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9780190212094

The evolution of evolution

How did it come to this? How was evolution transformed from a scientific principle of human-as-animal to a contentious policy battle concerning children’s education? From the mid-19th century to today, evolution has been in a huge tug-of-war as to what it meant and who, politically speaking, got to claim it.

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Summer school for oral historians

When I joined UC Berkeley’s Oral History Center (OHC) in late 2013, I quickly began work designing, planning, and running the Advanced Oral History Summer Institute (SI), which is organized around the life cycle of the interview. Because leading the SI is one of my most important roles at the OHC, it’s hard for me to be objective about its value (I think our week is a robust resource and provides excellent formal training).

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The invention of the information revolution

The idea that the United States economy runs on information is so self-evident and commonly accepted today that it barely merits comment. There was an information revolution. America “stopped making stuff.” Computers changed everything. Everyone knows these things, because of an incessant stream of reinforcement from liberal intellectuals, corporate advertisers, and policymakers who take for granted that the US economy shifted toward an “knowledge-based” economy in the late twentieth century.

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Ancient Greek and Egyptian interactions

“You Greeks are children”. That’s what an Egyptian priest is supposed to have said to a visiting Greek in the 6th century BC. And in a sense he was right. We think of Ancient Greece as, well, “ancient”, and it is now known to go back to Mycenaean culture of the second half of the 2nd millennium BC. But Egyptian civilisation is much earlier than that: in the mid 2nd millennium BC it was at its height (the “New Kingdom”), but its origins go right into the 3rd millennium BC or even earlier.

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What is the most important word in historical scholarship today?

In addition to catching up with authors and discovering new research, the annual Organization of American Historians conference is a productive and inspiring time to check-in on the state of the field. This OAH in Providence, we had one burning question on our mind: What is one important word that all historians should have on their minds?

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How legal history shapes the present

The field of “legal history” studies the relationship that “law” and legal institutions have to the society that surrounds them. “Law” means everything from local regulations and rules promulgated by administrative agencies, to statutes and court decisions. Legal history is interested in how “law” and legal institutions operate, and how they change over time in reaction to changing economic, social, and political conditions.

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Addressing Japanese atrocities

After decades of tension over Japan’s failure to address atrocities that it perpetrated before and during World War II, the island nation’s relations with its regional neighbors, China and South Korea, are improving. Six weeks ago, for the first time in years, representatives of Japan’s Upper House resumed exchanges with Chinese parliamentarians.

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Copies of Shakespeare’s First Folio around the world [map]

The first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays printed in 1623 – known as the First Folio – has a rich history. It is estimated that around 700 or 750 copies were printed, and today we know the whereabouts of over 230. They exist in some form or another, often incomplete or a combination of different copies melded together, in libraries and personal collections all over the world.

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Hate crime and anti-immigrant “talk”

Republican Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have called for the mass deportation of undocumented workers, the majority of whom hail from Mexico. To many liberals, the anti-immigrant rhetoric of these Republican candidates seems oddly anachronistic—a terrible throwback to an earlier America when we were less in touch with our melting pot roots.

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Who was Bill Philips?

Austerity, uncertainty, instability … all problems we associate with Europe today as it cycles from pre-GFC exuberance to today’s austerity. But to put things in perspective, these are minor problems compared what our grandparents endured after World War Two. In Britain many people did not have enough to eat, the government had secret plans for national catastrophe, the Cold War was raging, the colonies erupting, and Sterling was in crisis. In those days there were few policy economists, and macroeconomics was caught in a battle between non-interventionist classical economics and the Keynesian revolution of demand management.

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Theatre and race in Lorraine Hansberry’s Les Blancs

Many playwrights have explored race relations, particularly in America. The growth of the Civil Rights Movement gave rise to a range of plays protesting racism and exploring the African American experience. Lorraine Hansberry made history as the first black woman to have a play on Broadway: A Raisin in the Sun, also the first play on Broadway to be directed by a black director.

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The Easter Rising – Episode 33 – The Oxford Comment

This past Easter marked the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, an armed uprising by Irish rebels against British rule in 1916. An insurrection that lasted almost a week, the Easter Rising began as a small rebellion on Easter Sunday and turned into a full uprising by Easter Monday, 24 April 1916.

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The history behind Ukraine’s 2016 Eurovision song

Most entries to the Eurovision song contest are frothy pop tunes, but this year’s contribution from Ukraine addresses Stalin’s deportation of the entire Tatar population of Crimea in May 1944. It may seem an odd choice, but is actually very timely if we dig a little into the history of mass repression and inter-ethnic tensions in the region. Almost a quarter of a million Tatars, an ethnically Turkic people indigenous to the Crimea, were moved en masse to Soviet Central Asia as a collective punishment for perceived collaboration with the Nazis.

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President William Henry Harrison’s fatal “pneumonia”

William Henry Harrison was 68 years old when he became the ninth president of the United States and the oldest US president until Ronald Reagan was elected nearly a century and a half later. He was sworn into office on 4 March 1841. Exactly one month later, he was dead.

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