Contexts

understanding people in their social worlds

Feature

In-depth, analytical storytelling about how and why our world works the way it does.

The Struggle to Save Abortion Care

Resisting both physical attacks and widespread policy proscriptions, mission-driven abortion care providers continue working to help their patients. Read More

Education’s Limitations and Its Radical Possibilities

Public education aims to grow generations of literate, critical, creative, and civically engaged students who edify and build a living democracy. Somewhere, that purpose has faltered. Read More

The Algorithmic Rise of the “Alt-Right”

On a late summer evening in 2017, members of the far-right descended on Charlottesville, Virginia with tiki-torches held up in defense of confederate general Robert … Read More

Race, Class, and the Framing 
of Drug Epidemics

As America’s opiate epidemic rages on, calls for “treatment not punishment” dominate the national media. The hypocrisy of this response is not lost on a … Read More

Black Lives and Police Tactics Matter

Do police provide a public good or do they perpetuate racial inequality? Like most institutions, they do both. Nonetheless, thanks to the tragic deaths of … Read More

Marijuana’s Moral Entrepreneurs, Then and Now

Today, more than one in five U.S. adults live in a state where they can walk into a store to purchase recreational marijuana. But in … Read More

Desperation and Service in the Bail Industry

I cold-called Bettie.* Her son, Terrance, had a warrant for a serious crime, and he had turned himself in to the local jail. I’d called Bettie … Read More

“Straight Girls Kissing,” Beyond the Elite College Campus

Many straight-identified young women have same-gender sexual or romantic experiences. Research on sexual fluidity, hooking up, and “straight girls kissing” has largely focused on women … Read More

Revisiting the Rationing of Medical Degrees in the United States

The first time Spencer applied to medical school, he sent applications to 28 colleges across the country. As a well-rounded graduate of an Ivy League … Read More

Friends with Academic Benefits

“Sometimes it’s a good thing to be like your friends, and sometimes it isn’t…. If they’re getting all As, of course I want to be … Read More