Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Book thumbnail image

Football arrives in Brazil

By Matthew Brown
Charles Miller claimed to have brought the first footballs to Brazil, stepping off the boat in the port of Santos with a serious expression, his boots, balls and a copy of the FA regulations, ready to change the course of Brazilian history. There are no documents to record the event, only Miller’s own account of a conversation, in which historians have picked numerous holes.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Sam sells

By Adam Grossman
It is rare for a seventh round National Football League (NFL) draft pick to be at the center of the sports world. Then again, Michael Sam is not an average draft pick. Sam is trying to become the first openly gay player to compete for a NFL team.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Banning Sterling makes a lot of cents for the NBA

By Adam Grossman
Donald Sterling’s lifetime National Basketball Association (NBA) ban, $2.5 million dollar fine, and potentially forced sale of the Clippers may seem fit in the category of previous owners who received a comparable punishment. Marge Schott was forced to sell the Cincinnati Reds for her anti-Semitic and racist comment while owner of the team.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

The Compleat Earth Day

First published by Izaak Walton in 1653, The Compleat Angler remains one of the most original and influential books about the environment ever written in the English language. Walton’s narrative depicts a group of urbanites whose appreciation of the natural world deepens as they go fishing in the countryside north of London. In honor of Earth Day, here are some interesting facts about The Compleat Angler as an environmental text.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

What’s the secret to high scores on video games?

By Siu-Lan Tan
When playing video games, do you play better with the sound on or off? Every gamer may have an opinion—but what has research shown? Some studies suggest that music and sound effects enhance performance. For instance, Tafalla (2007) found that male gamers scored almost twice as many points while playing the first-person shooter game DOOM with the sound on (chilling music, weaponfire, screams, and labored breathing) compared to those playing with the sound off.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Did Russia really spend ‘$50 billion’ on the Sochi Olympics?

By Michael Alexeev and Shlomo Weber
Much of the world is now watching the Winter Olympics in Sochi. While most people are primarily interested in the athletic achievements, the fact that the Games are taking place in Russia has also brought the Russian political system, economy, human rights, etc., into focus, inadvertently highlighting the interaction of the still pervasive Soviet legacy and the momentous changes since the collapse of the USSR.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Fishing with Izaak Walton

By Marjorie Swann
The Compleat Angler opens with a man seeking companionship on a journey. “You are well overtaken, Gentlemen,” Izaak Walton’s alter-ego Piscator (Fisherman) exclaims as he catches up with Venator (Hunter) and Auceps (Falconer) north of London. “I have stretched my legs up Tottenham-hill to overtake you, hoping your business may occasion you towards Ware whither I am going this fine, fresh May morning.”

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Super Bowl ads and American civil religion

By Peter Gardella
The two most controversial, apparently contradictory Super Bowl ads—Bob Dylan’s protectionist, “American Import” Chrysler ad and Coca-Cola’s multilingual rendition of  “America the Beautiful”—show the breadth of American civil religion. As religion scholars have long observed, it belongs to the nature of religious language to self-destruct.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Homophobia as extremism: the cost to freedom of choice

By Amos N. Guiora
As has been repeatedly and thoroughly documented, Russian President Vladimir Putin is, for lack of a better word, a homophobe. Putin’s incessant drum beating targeting homosexuals and lesbians led President Obama, Chancellor Merkel, and President Hollande to publicly announce they will not attend next month’s Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Seeing the ball: The view from Seattle to the Super Bowl

By Viki McCabe, PhD
How did the Seattle Seahawks, “the best collection of leftovers this side of the day after Thanksgiving” according to sports writer John Boyle and the “guys who have kind of been thrown aside by other teams, guys with chips on the shoulders” pointed out fondly by former Seahawk wide receiver Brandon Stokely punch the ticket to the 2014 Super Bowl?

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Celebrate National Trivia Day with Oxford trivia

Today, Saturday the 4th of January, is National Trivia Day. We may employ a few competitive pub quiz champs in our offices, so we gathered together a few trivia questions from our resources to play a game. Why not bring these puzzlers to your next Trivia Night and let us know how it goes?

Read More
Book thumbnail image

A perfect ten?

By Stuart George
On 10 July 2013, a potential 50 playing days of Test cricket – ten consecutive Test matches of up to five days each – between England and Australia began. Try explaining to an American how two national teams can play each other for 50 days (or even five days). Or how a match can be ended by “ bad light” in a floodlit stadium.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

The wait is now over

By Erik N. Jensen
Let’s get one thing straight about Andy Murray’s Wimbledon singles title: It was not the first one by a Briton in 77 years, despite what the boisterous headlines might have you believe. London’s venerable Times set the tone on July 8 with its proclamation, “Murray ends 77-year wait for British win.”

Read More