Welcome to The American Age

The American Age has one objective: to re-ignite zeal for the American idea. Not by provoking nostalgia for what has been, but by inspiring hope for what might be, The American Age takes up the cause of those visionaries who have come before us.

Our Mission

The American Age is a salutary response to the disease at the core of American civic culture. It is a rejection of intellectual cynicism, historical amnesia, and the politics of dread. It is a rooster call to stir our fellow humanists awake.

The Open Education Project

We are currently developing programs and tools to help the people who don’t have the same resources to prepare for college and work that many of us benefitted from. It is very likely that if you’re engaging with The American Age you found your way here through a forest of obstacles. Material security, emotional support systems, bureaucratic acumen, all of these are necessary to engage in meaningful intellectual work, let alone secure economic stability in twenty-first century America.

Intro, ctwebb

“They”: Introductions

The fervor over pronoun usage might seem silly to some. Is it "he," "she," or "they"? But language has never been fixed, and how individuals refer to themselves is in constant flux. There's nothing wrong with negotiation, but there might be with something wrong moralizing.

Episode 0103 - "They": Introductions

Comedy: Final Thoughts

What can you learn about a culture through comedy? What can you learn about people, and maybe more importantly, what can't you learn about them through comedy? The hosts agree it's time to stop canceling people for trying to be funny.

Episode 0102 - Comedy: Final Thoughts

Music, Moments, & Memes

Reading the news

Meme of the week

Why does the American flag look like this?

Find out


Our video series The Moral Imagination.


The Moral Imagination

Our moral judgments are often reflexive and feel to us as familiar and intimate as our sense of taste and smell. But to share a moral vision with millions of other people is a tremendous work of the imagination. The Moral Imagination is an exploration of the ideas and events that shape this collective sense of right and wrong.

What are the contours of this imagination? How might we strengthen it? What ideas will help us thrive as a species in the 21st century and beyond?

Join us as we explore, provoke, and become inspired by those who are imagining a better world.

Latest Videos


A new episode every Monday.

Latest Podcast

Comedy: Maria Bamford, How to Maintain Mental Health
TAA 0099 – The cliché goes that "laughter is the best medicine," but the idea's been around for thousands of years, so it's probably best to call it "wisdom." How can comedy help us cope with trauma?

Check Out More

TAA Podcast Sessions

What if your favorite college professors were willing to talk about everything from philosophy and politics to pop culture and love with the same kind of consideration and enthusiasm? Each week C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood discuss life, culture, and art, and challenge their listeners to take fewer things for granted and all things more seriously.

What we do

Talking, writing, and filming aren’t enough, so we do more.

The Open Education Project

The Open Education Project is where our idealism meets activism. It provides insurance against too much navel gazing, and is where we hope to produce actual, quantifiable benefits for the people who we claim to champion.

CultureHum Foundation

We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the vertical integration of culture. From advocacy to education, research to outreach, CultureHum Foundation is not only imagining but helping to create a better world.


July 20, 2019, 33 Years Later

July 20, 2019, 33 Years Later

Some time in 2014 I picked this up at a yard sale. It was hard to resist, for a $1, with the day of the title coming up. Arthur C. Clarke, renowned science fiction writer, published this strange, heavy book in 1986, imagining this day in 2019 that would commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing in 1969. It’s not, Clarke was adamant, an attempt at prophecy, but (as he said of his work generally), “An inquiry into the Limits of the Possible.”

Paine Day 2018

Paine Day 2018

Motivating histories are necessary but imperfect things. Imagined communities of people become such by participating in aspirational stories of a shared past…



Mountains are on the move. The oceans are growing. Vast shelves of ice are phase shifting. The world is unstable, and has always…


Lend your voice, your resources, or your time. 

Write For Us

Pitch us your idea. You won’t find a more committed or broad-minded editorial staff.


The American Age is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) devoted to reviving American civic virtue and improving educational access.


There are a variety of ways to get involved. We can’t list them all, so drop us a line.


Writers should be paid for their work, and we hate advertising. If you believe the same, consider subscribing.

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Our Contributors

Scholars, poets, scientists, ex-patriots, capitalistssocialists, story tellers, gonzo journalists, activists, our contributors are faithful to two things—telling the truth and telling it their way.


It’s a digital world but print still has weight.

April 2019

The American Age

One of the reasons that we ask people to subscribe to The American Age, besides keeping the lights on and supporting The Open Education Project, is so that we can pay writers for their work.

Why? Because we’re writers, and we love writers. Academic, journalist, or creative, poet, playwright, or historian, even dry as the Antarctic philosopher, we value you all. If you agonize over words, you’re part of our tribe, whether we publish you or not. That said, we are a nonprofit whose activities are entirely supported by CultureHum Foundation—


We know there are lots of publications on the web who don’t pay their contributors, and we know there are many who (currently) pay their contributors more than we do. So here’s the deal. We compensate writers based on our paid subscriber base, but will retroactively compensate at higher rates should our subscriber base grow.

If you’re interested in contributing and want to know what our current compensation structure is, you can find it here.

Online Guidelines
Below you will find a short description of each of our sections. These, along with reading the sections, should be enough for you to make an educated guess as to where your submission might best fit.
We suggest pitching us your essay idea before submitting it. We do publish unsolicited manuscripts, but you have a much better chance of making it out of the slush pile if you query us ahead of time.

All pitches should include the following in the body of your email.

  • Name
  • Very brief bio (two or three sentences)
  • List of past publications (no more than three or four)
  • Pitch (a short explanation of the topic and angles)All submissions should be a .docx, .doc, or .rtf file. Other file types will not be read.

Please email all pitches and submissions to: submissions@theamericanage.org

Print Guidelines
Bi-Annual Journal

The American Age produces a biannual journal. Each issue is focused on a particular thematic concern. The journal is an academic-journalistic hybrid: the sophistication and care are scholarly (i.e. academic), but its diction and tone are directed at a college level reader (i.e. journalistic).

Compensation rates are the same as those for online content. The submission guidelines for the print journal are available here.

Guidelines for Essays
  • Word Count: We prefer a certain kind of heft, a little meat on the bone, more zaftig than slight. For the Essay sections something between 1,200 and 1,800 words is a good target. That doesn’t mean we won’t publish something shorter or longer, but that’s the suggested length.
  • Style: Accessible. Light on jargon and technical terms—gloss the concept where necessary. There’s nothing wrong with the concision that professional language grants, but it should not muddy your thinking. Polemical is fine, but make sure your facts are on point, and that pointed criticisms hit their mark.

Essay Categories:

Drunk in America – Transcendence doesn’t belong to the monks. Inner peace doesn’t belong to the yoginis. God doesn’t belong to the churches, mosques, or synagogues. The secular carnival of ideas and desires offers its own opportunities for ecstasy. Explore them here.

Feature – Unique perspectives on diverse topics—informed, honest, provocative, and unbounded.

History – Without an understanding of our deep history, we cannot fathom our complicated present. Human beings have been roaming the earth for tens of thousands of years. We have to keep our past in mind if there’s any hope for the future.

Human Sciences – Anthropology, sociology, biology, economics, psychology, epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics, there have never been more or better tools at our disposal to help us understand our own natures. Some of these arguments are complicated; some are dubious; nothing should be off-limits in the pursuit of knowledge.

Reviews – A pugnacious but respectful engagement with the movies, TV shows, books, plays, and art works that are shaping American public discourse.

Guidelines for Poetry & Stories
  • Word Count: For these sections a defined word length doesn’t make much sense, but it’s unlikely we’ll publish your epic poem or your novella. And it’s doubtful your experimental 1, 2, 1 haiku will make the cut either. Something around 1,000 words, give or take, is a safe bet for Children’s Stories.
  • Style: No genre, style, or rhetorical school is excluded. Rhetorically straight is fine, and so is the highly experimental. The work of making your work speak to a wider audience is the job of our seasonal editors, who curate our selections.
  • Open Submissions: Please note that open submissions for poetry run from August 1st through October 31st, and will also be considered for our annual print publication. Poems submitted outside of the submission window will not be read.

Poems and Stories Categories:

Stories – Children can help us recall the vulnerable curiosity that once animated our worlds. We invite parents, and non-parents alike to submit the conversations and encounters they’ve had with children that reminded them just how wild, confusing, sad, and exciting life can be.

Poetry – Before poetry was locked into stanzas, lines, and meters it simply meant something “made, created, or composed.” Very short stories, formal and in—poetry, proper and im—scenes, lyrics, letters, and dialogues—if it is attentive to language, truthful (even if embellished), and serious (even if humorous) we will consider it.

Guidelines for Existential Party Music
  • Word Count: These submissions should be less than 100 words.
  • Style: You’ve got less than 100 words so. Whatever you can accomplish coherently within that framework is encouraged.

Music doesn’t always bring people together, but this list does. A compilation of music from every genre with one common theme: time is like wine if you stomp its fruit with all your might.