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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Oxford Islamic Studies Online

An Interview with Jörg Matthias Determann

When I first started researching historiography in Saudi Arabia, I came across many publications by government organizations, as they were the most readily available. At first glance, many of these history books told the same story: a narrative that focused on the royal family and its creation of a first Saudi state during the eighteenth century, a second Saudi state during the nineteenth century, and finally the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the twentieth century.

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Social Work

Elimination of violence against women reading list

The World Health Organization estimates that “about 1 in 3 (35%) women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.” Few data exists and measurements can vary substantially across cultures, but evidence suggests that even more women face psychological violence: 43% of women in the European Union have encountered “some form of psychological violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.”

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libraries

Conversations and collaborations: lessons from the Charleston Conference

As a first-time attendee of the Charleston Library Conference earlier this month, I knew I was headed for a few idea-charged days, but was overwhelmed by the amount of things I learned from the conference. The conference, according to its website, “is designed to be a collegial gathering of individuals from different areas who discuss the same issues in a non-threatening, friendly, and highly informal environment.”

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Jacob Tonson the elder, international spy and businessman

Few have heard of him today, but Jacob Tonson the Elder (1656?-1736) was undoubtedly one of the most important booksellers in the history of English literature. He numbered Addison, Behn, Congreve, Dryden, Echard, Oldmixon, Prior, Steele, and Vanbrugh among those canonical authors whom he published. His reputation was international, and the quality and range of his classical editions remained a benchmark throughout the eighteenth century.

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How did Shakespeare originally sound?

We all know the classic Shakespearean lines – “To be or not to be,” “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?” or “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” — but how would these famous lines have sounded to Elizabethan audiences? Are we currently misinterpreting the Bard? This question has been on the mind of Shakespeare scholars, directors, actors, and audiences for a long time, and has proved a tricky problem.

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Helping students excel with integrity

On 19 October 2016 the International Center for Academic Integrity called for education institutions to join an International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating. Using the hashtags #defeatthecheat and #excelwithintegrity, students and staff were invited to share their declarations of why ‘contract cheating’ (that is, paying someone to do your academic work) is wrong. The idea was to raise awareness – not just within institutions but in the public and legislative domains too.

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Encyclopedia of Social Work

Donate smarter this Thanksgiving and holiday season

You probably know about how important it is to donate food to your local soup kitchen during the holiday season (and the rest of the year, as well!), but do you ever give much thought to what you’re donating? Do you ever give food you wouldn’t necessarily want to feed to your kids in large quantities?

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The life and times of Samuel Pepys

Samuel Pepys penned his famous diaries between January 1660, and May of 1669. During the course of this nine year period, England witnessed some of the most important events in its political and social history. The diaries are over a million words long and recount in minute and often incredibly personal detail, events such as the restoration of the monarchy, the Second Anglo-Dutch War, the Great Fire, and Great Plague of London.

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American History

The impact of the press on the American Revolution

Issues of the press seem increasingly relevant in light of the recent U.S. presidential election. At its best, the press can play a critical role in informing, educating, and shaping the public’s thoughts—just as it did at the time of the nation’s founding. In fact, the press was so crucial in those early days that David Ramsay, one of the first historians of the American Revolution, wrote that: “In establishing American independence, the pen and press had merit equal to that of the sword.”

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Oxford Classical Dictionary

Brexit, Marmite, and brand loyalty in the Roman World

One of the early and somewhat unexpected effects of Brexit in the UK was the threatened ‘Marmageddon’, the shortage and subsequent price rise of the much-loved – and much-hated – Marmite. Brands were, however, also a part of much earlier economies. In ancient Rome, for instance, consumers placed their trust in a number of brand markers, which signified reputation and quality, and very often carried a certain prestige. This was particularly the case with food and drink, especially wine.

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Voltaire’s love letters

Voltaire had numerous passionate affairs, and engaged in an enormous amount of private correspondence with his lovers, much of which has been kept for posterity. Providing a fascinating insight into Voltaire’s inner-most emotions, his letters give a glimpse of his friendships, sorrows, joys, and passionate desires…

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World Diabetes Day 2016

November 14 is World Diabetes Day, an observance day led by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and recognized by the World Health Organization and the United Nations. The day aims to raise awareness of the condition globally. The theme of the 2016 campaign is “Eyes on diabetes” and focuses around screening, diagnosis, and treatment to reduce the complications of type 2 diabetes.

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American History

Why were the Salem witch trials so significant?

Religious fanaticism, power-hungry individuals, local disputes, misogyny, anxiety, political turmoil, psychological distress, and mass hysteria all contributed to the atmosphere surrounding the infamous Salem witch trials. These factors converged in 1692 to “produce what was by far the largest and most lethal outbreak of witchcraft in American history … threaten[ing] to bring down the newly formed Massachusetts Bay government of Sir William Phips.”

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From Harlem to Wakanda: On Luke Cage and Black Panther

While watching the first episode of Luke Cage, I noticed something of a minor miracle. Starting from the amazing opening credits sequence, you could actually count the minutes before a single non-black face graced the screen. Every character of consequence, heroic or villainous, was black. Not only that, they were characters well-versed in blackness, however stereotypical. Fittingly, one of the first real set-pieces is a barbershop.

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