Short Cuts: Sokal 2.0

Daniel Soar, 25 October 2018

Earlier​ this month, a small storm hit social media when it was revealed that a number of cultural studies journals had been the victims of a massive hoax. Three collaborators had submitted...

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Reckless, hypocritical, deluded, mendacious and chauvinist as they are, the Brexiteers found a real set of circumstances, and misapplied a popular, off-the-shelf folk myth to it. By simply rejecting the...

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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...

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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.

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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...

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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.

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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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.

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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.

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‘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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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