Spotlight: Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015 all UN Members States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which included 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which “recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.” OUP is a proud signatory to the UN SDG Publishers Compact, which aims to inspire action among publishers to support the delivery of all 17 SDGs by 2030.

One way in which we endeavor to meet our commitment is by publishing on the themes of the SDGs. This page features a curated selection of relevant annotated bibliographies drawn from across the Oxford Bibliographies. 

From Oxford Bibliographies in Childhood Studies

"The role, position, and participation of children in the context of sustainable cities have become increasingly recognized at the global, city, and community scales. Numerous interlinking factors have been critical in shaping this agenda. First, there is the mounting awareness that cities were not meeting the needs of the growing population, particularly in terms of providing healthy, safe, and inclusive environments for children to grow up in. Second, the recognition of the child in the United Nations rights framework (the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989) was a driving force in the consideration of children’s rights and their participation in the design and planning of their local neighborhoods."- Sophie Hadfield-Hill

"Environmental education (EE) is an interdisciplinary field of educational and social science research and pedagogic practice. Scholars working in the field trace the formal emergence of EE to the late 1960s, when evidence of strains in the relationship between humans and the nonhuman environment made human-environment relations an object of scientific concern and debate in many (largely Global North) contexts. A number of national EE bodies, as well as the first (US-based) journal dedicated to EE, were established around this time."- Catherine Walker

From Oxford Bibliographies in Education

"Since sustainable development has emerged as a normative guiding idea at the global level, it has been perceived as a “moving target” that requires deliberation and social learning processes. Consequently, the notion of learning for sustainability figures prominently in both academia and policy, and learning and education are increasingly considered important features in this regard. Education for sustainable development was first introduced in 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development and has since developed into a well-established educational field."- Matthias Barth

"Early Childhood Education for Sustainability (ECEfS) explores sustainability and its educational responses in Early Childhood Education (ECE). While climate change is at the forefront, broader planetary concerns are also addressed, including biodiversity, food and water security, pandemics, plastic pollution, and growing gaps between rich and poor within and between nations and generations. Sustainability—also known as Sustainable Development (SD)—is often referred to as meeting the needs of current generations without compromising those of future generations."- Julie M. Davis

"The feasibility of scaling up and sustaining educational innovations and efforts at improvement has been a subject of scholarly investigation for decades. Many scholars, as well as policymakers and educational leaders, seek to develop educational innovations that can improve schooling not only in a single setting but across multiple schools, districts, or even nationwide. Likewise, reformers typically intend for the improvements they facilitate to last well beyond the duration of a short-term grant or research program."- Susan Bush-Mecenas, Eleanor Anderson

"Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is a concept referring to all teaching, learning and capacity building that seeks to develop a citizenry that can live more sustainably on the Earth. It focuses on learning processes and learning environments that can foster the qualities and competencies people need to contribute to more sustainable forms of being. Typically these qualities and related competencies include being caring, mindful, respectful, compassionate, and critical in the way we relate to each other to people elsewhere and future generations, but also to other species; systems thinking; dealing with uncertainty and (eco)anxiety; moral reasoning; anticipatory thinking; and the ability to make change."- Arjen Wals

From Oxford Bibliographies in International Relations

"When the term “development” first became popular in the field of international relations, in the 1950s, there was less critical thinking on the subject. Initial proponents of development ranged from conservative “modernization theorists” to the more progressive supporters of democratic development. For a time, both conservatives and progressives were united in their optimism for development in Third World states (a term coined during the Cold War). In fact, many scholars of the subject initially used the terms “progress,” “modernization,” and “development” interchangeably."- Christopher LaMonica

"Although sustainable development emerged as a distinct discipline only in the last quarter of the 20th century, it addresses a very old question: How do human societies advance their economic aspirations without exhausting their natural resources and despoiling the web of life on which they depend? This question has become a matter of great concern in the industrial age, but it has been a recurring problem for human communities at least since the advent of agriculture, and quite likely since the first deliberate use of fire for hunting and clearing forests in the Pleistocene."- R. S. Deese

"Global environmental politics is a relatively new field of study within international relations that focuses on issues related to the interaction of humans and the natural world. As early as the mid-19th century, scholars wrote about the role of natural resources in global security and political economy. However, much of the literature prior to the 1980s related specifically to resource extraction and development issues.  It was only in the 1980s and into the 1990s that global environmental politics began to establish itself as a distinct field with its own dedicated journals and publishers, and the focus of study expanded to include global environmental problems such as ozone depletion, climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, and desertification."- Loren Cass

From Oxford Bibliographies in Literary and Critical Theory

"Crip theory began to flourish in the interdisciplinary fields of disability studies and queer theory in the early decades of the 21st century. These fields attend to the complex workings of power and normalization in contemporary cultures, particularly to how institutions of modernity have materialized and sedimented a distinction between “normal” and “abnormal” and to how subjects deemed “abnormal” have contested such ideas. Disability studies pluralizes models for thinking about disability: if a culture of normalization reduces disability to lack or loss and positions disability as always in need of cure, disability studies challenges the singularity of this medical model."- Robert McRuer, Emma Cassabaum

"While many disciplines have begun to take the environment, its inhabitants, ecosystems, biotic diversity, and future stability more seriously, it falls to philosophy to flesh out the organizing concepts and principles of a viable environmental ethic. An ethic is a defensible way of life grounded in the wherewithal to address the anthropogenic causes of environmental crises like climate change. However true is Socrates’ claim that the unexamined life is not worth living, what counts as “worth living” must now recalibrate in light of a future characterized by catastrophic weather events, dwindling resources, accelerated disease vectors, human and nonhuman migration, and the geopolitical upheaval either caused or accelerated by a warming atmosphere."- Wendy Lynne Lee

"Ecocriticism is a broad way for literary and cultural scholars to investigate the global ecological crisis through the intersection of literature, culture, and the physical environment. Ecocriticism originated as an idea called “literary ecology” (Meeker 1972, cited under General Overviews) and was later coined as an “-ism” (Rueckert 1996, cited under General Overviews)."- Derek Gladwin

"The field of human rights (HR) and literature has expanded in the last two decades. Fiction, poetry, memoirs, and graphic novels with HR themes have been examined, and also cognate fields like popular culture and HR, humanitarianism, and the history of HR itself. The literary, with its emphasis on the human ‘subject,’ the formation of this subject, and the hurdles that confront its formation, is appropriate for the study of how humans are conceptualized as deserving (or not) of rights, and the conditions in which the human loses her humanness. Victims, perpetrators, and bystanders are characters in literary texts that critics study as models of subjectivity."- Pramod K. Nayar

"Transnational feminism developed out of postcolonial and women of color feminisms, both of which critiqued the idea that “sisterhood is global” (see Robin Morgan, Sisterhood is Global, New York: Feminist Press at CUNY, 1984). While Morgan’s 1984 book was a paradigmatic articulation of this viewpoint, the notion of global sisterhood had been circulating since the late 1960s in “global” and “international” feminisms that used largely comparative approaches to women’s issues in the Global South, never questioning a Western model of feminism as feminism as such."- Asha Nadkarni, Subhalakshmi Gooptu 

From Oxford Bibliographies in Management

"Humanitarian work psychology (HWP) is a new cross-disciplinary field that uses the principles and research applications of industrial and organizational (I-O) psychology to promote decent work, ensure social justice, enhance human welfare, increase well-being, and aid international development by improving work and working conditions for workers globally"- Mahima Saxena    

"Business and human rights have not traditionally been addressed or theorized in close connection to each other. Rather, human rights have been seen as the exclusive domain of the state, that is, as a legal or political concept with little relevance or implication for companies. This view has changed dramatically in recent decades. There is now a broad interdisciplinary and dynamic discussion on the potential human rights responsibilities of business"- Florian Wettstein, Michael Santoro, Anita Ramasastry, and Penelope Simons

"The economic development literature, at one time, was heavily concerned with governmental prescriptions and planning to spur development. With the economic liberalization of numerous economies, such as in eastern and central Europe, India and other parts of Asia, there is a global epiphany surrounding the role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in development."- Michael Witt, Jack Helmuth, Bryan Halpin, Nicholas Vandeberg

From Oxford Bibliographies in Military History

"Aerial bombardment as a weapon of war was born in the high-technology era at the start of the 20th century. Although the technology—aircraft—was new the idea was a continuation of the attack in depth and nested within the context of warfare as a whole. Thus, to begin the discussion of the ethics of aerial bombardment, some context is necessary."- Michael Pavelec

"Militaries and warfare have always been profoundly gendered sites of human activity. Excluding, marginalizing, or obscuring women’s participation in combat and other military roles has proved remarkably salient throughout history and across cultures. This has assured the association of men with, as well as their predominance in, commanding, fighting, technologically advancing, and even analyzing, warfare, with one effect of this being to normalize that relationship in practice and scholarship."- Victoria Basham

"Peacekeeping is unlike other forms of military intervention because of its founding three-part doctrine, comprising consent of the parties, impartiality, and the non-use of force except in self-defense (and, more recently, defense of the mandate). Peacekeeping is important to understand because it is the most frequent form of intervention today."- Lise Morjé Howard

"Women have played a variety of military roles throughout history, although many historians overlooked those roles until recently. Other disciplines, such as anthropology and sociology, have sometimes paid more attention to the experiences of women in the military. Fortunately, historians have begun to devote more attention to the subject. In order to understand women’s military roles today, we must know what women have done in the past."- Reina Pennington

From Oxford Bibliographies in Politics

"Since the 1990s, climate change has been transformed from a niche subject for political scientists primarily interested in environmental issues into an issue of major political, economic, and social significance that has been widely assessed by both international relations (IR) and comparative politics (CP) scholars. Climate change has become an issue of central importance not only for political scientists but also for policymakers."- Rüdiger Wurzel

"Gender analysis offers a distinct perspective on international relations in provoking a new set of questions. Early feminist international relations (IR) theorists joined other critical approaches to the field in interrogating the traditional conceptual terrain of IR scholarship in the 1980s, including states and sovereignty, national security, war, economic development and trade, globalization. Feminist scholarship represented an integral element of the critical foment of the “fourth debate” and its examination of international relations through a post-positivist lens."- Karen Brown

"The term “globalization” is itself contested terrain. This article recognizes the plurality of legitimate definitions that have in common a focus on economic, political, and social processes that operate across national borders. The recent multiplication of such processes is not in dispute. Neither is the “globalization” of health concerns as diverse as the transmission of communicable disease—the longest-standing concern—and the supply of health professionals as they migrate across national borders."- Ted Schrecker

From Oxford Bibliographies in Psychology

"Since the inception of modern psychology, psychologists have distinguished between thoughts and actions. Similarly, peace psychologists distinguish sharply between conflicts and violence which they equate with thoughts and actions, respectively. Conflict (between individuals or groups) is often defined as the perception of incompatible goals, whether real or imagined, while violence refers to coercive actions that are intentionally carried out with the intent of harming others."- Daniel J. Christie, Noraini M. Noor

"It is surely the case that the field of moral psychology is in flux today. It was abandoned by personality and social psychology in the 1930s and again in the 1970s because the expected pattern of stability of character or personality characteristics proved illusory (see Mischel 2004 in the Personality section for a historical review). Lawrence Kohlberg’s groundbreaking work in the late 1950s established a cognitive-developmental trajectory, rehabilitating the field and generating thirty years of research centered on the structure and development of conscious moral judgment."- Chuck Huff, Owen Gaasedelen

From Oxford Bibliographies in Public Health

"Food security refers to a state in which adequate amounts of nutritious, safe, and culturally appropriate food to support a healthful diet are available, accessible in a socially acceptable manner, and expected to remain accessible. A number of dimensions of food security have been identified, such as the quantity, quality, and variety of foods available and lack of worry about the ability to acquire these foods."-Carol Dawne Milligan

"To understand health system resilience requires at least some exploration of the wider uses of the term resilience, not only its original Latin conception but also critiques of its current and recent sociopolitical usage—does frequently using this term affect our consciousness, outlook, and actions positively or negatively? The term resilience in academic literature was evident in the late 1990s but started to increase significantly from around 2004 after an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) that occurred in China 2002–2003."- Laura Hawken

Featured image credit: Photo by Unsplash

We want to hear from you.
Oxford Bibliographies is a partnership between the publisher and the academic community, and we invite you to participate. Please feel welcome to email

Find out how to subscribe