Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

9780199337583

A collection of Victorian profanities [infographic]

Euphemisms, per their definition, are used to soften offensive language. Topics such as death, sex, and bodily functions are often discussed delicately, giving way to statements like, “he passed away,” “we’re hooking up,” or “it’s that time of the month.”

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9780199463473

A commemoration and a counter-revolution in the making

Two factors contributed to the quantum leap that the idea of district planning made. First was the Total Literacy Campaign which caught the nation’s attention; the success of quite a few districts in becoming ‘totally literate’ imparted a new thrust to UPE because it was realised that that success would be ephemeral if an inadequate schooling system spawned year after year a new brood of illiterates.

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9780198715511

Some very short reflections on social psychology

What emerged from these studies was a whole area of psychology that revealed the motives and processes that drive peoples’ prejudices. Discovering that it was a basic tendency to categorize that lies at the heart of prejudice had huge implications. It meant that to tackle prejudice we have to not only address the social, the economic and the political: we also need to tackle the psychological.

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9780190275105

The Devil’s best tunes

It’s been said that the Devil has all the best tunes. If this is true, he likes to keep a conspicuously low profile. While songs of praise for Jesus, God, Krishna, Buddha, the Virgin Mary, and a host of other deities, saints, and semi-deities abound, Satan is seldom properly hymned.

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Word Origins

Sartor resartus, or some thoughts on the origin of the word “cloth” and the history of clothes

I keep clawing at the bars of the cage I built for myself. But first a digression. Walter W. Skeat wrote numerous notes on English etymology, some of which he eventually put together and published in book form. Much to my regret, not too many kl-words attracted his attention. But I was amused to discover that the verb clop means not only the sound made by shoes or hoofs but also “to cling, adhere to.”

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9780190270193

Let’s tank tanking

“Tanking,” or deliberately trying to lose an athletic contest to gain a future competitive advantage, such as earning higher draft pick of prospective players, became the talk of the town or at least of many fans, in many US cities saddled with losing teams in such sports as hockey, basketball, and baseball. If actually practiced, however, tanking would exploit spectator, players, and coaches alike.

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9780199681167

Is globalization the problem?

Populist angst and anger is running through the United States presidential campaign, but also through the Brexit debates, directed at the political establishment, and also at globalization (with the European Union standing in for the latter in the UK context). This anger has taken policy elites by surprise, throwing wrenches into the works of carefully planned political campaigns by mainstream Republican, Democratic, Conservative, and Labour parties on either side of the Atlantic.

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9780199466801

Child labour in India: an uncertain future?

India is known to have the largest number of child labourers in the world. Consequently, it has come under intense media and political scrutiny both within India and from afar. Traditional understandings of the causes of child labour have focused on the economic, social-cultural, and historical milieus specific to India, such as caste, class, corruption, gender, illiteracy, lack of law enforcement, political apathy, poverty, religion, etc.

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9780190240356

How can history inform public policy today?

As a historian of philanthropy, I have wrestled with how to bring historical perspectives to my my own gifts of time and money. I study philanthropists in North America, the British Isles, and the Caribbean in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The distant past, you might think, and of little concern to our philanthropic practices today.

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9780199675661

Why cooperate?

Birds do it. Bees do it. Microbes do it, and people do it. Throughout nature, organisms cooperate. Humans are undeniably attracted by the idea of cooperation. For thousands of years, we have been seeking explanations for its occurrence in other organisms, often imposing our own motivations and ethics in an effort to explain what we see.

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9780198784098

Brexit, business, and the role of migration for an ageing UK

John Shropshire used to farm celery just in Poland. Why? Because celery production is labour intensive and Poland had abundant available labour. However, he now also farms in the Fens, Cambridgeshire. Why? Because the EU Single Market gives him access to the labour he needs. Not cheap labour – John pays the living wage to his workers – but available seasonal migrant workers from Central and Eastern Europe – 2500 of them.The strawberries enjoyed at Wimbledon are picked by similar labour, so are the hops in our British brewed beer.

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9780198726265_450

Making the English country house

In February 1764, Samuel Butler, the steward at Stoneleigh Abbey in Warwickshire, wrote to the London upholsterer, Thomas Burnett, that he should wait in sending furniture because ‘our house is now in greater confusion than ever … as we are making great alterations in the middle part of the house’. These changes were being made as a result of the recent coming of age of Edward, fifth Lord Leigh.

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9780199965038

Aldo Leopold’s legacy on our national parks

As my family gazed down on the stratified color bands of geological history in the Grand Canyon, snow and ice lined each ridge, and made each step on the path going down a dangerous adventure, highlighting the glorious drama of the miles-deep gorge. It was dizzying and frightening and awe-inspiring.

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9780199669042_450

A talent for politics? Academics, failure, and emotion

Sometimes a fragment of a book manages to lodge itself in the back of your mind. An idea, a description, a phrase…just something, and often completely unrelated to the core story, attaches itself to your mind like an intellectual itch you can’t quite scratch.

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9780199596775

How fast can you think?

A call comes through to the triage desk of a large hospital in the New York City metropolitan area: a pregnant woman with multiple abdominal gunshot wounds is due to arrive in three minutes. Activating a trauma alert, the head nurse on duty, Denise, requests intubation, scans, anesthesia, surgery, and, due to the special circumstances, sonography and labor and delivery. How is it possible to think about so much so quickly?

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