“The Theft of the Commons” in The New Yorker
June 2022

“As a visitor from the age of private property, it seems remarkable to me that commoners held rights to land they did not own or rent, but at the time it was commonplace.”

“The Resistance” in The Paris Review
February 2021

“The problem of resistance was humming in my mind when I passed through an iron gate in France that read Nécropole de la Résistance.”

“A Conflict of Interest” with Maryann Bylander in The Baffler
February 2019

“What does it mean to invest? The first sense of the word is tied to monetary profit. But the second sense involves something other than money—time or effort—put to a good purpose.”

“Back to Buxton” in Literary Hub
November 2018

“Buxton, Iowa, is now just a stack of bricks and a small flock of gravestones in a farmer’s field, but was once an unincorporated mining camp of five thousand, an integrated town with a majority-black population in the mostly white state of Iowa during the Jim Crow era.”

“Murder Mystery” in the Times Literary Supplement
April 2017

“That winter, during the months of protest over the police shooting of Laquan McDonald in Chicago, my next-door neighbor invited me to a murder mystery party.”

“White Debt” in The New York Times Magazine
December 2015

“The word for debt in German also means guilt. A friend who used to live in Munich mentioned this to me recently. I took note because I’m newly in debt, quite a lot of it, from buying a house.”

“Sentimental Medicine” in Harper’s
January 2013

“The belief that public-health measures are not intended for people like us is widely held by people like me. Public health, we assume, is for people with less—less education, less healthy habits, less access to quality health care, less time and money.”

“Ode to Every Thing” with John Bresland in Requited
March 2010

“Time and Distance Overcome” in NPR Books
March 2009

​“‘Of what use is such an invention?’ the New York World asked shortly after Alexander Graham Bell first demonstrated his telephone in 1876. The world was not waiting for the telephone.”

“No Man’s Land” in The Believer
February 2008

“One of the paradoxes of our time is that the War on Terror has served mainly to reinforce a collective belief that maintaining the right amount of fear and suspicion will earn one safety. Fear is promoted by the government as a kind of policy. Fear is accepted, even among the best-educated people in this country, even among the professors with whom I work, as a kind of intelligence. And inspiring fear in others is often seen as neighborly and kindly, instead of being regarded as what my cousin recognized it for—a violence.”