Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World


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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Junior doctor contracts: should they be challenged?

On Saturday 17th October, 16,000 people marched to protest against the new junior doctor contracts in London for the second time. The feeling at the protest was one of overwhelming solidarity, as people marched with placards of varying degrees of humour. Purposely misspelled placards reading “junior doctors make mistaks” were a popular choice, while many groups gathered under large banners identifying their hospital, offering 30% off.

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The politics of the ‘prisoners left behind’

At the time of its creation, the Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentence, targeted at ‘dangerous offenders’ considered likely to commit further serious offences, elicited little parliamentary debate and even less public interest. Created by the Labour government’s Criminal Justice Act 2003, the sentence was subsequently abolished by the Conservative-led coalition government in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

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Seven ways to start and keep your writing going

Beginnings are tough. But if we’d only get started, our marks and words on the page can bootstrap our next moves. Marks and words out there, on the page, feed what in neuroscience is called our brain’s “perception-action” cycle. Through this built-in and biologically fundamental mechanism, we repeatedly act on the world, and then look to see what our actions have wrought in the world.

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Beginning Theory at 20

I had settled down with a pint and a ploughman’s at The Wellington in Park Road — the Friday lunchtime custom of LSU College academic staff — when Paul Gardner, our convivial HoD, asked casually, if I might be interested in devising an undergraduate course in literary theory. Being young and naïve (it was around 1982), I expressed enthusiasm, and Paul said, as if casually, ‘Could you do it for Monday?’

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You’ll be a man, my son. Part 1

The title will probably be recognized at once: it is part of the last line of Kipling’s poem “If.” Unfortunately, Kipling’s only son John never became a man; he was killed in 1918 at the age of eighteen, a casualty of his father’s overblown patriotism. Our chances to reach consensus on the origin of the word man are not particularly high either.

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Ten things you never knew about Elizabeth Stuart, ‘the Winter Queen’

Elizabeth Stuart (1596–1662) was the charismatic daughter of King James VI of Scotland (later James I of England) and Anna of Denmark. She married the Calvinist Frederick V, Elector Palatine, at age 16, and lived happily in Heidelberg, Germany, for six years before being crowned Queen of Bohemia at 23 and moving to Prague.

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The impact of On the Origin of Species

Charles Darwin was widely known as a travel writer and natural historian in the twenty years before On the Origin of Species appeared in 1859. The Voyage of the Beagle was a great popular success in the 1830s. But the radical theories developed in the Origin had been developed more or less in secret during those intervening twenty years.

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Hurst Publishers: 5 academic books that changed the world

Which books have changed the world? Given our news today, one might expect that books no longer have as great an impact on it. ISIS has Syria in turmoil and refugees are making their way to Europe; the United States is gearing up for an election that may determine the future for many others around the globe; China is changing in rapid and unexpected ways, with political and economic consequences rippling around the world.

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