Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

9780198739593_450

The question of belonging

“Don’t discuss the writer’s life. Never speculate about his intentions.” Such were the imperatives when writing literary criticism at school and university. The text was an absolute object to be dissected for what it was, with no reference to where it came from. This conferred on the critic the dignity of the scientist. It’s surprising they didn’t ask us to wear white coats.

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9780198705130

What is life?

Did you learn about Mrs Gren at school? She was a useful person to know when you wanted to remember that Movement, Respiration, Sensation, Growth, Reproduction, Excretion, and Nutrition were the defining signs of life. But did you ever wonder how accurate this classroom mnemonic really is, or where it comes from?

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9780195387070

Monthly etymology gleanings for July 2015

During the month of July I have received some questions, comments, and queries about things new to me. Thus, I know next to nothing about Latvian (my Indo-European interests more often make me turn to Lithuanian) and feel insecure when it comes to Romance etymology. The questions made me examine the areas that would under normal circumstances have not attracted my attention, and I am pleased.

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Boon

What makes a good policing leader?

Over the last 20 years I have been involved in policing leadership development against a backdrop of increasing complexity. I have had the enviable role of having been a police officer, medically retired as a result of an almost fatal stabbing, as well as being a coach and mentor to high performing leaders at all levels in the service.

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9780199837250

A treatment for despair and loss of meaning

The Psychotherapy Laboratory within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at MSKCC was established about 12 years ago. I have been the Director of the Lab from its establishment. In addition to developing interventions for anxiety, depression, and PTSD, we have studied a whole group of existential problems that had as yet no established interventions.

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9780195324969

Ethnomusicology’s queer silences

An audible silence lingers in the field and fieldwork of ethnomusicology. Queer subjects and topics have made few appearances in the literature to date. Such paucity doesn’t owe to an absence of LGBTQ-identified members and allies; by and large, ethnomusicologists are as fabulous and open-minded as scholars come. So why has queer ethnomusicology arrived late to the party?

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making the poor free

India’s unique identification number: is that a hot number?

Perhaps you are on your way to an enrollment center to be photographed, your irises to be screened, and your fingerprints to be recorded. Perhaps, you are already cursing the guys in the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for making you sweat it out in a long line.

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9780198705161_450

How much money does the International Criminal Court need?

In the current geopolitical context, the International Criminal Court has managed to stand its ground as a well-accepted international organization. Since its creation in 1998, the ICC has seen four countries refer situations on their own territory and adopted the Rome Statute which solidified the Court’s role in international criminal law. Is the ICC sufficiently funded, how is the money spent, and what does this look like when compared to other international organisations?

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9780199576302

Ten myths about the French Revolution

The French Revolution was one of the most momentous events in world history yet, over 220 years since it took place, many myths abound. Some of the most important and troubling of these myths relate to how a revolution that began with idealistic and humanitarian goals resorted to ‘the Terror’.

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9780199453610_450

Selfies in black abayas

Today, when worlds collide with equal force and consequence as speeding cars on a California highway, can we imagine escaping the impact of even a single collision? Is the option of being miraculously air-lifted out of the interminable traffic log-jams available for us, even if we are spared physical injury? Just as avoiding California highways is an impossibility (given the systemic destruction of public transportation system), meeting head-on forces of neoliberal globalization with its unique technological, financial, and ideological structures is an inevitability.

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9780199670802

The end of liberalism?

Following the disastrous performance of the Liberal Democrats in the recent British election, concern has been expressed that ‘core liberal values’ have to be kept alive in British politics. At the same time, the Labour Party has already begun a process of critical self-examination that would almost certainly move it to what they consider more centrist ground.

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9780199656967

Indirect discrimination in US and UK law

The set of (relatively) liberal recent pronouncements from the United States Supreme Court features a judgment in Texas Department of Housing v Inclusive Communities Project(2015). The Court, by a slender majority, held that the Fair Housing Act 1968 prohibited not just disparate treatment (direct discrimination in UK law), but also disparate impact (indirect discrimination), based on race.

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9780198732501_450

William Godwin on debt

William Godwin did not philosophically address the question of debt obligations, although he often had many. Perhaps this helps to explain the omission. It’s very likely that Godwin would deny that there is such a thing as the obligation to repay debts, and his creditors wouldn’t have liked that.

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9780195397734

A different Pioneer Day

On 24 July 1847, Brigham Young, the Mormon prophet, entered the Salt Lake Valley with the first company of Latter-day Saint pioneers. They had endured an arduous trek across the American plains after having been forcibly driven from Nauvoo, Illinois. Entering the Salt Lake Valley, Latter-day Saints expressed both bitterness and joy.

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Soloman_Making Medical Knowledge

On ‘cookbook medicine,’ cookbooks, and gender

It is not a compliment to say that a physician is practicing “cookbook medicine.” Rather, it suggests that the physician is employing a “one size fits all” approach, applying unreflective, impersonal clinical methods that may cause patient suffering due to lack of nuanced, reflective, and humanistic care. The best physicians—just like the best cooks—make use of creativity, intuition, judgment, and even je ne sais quoi.

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9780199913787

Five unexpected areas influenced by the Christian Reconstruction

Beginning in the early 1960s, a Calvinist scholar named Rousas John Rushdoony started a movement called “Christian Reconstruction.” Rushdoony sought to develop a “biblical worldview” in which every aspect of life is governed by biblical law from the Old and New Testaments. The movement has been influential in some very conservative corners of American Christianity, especially the religious right.

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