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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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Celebrating 50 years of the Voting Rights Act

On 6 August 2015, the Voting Rights Act (VRA) will be turning 50 years old. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson approved this groundbreaking legislation to eliminate discriminatory barriers to voting. The Civil Rights Movement played a notable role in pushing the VRA to become law. In honor of the law’s birthday, Oxford University Press has put together a quiz to test how much you know about its background, including a major factor in its success, Section 5.

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Medicare and end-of-life medical care

Medicare recently announced that it will pay for end-of-life counseling as a legitimate medical service. This announcement provoked little controversy. Several groups, including the National Right to Life Committee, expressed concern that such counseling could coerce elderly individuals to terminate medical treatment they want. However, Medicare’s statement was largely treated as uncontroversial—indeed, almost routine in nature.

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Rubenstein-Between Samaritans and States

Being a responsible donor

Part I of this post addressed a familiar question: how should individuals concerned about international issues decide where to donate money? Here I turn to a second, less familiar question that follows from the first: what is entailed in being a responsible donor after the question of where to donate has been settled?

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Dangerous minds: ‘Public’ political science or ‘punk’ political science?

The end of another academic year and my mind is tired. But tired minds are often dangerous minds. Just as alcohol can loosen the tongue (in vino veritas) for the non-drinkers of this world fatigue can have a similar effect (lassitudine veritas liberabit). Professional pretensions are far harder to sustain when one is work weary but I can’t help wondering if the study of politics has lost its way.

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Toilet paradigms and the sanitation crisis in India

Sanitation has evinced considerable interest from policy-makers, lawmakers, researchers and even politicians in recent years. Its transformation from a social taboo into a topic of general conversation is evident from the fact that one of the central themes of a recent mainstream Bollywood production (Piku, 2015) was the inability of the protagonist’s father to relieve himself.

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The Long Defeat

What can we expect at Japan’s 70th war commemoration?

As we approach the 70th anniversary of the end of Japan’s War, Japan’s “history problem” – a mix of politics, identity, and nationalism in East Asia, brewing actively since the late 1990s – is at center stage. Nationalists in Japan, China, and the Koreas have found a toxic formula: turning war memory into a contest of national interests and identity, and a stew of national resentments.

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Medicare and Medicaid myths: setting the 50-year record straight

Over the past half-century, Medicare and Medicaid have constituted the bedrock of American healthcare, together providing insurance coverage for more than 100 million people. Yet these programs remain controversial: clashes endure between opponents who criticize costly, “big government” programs and supporters who see such programs as essential to the nation’s commitment to protect the vulnerable.

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making the poor free

India’s unique identification number: is that a hot number?

Perhaps you are on your way to an enrollment center to be photographed, your irises to be screened, and your fingerprints to be recorded. Perhaps, you are already cursing the guys in the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for making you sweat it out in a long line.

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9780199576302

Ten myths about the French Revolution

The French Revolution was one of the most momentous events in world history yet, over 220 years since it took place, many myths abound. Some of the most important and troubling of these myths relate to how a revolution that began with idealistic and humanitarian goals resorted to ‘the Terror’.

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9780199670802

The end of liberalism?

Following the disastrous performance of the Liberal Democrats in the recent British election, concern has been expressed that ‘core liberal values’ have to be kept alive in British politics. At the same time, the Labour Party has already begun a process of critical self-examination that would almost certainly move it to what they consider more centrist ground.

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Indirect discrimination in US and UK law

The set of (relatively) liberal recent pronouncements from the United States Supreme Court features a judgment in Texas Department of Housing v Inclusive Communities Project(2015). The Court, by a slender majority, held that the Fair Housing Act 1968 prohibited not just disparate treatment (direct discrimination in UK law), but also disparate impact (indirect discrimination), based on race.

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The Urgenda decision: balanced constitutionalism in the face of climate change?

Over the coming months and years, much will undoubtedly be written about Urgenda v Netherlands, the decision by a District Court in the Hague ordering the Dutch Government to ‘limit or have limited’ national greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25% by 2020 compared to the level emitted in 1990. A full analysis of the decision is due to appear in the Journal of Environmental Law before the end of the year, but given the myriad of legal issues thrown up by the case, it deserves the close and immediate attention of a wide community of scholars and practitioners.

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Publius_Blog

Marijuana legalization in the American states: recent developments and prospects

Although in the U.S. marijuana remains illegal under federal law, a number of states have legalized marijuana in some fashion. Sam Kamin, author of “The Battle of the Bulge: The Surprising Last Stand Against State Marijuana Legalization,” agreed to answer several questions from John Dinan, editor of Publius: The Journal of Federalism, about recent developments in this area and the future of marijuana law reform in the U.S.

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Chari-Life After Privatization

Let’s fly away: IAG and Aer Lingus

News has erupted of another potential merger and acquisition (M&A) in the Airline sector – the acquisition of Irish airline Aer Lingus by the International Airlines Group, IAG. IAG, the product of the merger in the early 2010s between ex-state-owned enterprises British Airways and Spain’s Iberia, has become one of the world’s global giants, ranked in the latest Forbes 2000 index of 2015 as the third largest airline in the world.

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Contemporary Muslims and the challenge of modernity

In my 22 years of teaching and writing about Arabic and Islamic Studies, I have probably heard every kind of naive and uninformed comment that can possibly be made in the West about Islam and Muslims. Such remarks are not necessarily all due to ill will; most of the time, they express bewilderment and stem from an inability to find accessible, informed sources that might begin to address such widespread public incomprehension. Add that to the almost daily barrage of news and media commentary concerning violence in the Middle East and South Asia, two regions viscerally connected with Islam and Muslims.

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Mailks-Kant's Politics in Context

Was the French revolution really a revolution?

The French celebrate their National Day each year on July 14 by remembering the storming of the Bastille, the hated symbol of the old regime. According to the standard narrative, the united people took the law in its own hands and gave birth to modern France in a heroic revolution. But in the view of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), the famous German philosopher, there was no real revolution, understood as an unlawful and violent toppling of the old regime.

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