Diary: Husband Shopping in Beijing

Yun Sheng, 11 October 2018

The marriage market in China is a horror show. The short window for a woman to find a husband is between 22 (fresh out of college) and 27 – after that you become a ‘leftover lady’, meaning...

Read More

The African University

Mahmood Mamdani, 19 July 2018

The African university began as part of the European colonial mission, a precursor of the one-size-fits-all initiatives that we associate with the World Bank and the IMF. And so it continued, until decolonisation.

Read More

Short Cuts: Life Expectancy

Danny Dorling, 16 November 2017

The first​ English Life Table was based on data collected around the census year of 1841 and gave female life expectancy as 42 and male as 40. By the sixth table, in 1891, life expectancy for...

Read More

Bear, Bat, or Tiny King? The Rorschach Test

Deborah Friedell, 2 November 2017

The stories about the Rorschach getting it right are almost invariably about disturbed people caught out by the test, only extremely rarely about a healthy person being exonerated.

Read More

One, Two, Three, Eyes on Me!

George Duoblys, 5 October 2017

Highly qualified but often inexperienced young teachers deliver carefully structured content to students, pushing them to ‘climb the mountain to college’. They are notoriously strict: articles...

Read More

In​ ‘Some Remarks on a Case of Obsessive-Compulsive Neurosis’, Freud’s case history of the Rat Man (real name: Ernst Lanzer), there is an account of Lanzer’s attempts to...

Read More

Nudged: Nudge Theory

Jamie Martin, 27 July 2017

In​ 1975, as Henry Kissinger was trying to negotiate a settlement to the Arab-Israeli War, he warned the Israeli government that a breakdown in the talks would bring catastrophe to the Middle...

Read More

Killing Stripes: Suits

Christopher Turner, 1 June 2017

I went​ to Henry Poole & Co, the oldest tailor on Savile Row, for a fitting. Suits start at £5500, and I couldn’t afford to have one made, but the firm had agreed to teach...

Read More

Transsexual people are brilliant at telling their stories. That has been a central part of their increasingly successful struggle for acceptance. But the attention sought and gained is not always...

Read More

In Some Sense True: Coetzee

Tim Parks, 21 January 2016

Whenever​ we are in the company of J.M. Coetzee, whether it be an interview, a novel, a memoir or an essay, we are inexorably drawn into the realm of the ethical. We must judge and be judged,...

Read More

Loaded Dice: Ta-Nehisi Coates

Thomas Chatterton Williams, 3 December 2015

Between the World and Me is an unrelentingly severe, taut and timely text that's been nearly universally praised.

Read More

Who’s the alpha male now, bitches?

Andrew O’Hagan, 22 October 2015

Shooters, or would-be shooters, often imagine themselves ‘speaking’ to each other across the world through their acts of violence.

Read More

‘What’s​ on your mind?’ Each day, the 968 million people who log in to Facebook are asked to share their thoughts with its giant data bank. A dropdown menu of smilies invites...

Read More

Famously,​ Russia gave the concept of an intelligentsia to the world. Though the term itself was first recorded in Poland, it was in Russia that it became common currency in the 1860s, reaching...

Read More

Tell her the truth: Lamaze

Eliane Glaser, 4 June 2015

My NCT classes​ gave the impression that childbirth in Britain is dominated by doctors who foist painkillers on women against their better instincts, leading to a ‘cascade of...

Read More

The Caregivers’ Disease

Paul Farmer, 21 May 2015

Graham Greene​’s Journey without Maps is an account of a trek he made across West Africa in 1935. He started in Sierra Leone, then a British colony, crossed through a sliver of French...

Read More

Who Lives and Who Dies: Who survives?

Paul Farmer, 5 February 2015

What is it like to be a passenger on a bus, or standing in a cheering crowd at the finishing line of a marathon, in the seconds after a bomb goes off, when you know you’re hurt but not where or...

Read More

The Four Degrees: Climate Change

Paul Kingsnorth, 23 October 2014

It was​ at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro that governments first agreed to do something about climate change. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, agreed at the summit,...

Read More