Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Collective Emotions

Emotional dynamics of right-wing political populism

Donald Trump’s election to the 45th President of the United States is the biggest victory of contemporary right-wing political populism to date. The Brexit referendum had already shattered Europe and the UK “remain”-voters alike, but Trump’s win is of worldwide significance. The outcomes of both elections took the media, pollsters, and political analysts in the relevant countries and elsewhere by surprise.

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Trump should build on Obama’s legacy in Myanmar

President-elect Donald Trump has not made any public statement on what his administration’s policy toward Myanmar would be. But it can be guessed or speculated from his election campaign that Trump is unlikely to take a strong personal interest on Myanmar like his predecessor. However, as the leading advocate of human rights and democracy around the world, the US needs to continue its unfinished objectives in Myanmar, especially in areas such as the consolidation of democracy.

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Can we end poverty by 2030?

Is it possible to end extreme poverty? And by 2030? That’s the aim of the first of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These were adopted by all nations and have begun to drive conversations at global gatherings, including those that I have contributed to in recent weeks. This ambitious goal builds on the dramatic fall in worldwide poverty since 1990.

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The economic efficiency of fake news

Fake news has always had a presence American politics. No less an august figure than Benjamin Franklin partook of the practice. In 1782 Franklin generated a fake version of a real Boston newspaper, featuring his own inspired but false story about American troops uncovering bags of scalps to be sent to the King of England. As the story was spun, the scalps were intended to win the King’s friendship toward Native Americans.

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What ails India’s health sector?

Most discourse on the health sector in India ends with a lament about underfunding and not without reason. India is one of 15 countries in the world that has a public spending record of about 1% of its GDP on health. Such low spending cannot be expected to deliver much. After all, health is expensive. We need to understand what ails the health sector and what we need to do. For every problem has its solution embedded within it. Understanding what ails us provides us with the opportunity to go forward.

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What members of congress can learn from nurses

Once again, the American public have rated nurses as the most trusted professionals, as they have for the past 15 years. Members of Congress were at the bottom of the list, as they have been for the past five years. What’s the difference between nurses and members of Congress when it comes to trust?

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The life and work of J.B.S. Haldane

John Burdon Sanderson (JBS) Haldane (1892-1964) was a leading science popularizer of the twentieth century. Sir Arthur C. Clarke described him as the most brilliant scientific popularizer of his generation. Haldane was a great scientist and polymath who contributed significantly to several sciences although he did not possess an academic degree in any branch of science.

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The making of Wells: from Bertie to H. G.

Youthful Bertie Wells was understandably depressed in the depths of winter in early 1888. He had escaped the drudgery of being a draper’s apprentice with a scholarship, only to flunk his second-year university exams and lose his funding to the Normal School of Science in Kensington.

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Human Trafficking Prevention Month: There are no “teen prostitutes”

January is Human Trafficking Prevention Month, declared each year since 2010 by presidential decree. However, there is still confusion as to what exactly human trafficking is. Despite seven years of raising awareness , on 21st November, the Washington Post published a story with the headline “Two teen prostitutes escaped through a bathroom window, and a sex ring began to unravel.”

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India: a work in progress

Every country that is on the ascendant feels the need for a “coming out” party. In the last half century, that need has been met most often by hosting the Olympic Games. Japan did it in 1964, South Korea followed in 1988, and China in 2008. The Olympic itch seems to come in the wake of economic growth that takes per capita income to the vicinity of $6,000

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Labeling right in the age of Trump

Steve Bannon is a white nationalist. That was the first media characterization I heard of the former Breitbart executive after his appointment as chief strategist and senior counselor to President-elect Donald Trump on November 13, 2016. During the month that followed, center-left commentators also described Bannon as a “racist,” a “white supremacist,” a “white separatist,” a “neo-Nazi,” a “fascist.”

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Caring about the past in the embattled present

Growing up in Manhattan meant that I didn’t live among ancient ruins – just subway stations, high-rise apartments, and Central Park’s relatively recent architectural confections. It took living for a year in Europe as a six-year old and for another year as a ten-year old to develop awareness about our collective heritage stretching back millennia. Visiting the vacant site of Stonehenge on a blustery fall day in the early 1960s

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How the Mind Comes into Being

How the mind comes into being

When we interact with our world – regardless if by means of a simple grasp, a smile, or the utterance of a sentence – we are typically quite confident that it was us, who intended to and thus executed the interaction. But what is this “us”? Is it something physical or something mental? Is it merely a deterministic program or is there more to it? And how does it develop, that is, how does the mind come into being?

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The distinctiveness of German Indology – and its expression in German philosophy

German Indological scholarship was something of an anomaly given the link between colonial power and colonial knowledge. The German fascination surrounding “ancient Indian wisdom” unfolded in parallel with the rising interest in Germany’s pre-Christian past. What German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel is most known for today—with respect to his appraisal of Indian art, religion, and philosophy—is not how much time and energy he devoted to studying and writing about them, but instead his harsh critiques, unkind representations, his rudeness transgressing into outright racism.

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From good wine to ivy

Last week’s post was about the proverb: “Good wine needs no bush,” and something was said about ivy as an antidote to good and bad wine. So now it may not be entirely out of place to discuss the origin of the word ivy, even though I have an entry on it my dictionary.

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How has map reading changed since the 1600s?

Literacy in the United States was never always just about reading, writing, and arithmetic. Remember in the 1980s and 1990s the angst about children becoming “computer literate”? The history of literacy is largely about various types of skills one had to learn depending on the era in which they lived.

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