Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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African American lives

February marks a month of remembrance for Black History in the United States. It is a time to reflect on the events that have enabled freedom and equality for African Americans, and a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions they have made to the nation.

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‘And the Oscar went to …’

In his acceptance speech at the 1981 Oscars (best original screenplay, Chariots of Fire), Colin Welland offered the now famous prediction that ‘The British are coming!’ There have since been some notable British Oscar successes: Jessica Tandy for Driving Miss Daisy (1989); director Anthony Minghella for The English Patient (1996); Helen Mirren (in The Queen, 2006).

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A quiz on Prohibition

How much do you know about the era of Prohibition, when gangsters rose to power and bathtub gin became a staple? 2013 marks the 80th anniversary of the repeal of the wildly unpopular 18th amendment, initiated on 17 February 1933 when the Blaine Act passed the United States Senate. To celebrate, test your knowledge with this quiz below, filled with tidbits of 1920s trivia gleaned from The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America: Second Edition.

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Re-introducing Oral History in the Digital Age

By Caitlin Tyler-Richards
This week, in the spirit of our upcoming special issue on oral history’s evolving technologies, we want to (re)introduce everyone to the website Oral History in the Digital Age, a substantial collaboration between several institutions to “put museums, libraries, and oral historians in a position to address collectively issues of video, digitization, preservation, and intellectual property.

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A Valentine’s Day Quiz

It’s that time of the year again where the greeting cards, roses and chocolates fly off the shelves. What is it about Valentine’s Day that inspires us (and many of the great literary authors) to partake in all kinds of romantic gestures? This month Oxford Reference, the American National Biography Online, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and Who’s Who have joined together to create a quiz to see how knowledgeable you are in Valentine traditions. Do you know who grows some of the sweetest roses or hand-dips the sweetest treats? Find out with our quiz.

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Quiz on the word origins of food and drink

Did you know that ‘croissant’ literally means ‘crescent’ or that oranges are native to China? Do you realize that the word ‘pie’ has been around for seven hundred years in English or that ‘toast’ comes from the Latin word for ‘scorch’? John Ayto explores the word origins of food and drink in The Diner’s Dictionary. We’ve made a little quiz based on the book. Are you hungry for it?

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Public International Law Quiz

In the last fifty years, public international law has undergone a radical transformation, moving from a discipline which ‘the great majority of lawyers of all states [knew] little or nothing’ about (Oppenheim) to the fastest growing legal discipline. To celebrate the recent update to the Max Planck Encyclopedia of International Law, we present this quiz.

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Do you really know Who’s Who?

Do you know for how long Boris Johnson held his first job, or which music video The IT Crowd’s Richard Ayoade has produced? Who’s Who has become a phrase incorporated into our everyday language. With the iconic red-covered book or its online counterpart, you can get the lowdown of Who’s Who in politics, Who’s Who at the Oscars, even the Who’s Who of the cooking world. Written by the entrants themselves, the biographies not only walk you through their career and education but also, in some cases, reveal some interesting and unusual recreations! Take our quiz to see if you really know Who’s Who.

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Do you know your references and allusions?

Are you an Athena when it comes to literary allusions, or are they your kryptonite? Either way, the Oxford Dictionary of Reference and Allusion can be your Henry Higgins, providing fascinating information on the literary and pop culture references that make reading and entertainment so rich. Take this quiz, Zorro, and leave your calling card.

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A comic quotation quiz

Moliere wrote in La critique de l’école des femmes (1663) that “it’s an odd job, making decent people laugh.” In the hopes that 2013 will be filled with delightful oddity and humor, we present this quiz, drawn from the Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations, 4th edition. Edited by the late Ned Sherrin, the dictionary compiles words of wit and wisdom from writers, entertainers and politicians.

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Atlas of the World Quiz

School might be out for the holidays, but there’s still lots to learn. Since education never ends, we’ve prepared this geography quiz drawn from facts from the Oxford Atlas of the World, 19th edition. The only atlas to be updated annually, Oxford’s Atlas of the World combines gorgeous satellite images with the most up-to-date geographic and census information. Have fun geographers!

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Place of the Year 2012: Then and now

Oxford University Press hopes you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Following a weekend of food comas and couch potato-ing, here’s a slideshow celebrating the Place of the Year (POTY) shortlist nominees that hopefully will perk you up this morning. See how our ten finalists have changed over the years. We’re excited to announce the location that will join Yemen, South Africa, Warming Island, Kosovo and Sudan as a Place of the Year winner on December 3rd! Stay tuned!

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Announcing the Place of the Year 2012 Shortlist: Vote!

Happy Geography Awareness Week! At Oxford University Press, we’re celebrating by highlighting the interesting, inspiring and/or contentious places of 2012. The longlist, launched last month, took us from Iran to Cambridge, NY, the home of pie à la mode. We explored 29 places on Earth, but we couldn’t resist an extraterrestrial trip to Mars. Thanks to your votes in the most tightly watched election this year, we narrowed down the nominees to a shortlist.

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Announcing the Place of the Year 2012 Longlist: Vote!

As the year winds down, it’s time to take a look back. Alongside the publication of the 19th edition of The Atlas of the World, Oxford University Press will be highlighting the places that have inspired, shaped, and challenged history in 2012. We’re also doing things differently for Place of the Year (POTY) in 2012. In addition to our regular panel of geographers and experts, we’re opening up the choice to the public.

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The point of no return

By Alyssa Bender
If a theater noob polled a group of theater fans on what classic musicals she must see to jumpstart her theater education, you would be hard pressed to find a fan without The Phantom of the Opera on their list. The show, which opened at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London on 9 October 1986, has left an undeniable impact on London’s West End, Broadway, and theater in general.

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How much do you know about the piano?

By Alyssa Bender
In its three centuries of existence, the piano has become one of the most widely spread instruments in the world. In a quick poll of our music social media team here at Oxford University Press, nine out of eleven of us have had piano training. (Of course, we are the music social media team, so our results may be a bit skewed from other departments!)

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