Wednesday, August 1, 2018

What does citizenship mean if you can’t vote?


Editor's note

In November, voters in Florida will decide on a measure that would restore voting rights to felons upon serving their sentence. Florida stands out among states with laws that restrict voting based on criminal convictions, with 10 percent of adults in Florida unable to vote because of felony convictions. Criminologist Kimberly Kras, who has interviewed ex-felons, writes that being unable to vote can discourage their efforts to reintegrate into society as engaged citizens, while also leaving large swaths of poor people and people of color without political representation.

The Episcopal Church has decided to revise its prayer book so as to refer to God in gender-neutral terms in place of the male pronoun. In early Christian writings and texts, many feminine terms describe God, argues scholar of Christian origins and gender theory David Wheeler-Reed. God gives birth, is a woman in labor and a mother comforting her children, he writes.

When psychology professor Georgene Troseth read the first Harry Potter book back in the late 1990s, she thought the text was rich with metaphors for key concepts in child development. Today, the Vanderbilt professor uses the wildly popular book about the orphaned boy who discovers he’s a wizard to get first-year college students to appreciate their own resilience.

Danielle Douez

Associate Editor, Politics + Society

Top stories

Voting booths. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Citizenship through the eyes of those who have lost the right to vote

Kimberly R. Kras, University of Massachusetts Lowell

More than 6 million US citizens can't vote because they've been convicted of a felony. But states are beginning to change their laws. Will it make a difference?

All Saints Episcopal Church, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Carolyn Fitzpatrick

What the early church thought about God’s gender

David Wheeler-Reed, Albertus Magnus College

In early Christian texts, God gives birth to Israel and is described as a woman in labor and a mother comforting her children.

Harry Potter books have captured the imaginations of entire generations. Clark Jones/Courtesy of Scholastic, Inc./AP

Why I use Harry Potter to teach a college course on child development

Georgene Troseth, Vanderbilt University

A developmental psychologist explains how she uses Harry Potter books to make child development more relatable to first-year college students, many of whom grew up on the wildly popular books.

Health + Medicine

Arts + Culture

  • The infantilization of Western culture

    Simon Gottschalk, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

    Our social institutions and politics suffer from a collective arrested development – and our relationship to technology has only exacerbated this trend.

Economy + Business

Politics + Society

Science + Technology

Environment + Energy

  • The demise of US nuclear power in 4 charts

    Ahmed Abdulla, University of California San Diego

    Commercial nuclear reactors provide roughly one-fifth of the electricity produced in the US. But they face grave threats to their continued operation.

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Today’s quote

"Facebook’s efforts to promote what might be called 'corporate digital responsibility' runs counter to the company’s business model."


How Facebook could really fix itself


Bhaskar Chakravorti

Tufts University

Bhaskar Chakravorti

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