Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World


Failed versus rogue states: which are worse?

Today, the international community has its hands full with a host of global challenges; from rising numbers of refugees, international terrorism, nuclear weapons proliferation, to pandemics, cyber-attacks, organized crime, drug trafficking, and others. Where do such global challenges originate? Two primary sources are rogue states like North Korea or Iran and failed states like Afghanistan or Somalia.

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The origins of the Religious Right: a Q & A with Neil Young

Neil J. Young traces the interactions among evangelicals, Catholics, and Mormons from the 1950s to the present day to recast the story of the emergence of the Religious Right. We sat down with him to find out a bit more about his process researching the book, what role Mormons have in the rise of the Religious Right, and what the Religious Right’s relationship with Ronald Reagan was.

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An educated fury: faith and doubt

Novelists are used to their characters getting away from them. Tolstoy once complained that Katyusha Maslova was “dictating” her actions to him as he wrestled with the plot of his last novel, Resurrection. There was a story that after reading Mikhail Sholokhov’s And Quiet Flows the Don, Stalin praised the work but advised the author to “convince” the main character, Melekhov, to stop loafing about and start serving in the Red Army.

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Historical “emojis”

Emojis originated as a way to guide the interpretation of digital texts, to replace some of the clues we get in ordinary speech or writing that help us understand what someone is trying to communicate. In person or over the telephone, facial expression and voice modulation help us get our meaning across; in most forms of writing — blog posts, stories, even emails — we have the luxury of expressing ourselves at some length, which hopefully leads to clarity.

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Emojis and ambiguity in the digital medium

The selection of the ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ emoji by Oxford Dictionaries as its Word of the Year recognises the huge increase in the use of these digital pictograms in electronic communication. While 2015 may have witnessed their proliferation, emoji are not new. They were originally developed in Japan in the 1990s for use by teenagers on their pagers; the word emoji derives from the Japanese e ‘picture’ + moji ‘character, letter’.

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How and why are scientific theories accepted?

November 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity. This theory is one of many pivotal scientific discoveries that would drastically influence our understanding of the world around us.

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Three challenges for the International Criminal Court

The Rome Statute system is a partnership between the International Criminal Court as an institution and its governing body, the Assembly of States Parties. Both must work together in order to overcome a number of challenges, which fall within three broad themes.

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5 academic books that will shape the future

What is the future of academic publishing? We’re celebrating University Press Week and Academic Book Week with a series of blog posts on scholarly publishing from staff and partner presses. Following on from our list of academic books that changed the world, we’re looking to the future and how our current publishing could change lives and attitudes in years to come.

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Katy Perry vs. William Shakespeare: Grammar showdown

Why is Katy Perry’s song title “I Kissed a Girl” grammatically correct? Which famous playwright frequently mixed up “who” vs. “whom?” Are students as terrible at using modern grammar as they think they are? We sat down with author and grammarian, Stephen Spector, to learn more about the history of English grammar and how we can get better at using it.

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SIPRI Yearbook Online

Are you a foreign affairs expert? [quiz]

From peace missions and cyber attacks, border disputes and disarmament treaties taking place across the globe, there’s no doubt that 2014 was a tumultuous and eventful year for foreign affairs and international relations. Which government declared itself feminist in 2014? Do you know which countries spend the most on their military? Who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize […]

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Amartya Sen on gender equality

Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, author of The Country of First Boys: And Other Essays talks to Amrita Dutta from The Indian Express about why inequality persists, his educational experiences, and his love for Sanskrit literature.

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A timeline of academic publishing at Oxford University Press

What is the future of academic publishing? We’re celebrating University Press Week (8-14 November 2015) and Academic Book Week (9-16 November) with a series of blog posts on scholarly publishing from staff and partner presses. Today, we present a timeline that shows how academic publishing has developed in Oxford since 1478.

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Booker T. Washington’s undervalued legacy

When Booker T. Washington died on this day in 1915, he was widely regarded not just as “the most famous black man in the world” but also “the most admired American of his time.” In the one hundred years since his death, he and his legacy have lost much of their luster in the eyes of the public, even though he, no less than Frederick Douglas, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Martin Luther King, Jr., is one of the foremost figures in the history of the American civil rights movement.

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