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India’s foreign policy at a cusp?

Is India’s foreign policy at a cusp? The question is far from trivial. Since assuming office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited well over a dozen countries ranging from India’s immediate neighborhood to places as far as Brazil. Despite this very active foreign policy agenda, not once has he or anyone in his Cabinet ever invoked the term “nonalignment”. Nor, for that matter, has he once referred to India’s quest for “strategic autonomy”.

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OUP Philosophy Creast

How well do you know Ludwig Wittgenstein? [quiz]

This June, we’re featuring Ludwig Wittgenstein as our philosopher of the month. Born into a wealthy industrial family in Austria, Wittgenstein is regarded by many as the greatest philosopher of the 20th century for his work around the philosophy of language and logic. Take our quiz to see how well you know the life and studies of Wittgenstein.

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Oxford Dictionaries

Twerking since 1820: an OED antedating

When the word twerk burst into the global vocabulary of English a few years ago with reference to a dance involving thrusting movements of the bottom and hips, most accounts of its origin pointed in the same direction, to the New Orleans ‘bounce’ music scene of the 1990s, and in particular to a 1993 recording by DJ Jubilee, ‘Jubilee All’, whose refrain exhorted dancers to ‘twerk, baby, twerk’. However, information in a new entry published in the historical Oxford English Dictionary this month, as part of the June 2015 update, reveals that the word was in fact present in English more than 170 years earlier.

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Real change in food systems needs real ethics

In May, we celebrated the third annual workshop on food justice at Michigan State University. Few of the people who come to these student-organized events doubt that they are part of a social movement. And yet it is not clear to me that the “social movement” framing is the best way to understand food justice, or indeed many of the issues in the food system that have been raised by Mark Bittman or journalists such as Eric Schlosser, Michael Pollan or Barry Estabrook.

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Elspeth Brown on digital collaboration in LGBTQ oral history

This week on the Oral History Review blog, we’re continuing our recognition of LGBTQ Pride month with a special podcast featuring Elspeth Brown. In the podcast, Brown discusses the LGBTQ Oral History Digital Collaboratory, as well as her work as a member of the community and a historian. Check out the links below for more information, and send us your proposals if you’d like to share your work with the OHR blog.

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TWECEB (Blog)

Does everyone love the National Health Service? Uncovering history’s critics

The National Health Service (NHS) has never just been about the state’s provision of universal healthcare. Since 1948, it has been invested with a spectrum of ‘British values’, including decency, fairness, and respect. Featured in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, and hailed in polls as the thing that makes people most proud of being British, the NHS enjoys widespread affection.

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Hope, women, the police panchayat, and the Mumbai slums

The Mumbai slums have recently achieved a weird kind of celebrity status. Whatever the considerable merits of the film Slum Dog Millionaire and the best-selling book by Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers (now also a play and a film), these works have contributed to the making of a contemporary horror myth.

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9780199313396 - Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Are you a sugar scholar?

How much do you know about all things sweet? Are you an obsessive “Top-tier Sugar Scholar”? Or are you a dabbling “Sugar Novice”? No matter your level of scholarship, if sweetness and obscure facts are your game, we have just the perfect quiz for you.

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Look away now: The prophecies of Nostradamus

If you like your prophecies pin sharp then look away now. The 16th century celebrity seer Nostradamus excelled at the exact opposite, couching his predictions in terms so vague as to be largely meaningless. This has not, however, prevented his soothsayings attracting enormous and unending interest, and his book – Les Propheties – has rarely been out of print since it was first published 460 years ago. Uniquely, for a renaissance augur, the writings of Nostradamus are perhaps as popular today as they were four and a half centuries ago.

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Foods and festivals of Ramadan around the world

On 17 June, the new moon signaled the start of Ramadan (or Ramzan as it’s called throughout South Asia), the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar in which observant Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, and sex during daylight hours. Increased religious devotion sets the tone for the month as Muslims gather for special prayers, acts of charity, and Qur’anic recitations in gratitude and devotion to God.

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Music mentorship and the learning process

At age 23 I had finished my second degree in vocal performance from a distinguished music program, but so what? I felt that I was too young and inexperienced in the professional world to embark on a solo career. As luck (and connections) would have it, a well-known recording group in the Midwest, The Roger Wagner Chorale, eventually offered me that on-the-road experience and performance confidence that would also allow me to meet one of the greatest singing actors of the 20th century.

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African health leaders claiming the future

Health leaders in sub Saharan African countries face some of the most demanding challenges anywhere in the world. Disease, poverty, the legacy of colonialism and, all too often, conflict, corruption and political instability, combine to make improving health extraordinarily difficult. Looking back we can see many great African health leaders who have played their part as the following few examples show.

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Gaudiano

Can schizophrenia really be treated by “talk therapy” alone?

A recent study published by psychologist Anthony Morrison and colleagues in the British medical journal, The Lancet, is stirring up a long-standing debate about the treatment of schizophrenia. The article describes a randomized controlled trial with people diagnosed with schizophrenia who refused to take psychiatric medications called “antipsychotics.” The researchers tested whether these patients could be treated with a form of talk therapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in lieu of medications.

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Lesbian existence and marginalization in India

India’s first ‘lesbian ad’ went viral at the start of June this year. The advert featuring a young lesbian couple awaiting the arrival of one set of parents to their joint home is uncompromisingly ‘out’ even as it sets this exceptional moment in the everyday intimacy and domesticity that most relationships share. The ad is actually part of a new digital campaign launched by the brand Myntra for its range of ‘contemporary ethnic apparel’ called Anouk.

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Word Origins And How We Know Them

The history of the word ‘bad’

Our earliest etymologists did not realize how much trouble the adjective bad would give later researchers. The first of them—John Minsheu (1617) and Stephen Skinner (1671)—cited Dutch quaad “bad, evil; ill.” (Before going on, I should note that today quad is spelled kwaad, which shows that a civilized nation using the Roman alphabet can do very well without the letter q.)

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Receiving “Laudato Si”: will Pope Francis be heard?

Pope Francis’ recent encyclical, Laudato Si, will be surrounded for some time by intense debate among and between journalists, columnists, Catholic journals, political leaders, and environmentally-focused scientists and NGOs. In other words, the fight over how it’s received is well underway. In the 125 years or so that papal social encyclicals have been written, their reception has been hotly debated, with the most infamous such episode occurring in the pages of the National Review.

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