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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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Coronation Music

Sunday 2 June marks the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey in London. It also therefore follows that it is the anniversary of the works which were first performed at the coronation, including William Walton’s Orb and Sceptre March and Coronation Te Deum, and Ralph Vaughan Williams’s O taste and see and Old Hundredth Psalm Tune (All people that on earth do dwell).

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Hyperconnectivity and governance

Professor Ian Goldin talks to Matthew Flatman of Pod Academy about the dilemmas our hyper-connected world faces. There are many benefits, but also many drawbacks, to our growing globalization and interconnectedness. How can we tackle these issues at a local, regional, national, and global level?

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Online resources for oral history

After listening to this week’s podcast with managing editor Troy Reeves and oral historian extraordinaire Doug Boyd, you might think the Oral History Review has fallen prey to corporate sponsorship. Let me assure you, dear audience, that we are not in bed with Starbucks, E-Harmony, or General Mills. Instead, it seems Doug, guest editor of our special issue “Oral History in the Digital Age” and author of “OHMS: Enhancing Access to Oral History for Free,” is prone to elaborate metaphors when describing oral history best practices.

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Dust off your flags … it’s Eurovision time!

By Annie Leyman
Love it or hate it, you can’t deny that the Eurovision Song Contest has a unique appeal. Although often seen as tacky, extravagant and occasionally politically controversial, that doesn’t stop around 125 million people around the world watching it each year! It has helped to launch careers, in the cases of ABBA and Bucks Fizz, as well as destroy them (cast your memories back to Jemini, aka ‘nul points’).

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The physiological, psychological, and biological reasons for crying

Are humans the only species to cry for emotional reasons? How are tears linked to human evolution and the development of language, self-consciousness, and religion? Which parts of the brain light up when we cry? How is crying related to empathy and tragedy? Why can some music bring people to tears? Below, you can listen to Michael Trimble talk about the topics raised in his book Why Humans Like to Cry: Tragedy, Evolution, and the Brain.

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Oxford University Press at the BBC Proms 2013

Every year, around mid-April, music lovers await the news that the BBC proms schedule has been announced. We look forward to the old favourites, the new commissions, the excited atmosphere, and some of the best performers in the world. When summer arrives, scores of people—young and old alike—travel to London to visit the Royal Albert Hall and be part of this great British tradition.

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World War II vocabulary

To celebrate the imminent release of Oral History Review (OHR)’s latest issue, 40.1, on oral history in the digital age, we’re delighted to share a chat between managing editor Troy Reeves and contributor Lindsey Barnes. Barnes and her colleague Kim Guise are co-authors of “World War Words: The Creation of a World War II–Specific Vocabulary for the Oral History Collection at The National WWII Museum,” a case study of developing controlled vocabulary for the oral history collections at the National WWII Museum.

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Five women songwriters who helped shape the sound of jazz

The songwriting business offered few opportunities to women in the early 20th century.  And jazz bandleaders, despite their own experiences with discrimination, were hardly more tolerant of female talent. Although audiences expected the leading orchestras to showcase a ‘girl singer’, women were rarely allowed to serve in other capacities, either on the bandstand or writing arrangements and compositions.

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Mothering Sunday and Mother’s Day

This Sunday, if you give (or receive) cards, flowers, and gifts for Mothering Sunday, spare a thought forConstance Adelaide Smith. In 1913 Constance read an article in a local newspaper which described plans to introduce to Britain an American ‘Mother’s Day’ celebration. The aim, as devised by the Philadelphian Anna Jarvis, was to establish a celebration to be held annually on the second Sunday in May

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Valentine’s Day serenades

Love is in the air at Oxford University Press! As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, we’ve asked staff members from our offices in New York, Oxford, and Cary, NC, to share their favorite love songs. Read on for their selections, and be sure to tell us what your favorites are too. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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On this day: the 50th anniversary of Sylvia Plath’s death

Philip Carter
Today, 11 February 2013, marks the 50th anniversary of the death of the poet Sylvia Plath (1932-1963). It is an event that has significantly shaped biographies and critical studies of her work — particularly following the publication of Ariel (1965), her posthumous collection edited and prepared by Ted Hughes. Then, as now, many reviewers regarded these poems as foretelling the circumstances of her death. Plath’s biography in the Oxford DNB offers an alternative perspective.

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Plagiarized or original: A playlist for the contested music of Ira B. Arnstein

From the 1920s to the 1950s, Ira B. Arnstein was the unrivaled king of music copyright litigants. He spent the better part of those 30 years trying to prove that many of the biggest hits of the Golden Age of American Popular Song were plagiarized from his turn-of-the-century parlor piano pieces and Yiddish songs. “I suppose we have to take the bad with the good in our system which gives everyone their day in court,” Irving Berlin once said, but “Arnstein is stretching his day into a lifetime.”

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The discourse of the blues

Happy New Year, everyone! The Oral History Review is ringing in 2013 with a second oral history podcast. This week, managing editor Troy Reeves speaks with Roger Davis Gatchet about his Oral History Review article, “‘I’ve Got Some Antique in Me’: The Discourse of Authenticity and Identity in the African American Blues Community in Austin, Texas.” (Vol 39, issue 2). And if that isn’t enough to entice you, there’s also (what Troy assures me is) a really hilarious Weird Al Yankovic joke.

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No jingles: an alternative Christmas playlist

Christmas is, almost inescapably, a time of music. A lot of it is familiar and much-loved, but for those who might be looking for some more adventurous listening this year – beyond Slade, the Messiah, and Victorian carols – here are some pointers to alternative Christmas music from down the ages.

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The life of J.R.R. Tolkien

By Philip Carter
Published in 1937 The Hobbit was Tolkien’s first published work of fiction, though he had been writing on legends since at least 1915. His creation — a mythological race of ‘hobbits’, in which Bilbo Baggins takes the lead — had originally been intended for children. But from the outset Tolkien’s saga also proved popular with adults, perhaps appreciative of the hobbits’ curiously English blend of resourcefulness and respectability.

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