Election: How 'Muslim' Became a Racial Identity

Call it the Islamophobia Election: One of the legacies of the 2016 race will be the next-level-mainstreaming of anti-Islam bigotry in America. From the start of the Republican primaries through the final days of the race, American Muslims have been a focus for aggressive rhetoric–and for policy proposals that would curtail their rights.

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Should NASA Have Given $1.1 Million to a Theology Institute?

In 2014, NASA gave $1.1 million to the Center of Theological Inquiry, an independent institution “rooted in Christian theology.” The grant supports an initiative to study “the societal implications of astrobiology.”

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Fascinating History of Search for 'Lost White Tribe' Sheds Light on Construction of Race

Speaking broadly, white supremacist ideas rest on two premises. One is about power. The other is about nature.

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How Herbalife's Gospel of Health and Wealth Fuels a Billion-Dollar Deception

If Whole Foods and Joel Osteen got together and had a child, it would probably look something like Herbalife. The nutrition company takes the transformative promise of natural products, mixes it with the ethic of the prosperity gospel, and then sells it through a model that looks suspiciously like a pyramid scheme.

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Seymour Hersh: The CIA and Media Lied to Us About How Bin Laden Was Killed - What Can We Trust Them About?

Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh broke the story of the My Lai massacre in 1969. He was the first to report the atrocities at Abu Ghraib prison, back in 2004.

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Put Your Money Where Your Mind Is: a For-Profit Meditation Studio Opens in New York

Ellie Burrows and Lodro Rinzler had their big idea over a cup of tea. Certain details change with the telling (was it a nail salon or a hair salon?), but here’s the official version: during a teatime conversation, Burrows asked Rinzler “why there wasn’t a modern, non-religious, drop-in studio where she could meditate in the same way she could drop into a salon and get her hair done.” Rinzler, it turned out, had been thinking along the same lines. They drew up a plan.

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The Sex Scandal Following Whole Foods’ Guru

Over the holidays, the New York Times ran a punishing profile of Marc Gafni, an ex-rabbi who reinvented himself as a New Age spiritual leader.

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Religious Kids Are More Selfish and Sadistic, According to Science

Are kids from more religious families more or less altruistic than their peers from less-religious families?

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Can You Become Un-Autistic?

You could read this as a straightforward narrative of medical recovery. Or you could read it as a fraught parable of modern identity:

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The Gluten Lie: The Fascinating Reason We Grasp at Fad Diets

The numbers are hard to pin down, but roughly 1.1 million Americans keep kosher in their homes. Around 15 million are vegetarian. Meanwhile, according to a 2013 survey, more than 100 million Americans are trying to cut down on gluten, and (as of 2014) more than 10 million households are gluten-free. Simply put, gluten avoidance is the reigning dietary restriction of our time.

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