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Quickcast – AMERICA WALKS INTO A BAR

As our nation’s birthday approaches, The Oxford Comment pays tribute to an institution that has influenced American identity from the very beginning: the bar. Over lunch at The Ginger Man in New York City, Christine Sismodo discusses American vs. Canadian drinking culture (can you guess whose is better?) and why prohibition doesn’t actually increase drinking.

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Forbidden images

The world recoiled when the gay community started receiving credit for its influence in fashion and culture, but at least, according to Christopher Reed, they were being acknowledged. In his new book Art and Homosexuality: A History of Ideas, Reed argues that for some time, the professional art world plain ignored the gay presence.

We had the chance to speak with Reed a few weeks back at his Williams Club talk, where he laid out the tumultuous relationship between art and activism. Below we present a few of the controversial things we learned.

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Read Bossypants like a fancypants

Summer heralds many important things: 3D movies, involuntary camping trips, and sidewalk distribution of ice cream samples in tiny disposable cups. But the greatest tradition of all is, of course, book club (or your local library’s summer reading program). If, like me, you’re the weakest link in your coterie, you’re probably looking to contribute more than, “The ending was awesome,” or “Favorite character. Ok…go!”

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John Swenson on Treme

How real is the HBO series Treme? Here John Swenson reflects on what it was like watching the first season as a resident of New Orleans (he has yet to comment on the second, which premiered last night), as well as what the culture of the city means to its people. As a writer for OffBeat Swenson has written about the musicians returning to NOLA after Katrina, and in his forthcoming book New Atlantis: Musicians Battle for the Survival of New Orleans he talks about their crusade to save the endangered city. Swenson himself suggested the song in the video,”Dogs Chase Cats,” from Andy J. Forest’s NOtown Story (2010).

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5 dresses for Kate

The Royal Wedding is days away and every detail – from the regal breakfast to the honeymoon – is under scrutiny. But we think there’s only one thing that really matters: the dress. So, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to select a few options for Miss Kate. In the off-chance she turns us down, we’ve paired up other celebrity brides-to-be with these charming gowns. Pictures and historical facts courtesy of The Berg Fashion Library.

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Ep. 9 – WE HEART MATTY G

How do you write a smash first novel? Author (and OUP Law Editor) Matthew Gallaway comes to Oxford book club to discuss his book The Metropolis Case (Crown Publishers). Topics include: Pittsburgh, advice for writers…and what’s up with the incest scene?

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To have been a muppet in that nightclub…

What made Louis Armstrong embarrassed? Why was Cab Calloway on Sesame Street? To learn a little more about these two legends check out the podcast below with BBC Producer Alyn Shipton and the talented interviewer Annie Shipton (yes that would be Alyn’s daughter).

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Who’s winning in the sexual market?

As most of you probably know by now, there’s a new stage in life – emerging adulthood, or for the purposes of this post, the unmarried young adult. Marriage is getting pushed off (26 is the average age for women, 28 for men) which means…more premarital sex than ever!
According to sociologists, emerging adults are all part of a sexual market in which the “cost” of sex for men and women in heterosexual relationships is pretty different. Out of this disparity has risen the theory of “sexual economics,” which I recently

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Dispatch from Tokyo

Last week we received a message from Miki Matoba, Director of Global Academic Business at OUP Tokyo, confirming that her staff is safe and well. This was a relief to hear, and also a reminder that although many of us are tied to the people of Japan in some way, our perspective of the human impact is relatively small. So I asked Miki if she wouldn’t mind sharing some of her experiences, and she kindly agreed.

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You’ve Been McGuggenized!

When my friend sent me a link with the subject line: Carmel in WSJ! I clicked with trepidation. The last time my hometown made national news it involved a sodomy hazing incident and the high school basketball team. Phew. It was only a minor dispute over an expensive new piece of suburban architecture:

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Tchaikovsky is No One-Trick Pony

I’d argue our Black Swan fever peaked at Jim Carey’s SNL performance, but we might see a resurgence this weekend at the Oscars. In anticipation I contacted Roland John Wiley, author of Tchaikovsky and Professor of Music at the University of Michigan, for his thoughts on his subject’s recent omnipresence. Turns out Wiley’s a bit of an outsider in the academic community, where the composer hasn’t always been taken seriously. Here, Wiley explains the trappings of music snobbery – and why Tchaikovsky’s popularity among the “muggles” is no reason to discount his brilliance. (Oh, and, he dishes on the original Swan Lake ballerina dra-ma!)

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