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Alcohol helped shape civilization and ferment innovation, says author

Given the enormous costs of intoxication, why has the consumption of alcohol remained at the heart of social life? Author Edward Slingerland says it was essential to human evolution.

Sound Medicine: Bringing nature to Australian Indigenous women in prison

Indigenous people in Australia’s prison system experience a profound loss of connection to culture while incarcerated and isolated from the familiar sounds of home. A team of researchers worked with a group of incarcerated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to reconnect them to a sense of place — through sound.

My grandfather, the saint

Andrew Faiz is the grandson of a Presbyterian Pakistani saint - Vazir Chand. Most Presbyterians don't honour saints, yet for this specific Pakistani community, Andrew's grandfather has been given special reverence.

This queer choreographer felt locked out of his own industry. Here's how he persevered

Hollywood Jade grew up in Toronto wanting to be a dancer. He found success at an early age, appearing in films such as Hairspray, music videos and awards shows. But as a queer man, he felt that being his authentic self was not always welcome.

Finding oneself through sound, dance and family

A documentary brings the sounds of nature into an Australian prison, a queer dancer tries to make space for other LGBTQ performers, and what it’s like when your grandfather is revered as a saint by his church.

Party like it's 1656: The end of the pandemic should be a moment to celebrate says historian

Studying music and culture from the 17th and 18th centuries gave historian Keith Johnston a vision for how we could mark the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Johnston says we can draw inspiration from a 10-day festival hosted in Naples at the end of the 1656 epidemic.

When the pandemic hit this researcher turned to a 2,000 year old story — the Mahabharata

The Mahabharata is a 2,000 year old sacred text whose central message is “everyone dies.” And yet professor Arti Dhand has found it a place of solace through the pandemic.

Turning to the past for comfort in the present

Studying the culture of the 17th and 18th centuries gave historian Keith Johnston a vision for how we could mark the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Johnston says we can draw inspiration from a 10-day festival hosted in Naples at the end of the 1656 epidemic. The Mahabharata is a 2,000 year old sacred text from India whose central message is “everyone dies.” And yet University of Toronto associate professor Arti Dhand has found it a place of solace through the horrors of the pandemic.

Face hunger: Craving connection during Covid-19

As a portrait artist, Riva Lehrer says faces are her whole life. She’s also someone with spina bifida - and that means people give all kinds of unwelcome attention to her body. When that happens, her face has always been her ally. With our faces necessarily hidden under masks - she is navigating a new way of connecting with the world.

When is it okay to feel schadenfreude? It depends.

John Portmann, author of When Bad Things Happen to Other People, has long mulled over the implications of schadenfreude, and how the word has been perceived over the centuries. It’s a common feeling, but not always a morally clear one.

Is the pandemic killing gossip? Why humans need to spill the tea

Writer Ian Leslie believes we’re missing out on a very human need when we can’t gossip. The murmured stories we’d normally share as we meet at a pub after work, or when we pass by neighbours, are the most informative, says Leslie. Without those conversations -- which we can’t have during a pandemic -- we risk living in a world that’s “a lot less human.”

How this anthropologist found inspiration and quarantine comfort in a 700-year-old book

Inspired by Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron – a book of stories on fear, grief and humour amid the Black Death of the 14th century – anthropologist Iza Kavedžija’s story collection transports readers “into other worlds without leaving your own house.”

'Heaven's like West Edmonton Mall': Collecting stories from elders

Author Richard Van Camp knew he wanted to dedicate his life to telling stories after an Elder shared her experience with the afterlife. Van Camp says stories are the “soul fire” we need right now – in the pandemic and onward.

How to ethically navigate the pandemic's new normal as restrictions begin to lift

Throughout Canada, physical distancing restrictions are lifting and more people are venturing out and visiting friends and family. But trying to be a good person in the new normal can be challenging and disorienting. Philosopher Alice MacLachlan and moral psychologist Azim Shariff offer some ethical guidance.

How K-pop band BTS is helping fans a world away navigate identity and hardship

The seven member boy band, who sing and rap mostly in Korean, share a coming of age story in their lyrics that has their fans thinking about representation, self-esteem and hope.

Watch the self-talk: The dangers of typecasting yourself

I’m a hard worker. He’s a sloth. I’m an introvert. She’s a social butterfly. It’s easy to label yourself and others. But writer Dan Brooks says typecasting yourself can curtail your life.

How COVID-19 lockdowns interrupted this introvert author's journey to extrovert

One introvert tells Tapestry how her journey to live life like an extrovert has been upended by the coronavirus pandemic, just as she had become skilled at the “whole leaving-the-house thing.”

Introverts in the pandemic

Introvert Jessica Pan reflects on her ‘nightmarish’ quest to live like an extrovert for a year. American freelance writer Dan Brooks cautions against typecasting yourself. And, a Moncton couple recommends a song for our Soundtrack for the Soul that made them “laugh out loud.”

Why is the world so beautiful? An Indigenous botanist on the spirit of life in everything

Robin Wall Kimmerer is an acclaimed botanist who blends her scientific studies with her Indigenous upbringing. She says there is much to be learned about how to interact respectfully with the earth, from the behaviour of plants.
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The Vatican refuses to bless same-sex unions. Some LGBTQ Catholics are staying anyway

Xorje Olivares looks for solace and hope from his church. Unfortunately for Xorje, his church is Catholic and he's gay. With a recent missive from the Vatican reiterating its refusal to bless same-sex unions, Xorje is disappointed, but he's also not about to leave.

LGBTQ Catholics and why they stay

Xorje Olivares looks for solace and hope from the Catholic church. However, he's gay and the formal church continues to identify same-sex unions as a sin. Olivares shares what a different vision of the capital-C church could look like. Plus, Jane Goodall, who is this year's Templeton Prize winner.
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We can't solve an unethical economy with personal boycotts, says Concordia prof

Zeynep Arsel is an associate professor of marketing at Concordia University in Montreal, and she says that though your refusal to eat meat or shop at Amazon might come from a personal, ethical place, it's wrong to put that burden on average people to solve nation-wide and international problems.

These men became dads to baby found abandoned at subway station

Danny Stewart was on his way to meet his partner, Pete Mercurio, for dinner when he happened upon a baby, bundled in a sweatshirt and abandoned at a New York subway station. Here’s how that started the pair’s unexpected journey to parenthood.

Working together to make a family and a better world

Danny Stewart was on his way to meet his partner for dinner when he happened upon a baby, bundled in a sweatshirt and abandoned at a New York subway station. That started him on a path to parenthood. Later, a Concordia professor explains why the world's biggest problems can't be solved by personal boycotts.

Why is it so hard to say goodbye?

Researcher Adam Mastroianni has found that conversations tend to last a length of time that makes no one happy. He says it’s ok to say to goodbye when you want a conversation to end — but why does that feel so difficult to admit?

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