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British Medical Bulletin

Predicting exceptional performance at the Olympics in Rio: science or chance?

As every four years, we are now quickly approaching to the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, which will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 5 to 21 August 2016. The Olympics are the biggest sports event in the world, followed by the FIFA World Cup in football and the Tour de France of cycling, with as many as two billion people tuning in at some point during the event.

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Musical Prodigies

Is musical success written in the stars?

When we look at the so-called “miraculous gifts” of musical prodigies, it is easy to get caught up in the nature vs. nurture debate: are these prodigies born or made? But we won’t be entering here into the discussion as to whether genetics or education plays the greater role. Instead, there may be a secondary element to this debate that is often overlooked, an element that intrinsically ties together these two conflicting sides.

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Illuminating Shakespeare

When Shakespeare’s plays call for music, what kind of sound should we imagine?

Music at that time was special— magical even— and its effect would have been diminished by constant presence even if that were possible for the musicians, which it was not. David Lindley, indeed, points out that, in contrast to the modern use of filmic underscoring, music in Shakespearean theatre was ‘always part of the world of the play itself, heard and responded to by the characters on- stage’.

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9780199347667

The new jazz films (and their old models)

Recent months have seen the release of two movies about great jazz trumpeters from the 1950s and 60s: Miles Ahead (Don Cheadle, 2015) focusing on Miles Davis, and Born to Be Blue (Robert Budreau, 2015) focusing on Chet Baker (although Miles plays an important role in the latter too: his second cinematic revival in one year). The similarities don’t end there: both films are semi-fictional, homing in on a moment of crisis in their respective protagonists’ real lives and spinning a mostly fictional story around it.

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9780191816802

The enduring evolution of logic

Logic is a deep subject, at the core of much work in philosophy, mathematics, and computer science. In very general terms, it is the study of what (conclusions) follows from what (premises)—logical consequence. The Early Modern philosopher, Immanuel Kant, held that Aristotle invented logic, and at his hands it was complete. There was nothing left to be done. He was notoriously wrong.

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Illuminating Shakespeare

Shakespearian opera in the shadow of war

Over the past few years, Britain has commemorated Shakespeare’s life, works, and death in parallel with an extensive remembrance of the First World War and those who served in it. The elision of Shakespeare’s work with this particular conflict is not a new trend: 100 years ago, similar celebrations of Shakespeare were occurring in the midst of wartime, and both Britain and Germany were employing his image and plays for propaganda and recruitment purposes.

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9780198732716

Does death rob our lives of meaning?

I fear death, you might think, because the fact that I will die robs the things I do in my life of their meaning or their value or their worth. This, if it were true, would justify the feeling of vertigo and emptiness that comes when we reflect that we will die.

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Recognizing Robert Whitman

Born in 1935, Robert Whitman was a member of an influential, innovative group of visual artists– Allan Kaprow, Red Grooms, Jim Dine, and Claes Oldenburg– who presented theater pieces on the lower east side in Manhattan in the early 1960s. Whitman has presented more than 40 theater pieces in the United States and abroad, including The American Moon, Flower, Mouth, and most recently Passport (2011) and Swim (2015).

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9780190226602

How to stay both active and safe this summer

It’s no secret that summer is one of the most universally enjoyed parts of childhood. Waiting out the seemingly eternal last days of school – some have even been known to have a countdown starting in April – is a true act of patience. Then school finally ends. And it is time to ride bikes, play on sports teams and in tournaments, swim, hike, and possibly attend sports camps.

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Robert Whitman – Episode 36 – The Oxford Comment

Robert Whitman is a pioneering American artist who, in the company of other groundbreaking figures including Claes Oldenberg, Jim Dine, and Allan Kaprow, performed experimental performance art pieces in New York in the 1960s. In 1966, Whitman would become a founding member of the collective Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), along with Bell Labs engineers Billy Klüver and Fred Waldhaur and artist Robert Rauschenberg.

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OUP Philosophy Crest

Philosopher of the month: Hypatia

An astronomer, mathematician, philosopher, and active public figure, Hypatia played a leading role in Alexandrian civic affairs. Her public lectures were popular, and her technical contributions to geometry, astronomy, number theory, and philosophy made Hypatia a highly regarded teacher and scholar.

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9780198744757

The influence of premodern theories about sex and gender

Have you ever wondered why women are having such a hard time achieving equality with men in the church and the world? Or why intersex and transgender people are having such a hard time to be accepted as they are? Or why same-gender attraction still evokes visceral reactions among millions of straight people?

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Twelve interesting facts about chocolate

Did you know that 7th July is International Chocolate Day? This is, of course, a day to eat that extra piece of chocolate or bake (and then eat) a cake just for fun! But while you savor each bite of chocolaty goodness, keep in mind that behind the sweet flavor is a long and dynamic history that has traveled across oceans and transcended cultural boundaries.

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Illuminating Shakespeare

Shakespeare’s dramatic music

Whenever a public event requires a speech from Shakespeare to articulate the profundity of human experience, or to illustrate the cultural achievements of humankind (or perhaps Britain), there is a very good chance that someone will turn to Caliban.

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9780198732716

Does my death harm me?

Some people fear flying; some fear buttons; and many, many people fear their own death. We might try to argue a friend out of their fear of flying or their fear of buttons by showing them that the fear is irrational.

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