Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Illuminating Shakespeare

Shakespeare: living in a world of witches

Since he was born a year after the Witchcraft and Conjuration Act of 1563 brought about the era of the witch trials in England, it is hardly a surprise that witches and witchcraft would come to feature in Shakespeare’s work.

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Prejudice you aren’t aware of (what to do about it)

Employment, education, healthcare, justice, housing. These are some of the central services in society because they help people live the best life they can. But it will come as no surprise to most people that access to these services and treatment at their hands differs greatly depending on whether you are a man or a woman, the way you are racialized, your sexuality, whether or not you have a disability, and so on.

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Hamilton and the theatrical legacy of Leonard Bernstein

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton: An American Musical is a runaway success on Broadway—enough so that just about everyone reading this post, regardless of personal demographics or geographic location, will likely have heard about it. They might also be listening obsessively to the original-cast CD. Perhaps they’ve even memorized it. Hamilton has already won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and it earned a record 16 Tony Award nominations, with high expectations for a sweep at the awards ceremony on Sunday, June 12th.

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Prodigy or savant: two sides of the same coin?

As adults, we remain fascinated with images of young children performing extraordinary feats, with platforms such as YouTube offering us an unending wealth of mini Mozarts and baby Einsteins for us to feast our eyes and ears on, and providing the perfect fodder for our daily Facebook feeds. We are filled with awe at the sight of such small individuals undertaking tasks that most adults only dream of undertaking.

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9780198777984 Boden - AI

On the Singularity, emotions, and computer consciousness

The term ‘artificial intelligence’ was coined as long ago as 1956 to describe ‘the science and engineering of making intelligent machines’. The work that has happened in the subject since then has had enormous impact. Margaret Boden is Research Professor of Cognitive Science at the University of Sussex, and one of the best known figures in the field of Artificial Intelligence. We put four common questions to her about this exciting area of research.

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Leaving the kennel, or a farewell to dogs

My series on the etymology of dog and other nouns with canine roots has come to an end, but, before turning to another subject, I would like to say a few moderately famous last words. For some reason, it is, as already mentioned, just the names of the dog that are particularly obscure in many languages (the same holds for bitch and others).

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Filling the void: the Brexit effect on employment law

Having been cast as unnecessary “red tape”, a burden on business, inflexible, uncompetitive and inefficient, it is widely assumed that a sizeable number of domestic employment laws derived from European Law will be in the firing line in the event of a Brexit.

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Why Congress should pass the Multi-State Worker Tax Fairness Act

On 17th May, a massive fire caused Metro-North Railroad to reduce its commuter train service to and from Grand Central terminal. In light of this service disruption, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates Metro-North, “encouraged” commuters “to consider working from home.”

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Observing Ramadan at the Qatar National Library

Every year, we welcome June with dreams of beaches, warm sunshine and a well-deserved vacation. This year, for over 1 billion Muslims across the globe, June represents something more spiritual as it marks the holy month of Ramadan.

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Why Sykes-Picot is (still) important

The centenary of the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement has been marked by what can only be described as a deluge of writing. Opinions have been numerous, sometimes tiresomely so, and have ranged exceedingly widely.

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Ten under-appreciated ancient thinkers [timeline]

The influence and wisdom from ancient philosophers like Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato is undeniable. But how well do you know the life and works of Macrina, Philo of Alexandria, or Gorgias? Although known for his work in botany, did you know Theophrastus was a pupil of Plato?

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Ecological development and adapting to change

World Environment Day is celebrated on 5 June to encourage positive environmental action. Instituted by the United Nations in 1974, it provides a global platform for public outreach in promoting the importance of the protection of our environment.

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The forgotten history of piracy in the Indian Ocean

Strangely enough, in this contest between sovereignty and piracy, law played a minor role. European sovereigns periodically made ritual invocations of the natural law that held pirates as enemies of all mankind, but in reality, the seas remained an unbounded realm. Thus, in the context of India’s western seaboard, piracy happened more in the littoral than on the high seas.

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