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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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Your Place of the Year

As we wrap up the Oxford Atlas Place of the Year project for 2013, we thought we’d open the floor for some personal Places of the Year — that is, locations which have made a significant impact in our individual lives in 2013. Below are year-end picks from some OUP USA staffers.

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Syria’s civil war: historical forces behind regional realities

By Michael Hunt
Critics of the Obama administration’s Syrian policy have lamented its failure to take into account regional realities. With surprising speed those realities have put the brakes on US intervention. The anti-regime forces in Syria have remained deeply divided — indeed turned violently against each other — and resistant to outside guidance.

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Between ‘warfare’ and ‘lawfare’

By Carsten Stahn
The Syria crisis has challenged the boundaries of international law. The concept of the ‘red line’ was used to justify military intervention in response to the use of chemical weapons. This phenomenon reflects a trend to use law as a strategic asset or instrument of warfare (‘lawfare’).

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Putting Syria in its place

By Klaus Dodds
Where exactly is Syria, and how is Syria represented as a place? The first part of the question might appear to be fairly straight forward. Syria is an independent state in Western Asia and borders Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Israel. It occupies an area of approximately 70, 000 square miles, which is similar in size to the state of North Dakota. Before the civil war (March 2011 onwards), the population was estimated to be around 23 million but millions of people have been displaced by the crisis.

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Ancient Syria: trouble-prone and politically volatile

By Trevor Bryce
I have long been fascinated with Syria. Like other Middle Eastern regions, it has many layers of civilization and has seen many conquerors and raiders tramp and gallop through its lands over the centuries. That of course has been the fate of lots of countries, ancient and modern.

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Seven facts of Syria’s displacement crisis

By Khalid Koser
Conflicts and crises regularly force people to flee their homes; and the plight of the displaced is often overlooked. In the case of Syria, however, displacement is not simply an unfortunate side-effect. Its massive volume threatens to render the country unsustainable for generations.

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Syria and the social netwar 2011-2013

Syria is Oxford University Press’s Place of the Year, and to call attention to the sociopolitical turmoil in the country, we present a brief excerpt from Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age of the Urban Guerrilla by David Kilcullen. This is a powerful study of the important role technology, particularly social media, plays in the war zone in Syria.

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Place of the Year 2013: Then and Now

Thanksgiving is a time for reflection on the past, present, and future. In our final week of voting for Place of the Year, here’s a look at some of the many changes undergone by the nominees. Which of these will steal the crown from Mars, the 2012 Place of the Year?

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Place of the year 2013: Spotlight on Syria

As we continue to tally the votes for Place of the Year 2013, Joshua Hagen, co-author of Borders: A Very Short Introduction, shares some background information on the history of Syria. After you’ve read the reasons surrounding why Syria made the shortlist, cast your vote for what you think the place of the year should be. We’ll announce the winner on Monday, 2 December 2013.

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Reflections on Disko Bay

By Patricia Seed
Miniature icebergs that would fit in the palm of my hand float along the water’s edge, but the air is cold enough to resist the impulse to crouch down and remove my gloves to pick them up. Looking up across the glass-like surface, I spot hundreds of similar chunks like pieces of frozen vanilla popsicle that have fallen just out of reach.

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Announcing the Place of the Year 2013 Shortlist: Vote for your pick

In honor of Oxford’s 20th edition of the acclaimed Atlas of the World, we put together a longlist of 20 places around the globe for our yearly Place of the Year competition. The votes have been tallied, the geography committee has provided their essential input, and the shortlist nominees have been decided upon.

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Place of the Year 2013: Behind the longlist

The 2013 Oxford Place of the Year (POTY) process is now in full swing. The longlist poll closes this Thursday, so be sure to get your votes in! (Scroll to the bottom of this page to vote.) The POTY shortlist will be announced on Monday, 4 November 2013.

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Place of the Year: History of the Atlas

At the end of each year at Oxford University Press, we look back at places around the globe (and beyond) that have been at the center of historic news and events. In conjunction with the publication of the 20th edition of Oxford Atlas of the World we launched Place of the Year (POTY) 2013 last week. In honor of 20 editions of the Atlas, we put together a longlist of 20 nominees that made an impact heard around the world this year. If you haven’t voted, there’s still time (vote below).

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Place of the Year: Through the years

Next week we launch our annual Place of the Year Contest (POTY), where we reflect back on the world’s hits and misses. Our panel of geography experts are hard at work compiling a list of places that have made an impact felt around the world in 2013. One place will be chosen as the winner. While they compile the most newsworthy locales, we wanted to reflect back on past years’ winners.

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