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9780199330881

What kind of cheese are you?

The discovery of cheese predates recorded history. Although the earliest evidence of cheesemaking can be traced back to 5,500 BCE, historians theorize that cheese was originally discovered accidentally: it’s probable that cheesemaking first occurred inside animals organs used for storing milk.

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9780199366439

The centennial of mambo king Pérez Prado

In the late 1940s and early 1950s a new, fast, and instantly appealing music and dance style swept across the globe: the mambo. The man behind the new sensation was the Cuban pianist, composer, bandleader, and showman Dámaso Pérez Prado.

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Collective Emotions

Emotional dynamics of right-wing political populism

Donald Trump’s election to the 45th President of the United States is the biggest victory of contemporary right-wing political populism to date. The Brexit referendum had already shattered Europe and the UK “remain”-voters alike, but Trump’s win is of worldwide significance. The outcomes of both elections took the media, pollsters, and political analysts in the relevant countries and elsewhere by surprise.

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Shakespearean Classics: Titus Andronicus, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and a new papyrus of Sophocles

In Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, Titus’s daughter Lavinia is brutally raped by Demetrius and Chiron. They prevent her from denouncing them by cutting out her tongue, and cutting off her hands. But as we see in the passage below, Lavinia nevertheless communicates their crime by pointing to a passage of Ovid’s Metamorphoses describing Tereus’s rape of Philomela.

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journal-of-church-and-state

American Christians and the Trump vote: what’s law got to do with it?

The 2016 US election is over, and now begins the elaborate work of attempting to understand why Americans voted the way they did last year. Amid soul-searching about media bias, liberal smugness, and misleading data, many commentators have begun to set themselves to the task of making sense of the surprising proportion of American Christians who ultimately cast their ballots for a candidate such as Donald Trump.

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9780190252946

The legacy of Wilson “Wicked” Pickett [excerpt]

Today marks eleven years since the death of Wilson “Wicked” Pickett. Known for such hits as “In the Midnight Hour,” “Land of 1,000 Dances,” and “Mustang Sally,” Pickett claimed his place as one of history’s most influential R&B figures when he was

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socrel

The Millennials’ God

The Millennial Generation— consisting of those individuals born between 1980 and 2000—is an oddity when it comes to religion. On the one hand, its members are leaving organized religion in unprecedented numbers. On the other hand, they are not exactly unbelievers.

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9780190498467-1

The economic efficiency of fake news

Fake news has always had a presence American politics. No less an august figure than Benjamin Franklin partook of the practice. In 1782 Franklin generated a fake version of a real Boston newspaper, featuring his own inspired but false story about American troops uncovering bags of scalps to be sent to the King of England. As the story was spun, the scalps were intended to win the King’s friendship toward Native Americans.

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9780198707516

The making of Wells: from Bertie to H. G.

Youthful Bertie Wells was understandably depressed in the depths of winter in early 1888. He had escaped the drudgery of being a draper’s apprentice with a scholarship, only to flunk his second-year university exams and lose his funding to the Normal School of Science in Kensington.

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9780190212605

Labeling right in the age of Trump

Steve Bannon is a white nationalist. That was the first media characterization I heard of the former Breitbart executive after his appointment as chief strategist and senior counselor to President-elect Donald Trump on November 13, 2016. During the month that followed, center-left commentators also described Bannon as a “racist,” a “white supremacist,” a “white separatist,” a “neo-Nazi,” a “fascist.”

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9780190614935

Caring about the past in the embattled present

Growing up in Manhattan meant that I didn’t live among ancient ruins – just subway stations, high-rise apartments, and Central Park’s relatively recent architectural confections. It took living for a year in Europe as a six-year old and for another year as a ten-year old to develop awareness about our collective heritage stretching back millennia. Visiting the vacant site of Stonehenge on a blustery fall day in the early 1960s

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Marital love and mourning in John Winthrop’s Puritan society

Puritans did not observe birthdays as we do, but the occasion–John Winthrop’s twenty-ninth birthday–in January 1617 may well have been a time for greater reflection than normal. Winthrop was in mourning for his wife, Thomasine Clopton Winthrop, who had died on 8 December. Four hundred years later, it is appropriate to reflect on what Winthrop’s experience and his Thomasine’s protracted death tells us about love and

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9780199468270

The distinctiveness of German Indology – and its expression in German philosophy

German Indological scholarship was something of an anomaly given the link between colonial power and colonial knowledge. The German fascination surrounding “ancient Indian wisdom” unfolded in parallel with the rising interest in Germany’s pre-Christian past. What German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel is most known for today—with respect to his appraisal of Indian art, religion, and philosophy—is not how much time and energy he devoted to studying and writing about them, but instead his harsh critiques, unkind representations, his rudeness transgressing into outright racism.

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Aldo Leopold at 130

The eleventh of January marks the 130th anniversary of the birth of conservationist, ecologist, and writer Aldo Leopold. As one of Leopold’s biographers, I have become accustomed over the years to marking these milepost dates. They tend to bring forth a strong pulse of articles, commentaries, and editorials. Some are celebratory, perhaps built around a choice bit of Leopold prose

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Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion

Salafism and the religious significance of physical appearances

Because of a combination of these reasons, several European countries have adopted laws to partially ban facial veils in public. However, very little has been said about what the niqab or other forms of physical appearances among Salafis actually mean and what their religious origins are. Despite the fact that most Salafis not only refrain from engaging in such acts themselves but also actively condemn them, politicians from various Western countries have called for banning Salafi organisations or even Salafism altogether.

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How has map reading changed since the 1600s?

Literacy in the United States was never always just about reading, writing, and arithmetic. Remember in the 1980s and 1990s the angst about children becoming “computer literate”? The history of literacy is largely about various types of skills one had to learn depending on the era in which they lived.

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