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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Social Sciences


Richard Cobden: hero of the Left or Right?

This year marks the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the death of the great Victorian politician and ‘sage’, Richard Cobden, born in 1804, who died on 2 April 1865. Once a name familiar to every school-child, the prophet of ‘free trade, peace, and goodwill’ is now all but forgotten save among professional historians but he has spawned a diverse political legacy.

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James Baldwin and The Fire This Time

As the fires burned in Baltimore, following the arrest and subsequent death of Freddie Gray in April 2015, protesters brandished placards with quotations from James Baldwin’s work, and thousands of blogs and twitter feeds invoked the legendary writer.

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French History cover

Subversive voting, or how the French spoil their ballot papers

You might not guess, but the image below celebrating the Second Republic of 1848 was cast at Dijon as a negative vote in the referendum of 1851, which sought approval for the coup d’état that brought Louis-Napoleon (nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte) to power in France. The overwhelming majority voted positively but, among a minority of dissenters, there were those who chose to graphically illustrate their opposition. Others made adverse written comments on their papers and still more defaced the ballot they had been instructed to use by the newly installed Napoleonic authorities, or submitted blank pieces of paper to the ballot box.

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Boulton-Embracing Complexity

Simplicity in a complex world

There is a polarization in management and policy thinking. On the one hand, there is an increasing focus, for organizations, on defining detailed rules, standardizing methods, evidencing and measuring outcomes. The intention is to make the hospital, school, or firm work as an efficient, optimized, well-oiled machine.

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Four top tips about student finance

Starting University can be daunting. For most, becoming a University student is the beginning of a new academic challenge and social life. However, with these exciting ventures comes financial responsibility.

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Journal of Refugee Studies

Time to reform the international refugee regime

Europe is currently scrambling to cope with the arrival of over one million asylum seekers. Responses have ranged from building walls to opening doors. European Union countries have varied widely in their offers to resettle refugees.

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Separating Church and State

Since the 17th century Western thinkers have struggled with the problem of how to stop conflicts over religious differences. Not long ago, we mostly thought that the problem had been solved. Two rather different solutions served widely as paradigms, with many variations. One was the American Separation of Church and State, and the other French laïcité, usually if misleadingly translated as “secularism”.

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Celebrating five years of Oxford Bibliographies

The librarians at Bates College became interested in Oxford Bibliographies a little over five years ago. We believed there was great promise for a new resource OUP was developing, in which scholars around the world would be contributing their expertise by selecting citations, commenting on them, and placing them in context for end users.

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14764989 political analysis

Text analysis for comparative politics

Every two days, humans produce more textual information than the combined output of humanity from the dawn of recorded history up through the year 2003. Much of this text is directly relevant to questions in political science. Governments, politicians, and average citizens regularly communicate their thoughts and opinions in writing, providing new data from which to understand the political world and suggesting new avenues of study in areas that were previously thought intractable.

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Oxford Economic Papers

Greek wages in crisis: Whose loss and whose hope?

Anyone who is even remotely familiar with the crisis in Greece must be aware of its record-high unemployment. From an already elevated value of 8% in 2008, the Greek unemployment rate rocketed to 27% in 2013 and has since remained in that ballpark.

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Amartya Sen on poverty in India

Just before the release of his new book, The Country of First Boys, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen talks exclusively to the Hindustan Times‘ Manjula Narayan about our blindness to poverty, flaws of the Gujarat model, miniaturisation of great ideas by the Hindu right wing and interference in academia.

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Police shootings and the black community

In a recent Huffington Post piece entitled “Police Shootings Are About Class as Well as Race,” Jesse Jackson argued that the issue of police violence specifically, and an unjust and excessive criminal justice system in general, are disproportionately experienced by the poor, irrespective of race.

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17585368 gerontologyseriesb

Grandparents’ Day: A reading list

On Sunday September 13, the United States will celebrate National Grandparents’ Day. This annual holiday, held on the first Sunday after Labor Day, celebrates our grandmothers and grandfathers. Marian McQuade, grandmother to 43 and great-grandmother of 15, is widely credited with founding the holiday.

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From colony to modern state: a history of India’s foreign policy

Since the turn of the century, the number of scholars and practitioners with an in-depth knowledge of India has multiplied worldwide. Specifically, close attention has been paid to the country’s international relationships, international objectives, and policy implementations as a result of its relevance to a wide range of global actors. But what accounts for India’s rapid ascension to the global stage?

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OxBibs in African Studies

There are many excellent African leaders

A common perception is that the problem with Africa is its leaders. In 2007, Sudanese billionaire Mo Ibrahim even created a major cash prize through his charitable foundation as an incentive to African heads of state to treat their people fairly and equitably and not use their countries’ coffers for their personal enrichment.

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The direct link between income and impact: savvy music teachers

On the surface, the suggestion that the best independent music teachers are those who earn the most money seems ludicrous. No obvious, mathematical correlation can be drawn between fiscal and pedagogical success. We have all encountered incredible educators who struggle to make ends meet, or financially comfortable ones who are mediocre instructors at best.

Yet I argue that there is indeed a parallel. When done right, impact and income are closely related bedfellows. Savvy Music Teachers (SMTs) find ways to make them both go up, in harmony.

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