Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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Eight facts about the gun debate in the United States

By Philip J. Cook and Kristin A. Goss
The debate over gun control generates more heat than light. But no matter how vigorously the claims and counterclaims are asserted, the basic facts are not just a matter of personal opinion. Here are our conclusions about some of the factual issues that are at the heart of the gun debate.

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Politics and cities: looking at the roots of suburban sprawl

Our modern-day suburban sprawl is much more than bad architecture and sloppy planning, yet there might be a simple solution. Benjamin Ross, author of Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism, argues that the expansion of rail transit would help us to create better places to live.

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Discussing gay and lesbian adults’ relationships with their parents

By Corinne Reczek
The growing support for same-sex marriage rights represents an important shift in the everyday lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people in the United States today. However, the continued focus on same-sex marriage in the media, by states, and by local governments, and by scholars and researchers leaves other arenas of the family lives of gay and lesbian adults relatively unexplored.

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Why we love libraries: the Aussie way

This week is National Library and Information Week in Australia — a week-long celebration of library and information professionals across the country. To celebrate the wonderful work of Australian libraries and librarians, here are a few thoughts on why libraries are so important, from those at the very heart of them.

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Writing a graphic history: Mendoza the Jew

By Ronald Schechter
Let me begin with a confession. I used to be a snob when it came to comics. I learned to read circa 1970 and even though my first books were illustrated, there was something about the comic format – the words confined to speech and thought bubbles and the scenes subdivided into frames – that felt less than serious. The only time I remember being allowed to buy comic books was when I had just been to the doctor’s office.

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Do immigrant immigration researchers know more?

By Magdalena Nowicka
The political controversies over immigration intensify across Europe. Commonly, the arguments centre around its economic costs and benefits, and they reduce the public perception of immigrants to cheap workforce. Yet, increasingly, these workers are highly skilled professionals, international students and academics.

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Pauline Hall recalls her early years and how her teaching career began

By Pauline Hall
I spent my first seven years living in Amen Court in the City of London, 100 metres from the northwest corner of St Paul’s Cathedral. I still have vivid memories of this time including recollections of lavish children’s parties given by Dean Inge (the so-called Gloomy Dean) for the cathedral choristers, hearing the call of the cats’ meat man who fed the rat-catching office cats, and the daily round of the lamplighter who tolerated the ‘help’ of a seven year-old assistant.

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Developing a module for Oxford Scholarship Online

By Nicola Wilson
When I was invited to develop two lists for Oxford Scholarship Online, I jumped at the chance. From the perspective of a commissioning editor, digital publishing has extended the ‘life’ of our copyrights indefinitely, and we no longer need to hold a book in physical print for it to continue to be available to our readers.

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Very short talks

By Chloe Foster
We have seen an abundance of Very Short Introductions (VSI) authors appearing at UK festivals this year. Appearances so far have included at Words by the Water festival in Keswick, Oxford Literary Festival, and Edinburgh Science festival. The versitility of the series and its subjects means our author talks are popular at a variety of different types of festivals

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Creative ways to perform your music: tips for music students

By Scott Huntington
Many music students have difficulty finding new venues in which to perform. A lot of the time it’s because we let our school schedule our performances for us. We’ll start the semester and circle the dates on the calendars that include our concerts and recitals, and that will be it. That’s fine, and can keep you pretty busy, but I’m here to tell you to get out there and plan on your own.

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Parent practices: change to develop successful, motivated readers

By Jamie Zibulsky and Anne E. Cunningham
Being literate involves much more than the ability to sound out the words on a page, but acquiring that skill requires years of development and exposure to the world of words. And once children possess the ability to sound out words, read fluently, and comprehend the words on a page, they have limitless opportunities to learn about new concepts, places, and people.

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When science stopped being literature

By Jim Secord
We tend to think of ‘science’ and ‘literature’ in radically different ways.  The distinction isn’t just about genre – since ancient times writing has had a variety of aims and styles, expressed in different generic forms: epics, textbooks, lyrics, recipes, epigraphs, and so forth.

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In memoriam: Harm de Blij

Oxford University Press is saddened to hear of the passing of Harm de Blij on Thursday, 27 March 2014. De Blij was a giant in geography and had an illustrious career as a teacher, researcher, writer, public speaker, and TV personality. He was passionate and he was one of those people who brought out the best in those around him.

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Elinor and Vincent Ostrom: federalists for all seasons

By John Kincaid
When Elinor Ostrom visited Lafayette College in 2010, the number of my non-political science colleagues who announced familiarity with her work astonished me. Anthropologists, biologists, economists, engineers, environmentalists, historians, philosophers, sociologists, and others flocked to see her.

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What is academic history for?

By Paula A. Michaels
Writing on Saturday in The Age, popular historian Paul Ham launched a frontal assault on “academic history” produced by university-based historians primarily for consumption by their professional peers.

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