Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World


Experiments in Art and Technology – Episode 37 – The Oxford Comment

Founded in 1966 by Billy Klüver, Fred Waldhauer, Robert Rauschenberg and Robert Whitman, Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) was a non-profit group that fostered collaboration between artists and engineers. Active between the 1960s and 1980s, E.A.T. recruited scientists and engineers to work with artists looking to incorporate new technologies into artworks, performances, and installations.

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Illuminating Shakespeare

What music would Shakespeare’s characters listen to?

Shakespeare’s characters can often appear far-removed from our modern day world of YouTube, Beyoncé and grime. Yet they were certainly no less interested in music than we are now, with music considered to be at the heart of Shakespeare’s artistic vision. Of course our offerings have come a long way since Shakespeare’s day, but we think it is a shame that they never had a chance to hear the musical delights of Katy Perry or Slipknot.

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Ten facts about the bass guitar

The bass guitar is often thought to be a poor musician’s double bass or a poor musician’s guitar. Nonetheless, luthiers and performers have explored its expressive possibilities within a wide range of musical styles and performance traditions, some of which we chart below.

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Songs of exile: a playlist for Psalm 137

Psalm 137 begins with one of the more lyrical lines in the Hebrew Bible: “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.” It ends eight lines later with one of the thorniest: “Happy shall he be, who taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.” Partly because it deals with music—another famous verse asks, “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?”—the psalm has been like poetic catnip, a siren song luring musicians and composers.

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What Jane heard

Music is everywhere and nowhere in Jane Austen’s fiction. Everywhere, in that pivotal scenes in every novel unfurl to the sound of music; nowhere, in that she almost never specifies exactly what music is being performed. For film adaptations this absence of detail can be a source of welcome freedoms, since the imaginative gap can be variously filled by choosing more or less appropriate historical repertoire

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From “O Fortuna” to “Anaconda”: A playlist of musical profanity

Almost everyone swears, or worries about not swearing, from the two-year-old who has just discovered the power of potty mouth to the grandma who wonders why every other word she hears is obscene. Whether they express anger or exhilaration, are meant to insult or to commend, swear words perform a crucial role in language. But swearing is also a uniquely well-suited lens through which to look at history

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Mind This Space: The psychology of our embodied senses

We’re all quite familiar with having five senses: sight, touch, taste, smell, and hearing. These senses help us understand the world outside our body. The idea of five senses is so ingrained that having a ‘sixth sense’ is a clue that something isn’t right. But what about other physical sensations?

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Émile Zola and the Rougon-Macquart

Listen to, and read a transcript of an interview from Nicola Barringer with Valerie Minogue, translator of Money by Émile Zola, part of the Rougon-Macquart cycle. In the interview, she introduces the Rougon-Macquart, Zola’s epic cycle of twenty novels.

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Mind this space: couple therapy

What happens in our relationships? This is the question that draws people into the profession of couple therapy. Therapists stand outside the couple in order to understand how their relationship systems and unconscious dynamics work. What is it that the couple have created between them? How can you restore the balance within that relationship?

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International Commercial Arbitration

Oxford Law Vox: Loukas Mistelis on international arbitration

International arbitration expert Loukas Mistelis talks to George Miller about current arbitration issues. Together they discuss how the international arbitration landscape has developed, how arbitration theory has attempted to catch up with practice, and ask whether the golden age of arbitration is now passed.

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Oxford Law Vox: deposit protection and bank resolution

In this episode of the Oxford Law Vox podcast, banking law expert Nikoletta Kleftouri talks to George Miller about banking law issues today. Together they discuss some of the major legal and policy issues that arose from the financial crisis in 2008, including assessing systemic risk and whether the notion of “too big to fail” is on the road to extinction.

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Top 10 Christmas carols countdown

Christmas is the busiest time of year by far for the Oxford Music Hire Library. Oxford University Press publishes most of the carols the world knows and loves – the one that has just popped into your head is probably one of ours – with newly-composed Christmas titles added every year. Carol orders come in as early as August and keep rolling in until worryingly close to the big day itself.

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Hip Hop & Obama Reader Cover

Hip hop & Obama playlist

When Obama ran for president in 2008, there’s no question that hip hop artists provided a vital soundtrack for his campaign. Energized by the possibility that Obama could become America’s first black president, deeply optimistic tracks like Will.i.am’s “It’s A New Day” and Kidz in the Hall’s “Work to Do (Obama 08)” celebrated Obama’s historic presidency.

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Landscapes of meaning

This week, we’re bringing you another exciting edition of the Oral History Review podcast, in which Troy Reeves talks to OHR contributor Jessica Taylor.

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Trick or treat – Episode 27 – The Oxford Comment

From baristas preparing pumpkin spiced lattes to grocery store aisles lined with bags of candy, the season has arrived for all things sweet-toothed and scary. Still, centuries after the holiday known as “Halloween” became cultural phenomenon, little is known to popular culture about its religious, artistic, and linguistic dimensions.

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The James Bond songs: Best of the forgotten and underrated

If you’re getting ready for the new Bond movie—and its recently released James Bond song—you might want to sift through the history of this 50-year-old franchise and think about your favorite Bond films and songs. But how many songs do you remember once you get past “Goldfinger” and “Live and Let Die”? We dug into the ones you might not recall, and those we believe deserve another listen. Here are our top 10.

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