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Retail and the royals

With the arrival of little Princess Charlotte of Cambridge earlier this month, retailers will have inevitably experienced an influx of customers purchasing commemorative memorabilia and other royal baby related souvenirs. The UK economy is expecting a huge boost with the excitement generated by the new baby. With the Monarchy estimated to be worth £44 billion, we take a brief look at four ways the Royal family has given the UK’s economy a much needed lift in the past.

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The history of the nursing profession

Throughout history, nurses have been the unsung heroes of the medical profession. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, for instance, refused to proclaim a “Nurses’ Day” at the request of Dorothy Sutherland, an official with the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in 1953. More than two decades later, however, the International Council of Nurses (ICN), succeeded in establishing International Nurses Day on the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, a 19th century wartime nurse considered the founder of modern nursing.

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Civil War peas, shamrocks, and state beds: collecting a collection

The Chipstone Foundation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, an organization devoted to innovative museum practice as well as to the study of historic American furniture, American and British ceramics, and American prints, doesn’t always collect what one might expect. Recently we acquired three peas said to have been served at Andersonville Prison, a swatch from bareknuckle boxer Joe Goss’s colors, splinters from the wreck of an ill-fated arctic expedition, and a feather collected from a Russian state bed.

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A holding corporation called old America: Charles Mingus’ religious multitudes

You can’t understand jazz without its continual, creative religiosities. But to investigate this association is to encounter the scrambling of format and expectation in terms both musicological and religious. For while it is certainly true that jazz has strong roots in African-American Protestantism, not only do these roots twist in unexpected directions but there are other branches reaching into farther soils as well.

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Transparency and co-operation in the international trusts industry

It is, perhaps, unsurprising in a UK General Election year that tax transparency and tax information exchange continue to inform a fair amount of debate at the moment. As it evolves, this debate has demanded a real focus for those working both in International Financial Corporations (IFCs) and in the wider trust sector, with both communities often finding themselves in the frame when it comes to some of the political rhetoric and misinformation relating to secrecy, illicit financial flows and their supposed links with IFCs and trust structures.

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What the professor saw on YouTube

The pervasiveness of digital media in contemporary, moving-image culture is transforming the way we make connections of all kinds. The recent rediscovery of the 1903 film Cheese Mites is a perfect example, as the way the film came to light could only have taken place in the last decade. Cheese Mites is a landmark of early cinema, one of the first films ever made for general audiences about a scientific topic. It belonged to a series of films called “The Unseen World” and was made for the Charles Urban Company by F. Martin Duncan, a pioneer of microcinematography. It was a sensation in its day, capitalizing on the creepy fascination with microscopic creatures inhabiting our food and drink.

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The School for Scandal on the Georgian stage

Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s comic masterpiece ‘The School for Scandal’ premiered at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in May 1777. The play was an immediate success earning Drury Lane, which Sheridan owned and managed an enormous amount of money. ‘The School for Scandal’ explores a fashionable society at once addicted to gossip and yet fearful of exposure. Jokes are had at the expense of aging husbands, the socially inexpert, and, most of all, the falsely sentimental.

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How to write a great graduation speech

It’s graduation time at many of the nation’s schools and colleges. The commencement ceremony is a great exhalation for all involved and an annual rite of passage celebrating academic achievements. Commencement ceremonies typically feature a visiting dignitary who offers a few thousand inspirational words. Over the years, I’ve heard more of these speeches than I care to admit and have made my own checklist of suggestions for speakers. For those of you giving commencement speeches or listening to them, here’s my advice.

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Divided Sovereignty

Neverending nightmares: who has the power in international policy?

Late last year, North Korea grabbed headlines after government-sponsored hackers infiltrated Sony and exposed the private correspondence of its executives. The more significant news that many may have missed, however, was the symbolic and long overdue UN resolution condemning the crimes against humanity North Korean committed against its own people.

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Stonewall Jackson’s “Pleuro-Pneumonia”

On this day in 1863, General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, one of the wiliest military commanders this country ever produced, died eight days after being shot by his own men. He had lost a massive amount of blood before having his left arm amputated by Dr. Hunter Holmes McGuire, arguably the most celebrated Civil War surgeon of either side.

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What can we learn from Buddhist moral psychology?

Buddhist moral psychology represents a distinctive contribution to contemporary moral discourses. Most Western ethicists neglect to problematize perception at all, and few suggest that ethical engagement begins with perception. But this is a central idea in Buddhist moral theory. Human perception is always perception-as. We see someone as a friend or as an enemy; as a stranger or as an acquaintance. We see objects as desirable or as repulsive. We see ourselves as helpers or as competitors, and our cognitive and action sets follow in train.

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The evolution of the word ‘evolution’

It is curious that, although the modern theory of evolution has its source in Charles Darwin’s great book On the Origin of Species (1859), the word evolution does not appear in the original text at all. In fact, Darwin seems deliberately to have avoided using the word evolution, preferring to refer to the process of biological change as ‘transmutation’. Some of the reasons for this, and for continuing confusion about the word evolution in the succeeding century and a half, can be unpacked from the word’s entry in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

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Brain function and brain surgery in children with epilepsy

Our actions, thoughts, perceptions, feelings, and memories are underpinned by electrical activity, which passes through networks of neurons in the brain. As a child grows and gains new skills their brain changes rapidly and brain networks are formed and strengthened with learning and experience.

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Masur Book

Why Lincoln’s last speech matters

Lincoln’s last speech, delivered on 11 April 1865, seldom receives the attention it deserves. The prose is not poetic, but then it was not meant to inspire but to persuade. He had written the bulk of the speech weeks earlier in an attempt to convince Congress to readmit Louisiana to the Union.

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Byron's Letters

Literary fates (according to Google)

Where would old literature professors be without energetic postgraduates? A recent human acquisition, working on the literary sociology of pulp science fiction, has introduced me to the intellectual equivalent of catnip: Google Ngrams. Anyone reading this blog must be tech-savvy by definition; you probably contrive Ngrams over your muesli. But for a woefully challenged person like myself they are the easiest way to waste an entire morning since God invented snooker.

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How can we reconstruct history on the silver screen?

A perpetual lament of historians is that so many people get their historical knowledge from either Hollywood or the BBC. The controversies that surrounded Lincoln and Selma will no doubt reappear, in other guises, with the release of Wolf Hall, based on Hilary Mantel’s popular historical novel. Historical films play an outsize role in collective historical knowledge, and historians rightly bemoan the inaccuracies and misleading emphases of popular film and television: no doubt a generation of viewers believe that the Roman Republic was restored by a dying gladiator.

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