Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World


Israel’s survival amid expanding chaos

In world politics, preserving order has an understandably sacramental function. The reason is plain. Without minimum public order, planetary relations would descend rapidly and perhaps irremediably into a “profane” disharmony.

Read More

Great Power: a ‘bridge too far’ for India?

Think of it. India was there when the Pharaohs ruled Egypt, it interacted with the long ago Mesopotamian empires on the Tigris and the Euphrates. India was the mysterious beyond Alexander of Macedon set out to conquer, and Indian spice and precious stones, finely woven cottons and silk, and peacocks, were the luxuries and the exotica craved by Imperial Rome in the age of the Caesers.

Read More

Combatting the IS’s law violations: Should we reprise reprisals?

Since its inception, the Islamic State (IS) has engaged in continuous behavior that violates the law of armed conflict (LOAC). These acts include the torture and killing of civilians; inhumane treatment of detainees generally, and in particular, women; forced compliance with religious and cultural practices; and, most recently, the systematic destruction and/or illegal sale of important cultural property.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More

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’.

Read More
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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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?

Read More
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.

Read More

Aylan Kurdi: A Dickensian moment

The international response to the photographs of the dead body of three year-old Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi, washed ashore on a Turkish beach on 2 September 2015, has prompted intense debate. That debate has been not only about the proper attitude of Britain and other countries to the refugee crisis, but also about the proper place of strong emotions in political life.

Read More

John Oliver, Televangelists, and the Internal Revenue Service

John Oliver’s sardonic spoof of televangelists raises important issues that deserve more than comic treatment. Oliver’s satire was aimed both at the televangelists themselves and at the IRS. In Oliver’s narrative, the IRS acquiesces to televangelists’ abuse by granting their churches tax-exempt status and failing to audit these churches.

Read More