Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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Who shapes the history of the British Isles?

From politicians to psychiatrists, novelists to biologists, and actors to entrepreneurs, the January 2014 update of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography adds a further 219 biographies of men and women who’ve made their mark on British history.

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Osagie K. Obasogie speaks with Skip Gates about colorblindness and race

Osagie K. Obasogie, J.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Law at the University of California, Hastings with a joint appointment at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. His first book, Blinded By Sight: Seeing Race Through the Eyes of the Blind, was recently published by Stanford University Press and his second book on the past, present, and future of bioethics is under contract with the University of California Press.

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Historical fashions we’d love to see make a comeback

Fashion weeks became the standard trade fair for the industry in the late 20th century, and the tradition continues biannually. New York Fashion Week has waltzed its way down the runway, and the fashion world is packing up their garment bags to head to Paris to fête the Fall/Winter 2014-2015 Ready to Wear collections.

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How electronic publishing is changing academia for the better

By Hannah Skoda
When I started in my current post, one of my students, off to a nightclub, very cheekily asked me whether when I was young, they were still called discos. The same sorts of feelings are coming to characterize attitudes towards books – our students find it hard to imagine a time when nothing was available electronically.

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Treasures from Old Holland in New Amsterdam

By Kandice Rawlings
The Frick Collection in New York recently closed its Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis exhibition of fifteen seventeenth-century Dutch paintings on loan from the Hague museum, which is currently closed for remodeling. The show (which has already been to San Francisco, Atlanta, and Tokyo, and opens next in Bologna) was a blockbuster.

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UK National Libraries Day 2014: “Why we love libraries”

Today is National Libraries Day in the United Kingdom, and hundreds of activities and events are taking place in public libraries of all shapes and sizes — from the multi-million pound Library of Birmingham, to the tiniest local libraries run by volunteers — in order to celebrate our wonderful librarians, and the libraries they run. To celebrate National Libraries Day, we asked a few of our staff what they love about public libraries.

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Grove announces its Second Annual Spoof Article Contest

By Anna-Lise Santella
It may be the middle of winter, but April Fool’s Day is only two months away, and that means it’s time to start planning your entry for the Second Annual Grove Music Spoof Article Contest! Spoof articles have been part of Grove’s history for several decades—it seems that our authors have always had an inclination toward humor. 

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A brief and incomplete history of astronomy

By Ayana Young and Georgia Mierswa


NASA posted an update in the last week of December that the international space station would be visible from the New York City area—and therefore the Oxford New York office—on the night of 28 December 2013. While there were certainly a vast number of NASA super fans rushed outside that particularly clear night (this writer included), it’s difficult for recent generations to recall a time when space observations and achievements like this contributed significantly to the cultural zeitgeist.

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A voyage in letters [infographic]

The 17th century saw great, heroic voyages of discovery — voyages into the unknown, voyages potentially into the abyss. The 18th century saw a slow transformation in travel — if for no other reason than the incremental improvement and progress in the methods of travel.

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Escape Plans: Solomon Northup and Twelve Years a Slave

By Daniel Donaghy
During the movie awards season, Steve McQueen’s new film 12 Years a Slave will inspire discussions about its realistic depiction of slavery’s atrocities (Henry Louis Gates Jr. has already called it, “most certainly one of the most vivid and authentic portrayals of slavery ever captured in a feature film.”) and the points at which the film most clearly reflects and departs from Solomon Northup’s original narrative.

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Volume, variety, and online scholarly publishing

By John Louth
One of the questions we are asked most frequently as university press editors is whether and how our work has changed to accommodate digital publishing. That can be taken to refer to a wide range of changes, but if we mean the digital publication of scholarly monographs, the answer, thankfully, is “not much”.

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Eponymous Instrument Makers

The 6th of November is Saxophone Day, a.k.a. the birthday of Adolphe Sax, which inspired us to think about instruments that take their name in some way from their inventors (sidenote: for the correct use of eponymous see this informative diatribe in the New York Times).

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Exploring the seven principles of Kwanzaa: a playlist

Beginning the 26th of December, a globe-spanning group of millions of people of African descent will celebrate Kwanzaa, the seven-day festival of communitarian values created by scholar Maulana Karenga in 1966. The name of the festival is adapted from a Swahili phrase that refers to “the first fruits,” and is meant to recall ancient African harvest celebrations.

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I’m dreaming of an OSEO Christmas

By Daniel Parker
Snow is falling and your bulging stocking is being hung up above a roaring log fire. The turkey is burning in the oven as you eat your body weight in novelty chocolate. And now your weird, slightly sinister Uncle Frank is coming towards you brandishing mistletoe. This can mean only one thing. In the wise (and slightly altered) words of Noddy Holder: It’s OSEO Christmas!

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