Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

american-history

99 years after the Jones Act: Austerity without representation

Ninety-nine years ago this week, Puerto Ricans became citizens of the United States. What does this anniversary signify? That depends a lot on who you ask (and be careful who you ask, since most Americans have no idea how or why Puerto Ricans became US citizens, or if they’re even citizens at all).

Read More
OUP Philosophy Crest

Philosopher of the month: David Hume

Born in Edinburgh, Hume is considered a founding figure of empiricism and the most significant philosopher of the Scottish Enlightenment. With its strong critique of contemporary metaphysics, Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature (1739–40) cleared the way for a genuinely empirical account of human understanding.

Read More
9780199381135

Early Greek incantations from Selinous

The so-called “Getty Hexameters” represent an unusual set of early Greek ‘magical’ incantations (epoidai) found engraved on a small, fragmentary tablet of folded lead. The rare verses provide an exciting new window into the early practice and use of written magic and incantatory spells in the Greek polis of the 5th century BCE.

Read More
African American Studies Center

W.E.B. Du Bois and the literature of upheaval

There is a moment in the George Miller film Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985) that has stuck with me over the two decades since I first saw it. A bedraggled Max (Mel Gibson) is escorted through the crumbling desert outpost of Bartertown.

Read More
Grove Music Logo

10 reasons to love the flute

This month’s spotlight instrument is particularly important to me; I played the flute for ten years as an adolescent and continue to have a soft spot for it. From long practices at high school band camp to dressy solo performances at the Colburn School where I studied on weekends, the flute was a dear and constant companion. Here are a few reasons I’ll always prefer it.

Read More
9780199363445

Cancer is no moonshot

A tired old elephant hunched in the room as President Obama announced the launch of a new moonshot against cancer during his State of the Union address a month ago. We’ve heard that promise before. On 23 December 1971, when President Nixon first declared a national war on cancer, he also based his conviction on the successfully completed moonwalk.

Read More
African American Studies Center

#OscarsSoWhite: new branding for an old problem

In 1996, decades before the trending hashtag, Reverend Jesse Jackson led a boycott protesting the lack of diversity at the Oscars. Having encouraged attendees to wear a rainbow ribbon in support of the issue, he was ridiculed for his efforts.

Read More
Oxford Dictionaries

Political profanity and crude creativity on the campaign trail

In the United States, thoughts are turning to the start of the primary season, when votes are cast to choose each party’s presidential nominee. It’s a complicated and sometimes very long process, beginning in Iowa and winding all the way to the conventions in the summer, and every time it gets going, there are certain buzzwords that seem to find their way into the American popular consciousness.

Read More
9780199684984

Business and society: new words for new worlds

Neologisms (from Greek néo-, meaning ‘new’ and logos, meaning ‘speech, utterance’) – can do all sorts of jobs. But most straightforwardly new words describe new things. As such they indicate areas of change, perhaps of innovation. They present us with a map, one that can redefine what we know as well as revealing newly explored areas; new words for new worlds.

Read More
9780199381135

Ancient Rome vs. North Korea: spectacular ‘executions’ then and now

Reports over recent months from South Korea’s Yonhap news agency have suggested that two prominent North Korean politicians have been executed this year on the orders of Kim Jong-un. These reports evoke some interesting parallels from the darker side of the history of ancient Rome, or at least from the more colourful stories told about it by Roman historians.

Read More
9780199363612

Demarcating sovereignty: a history of Dutch-Belgian land swaps

In early November 2015, the Belgian and Dutch press announced that a small land swap was in the making between Belgium and the Netherlands. Agreement has been reached at the local level that Belgium would cede a small peninsula in the river Maas [Meuse] of about 14 hectares – the size of 28 soccer fields – to the Netherlands. In return, Belgium would get a smaller piece of Dutch territory where it had already built a water lock.

Read More
Oxford Dictionaries

What does your mother language mean to you?

In 1999, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) created International Mother Language Day, which is celebrated each year on 21 February. Of course, we couldn’t let this date go by without marking the occasion on our Northern Sotho and isiZulu Living Dictionaries. This year, we asked people from a variety of mother tongues to let us know what their native language means to them, and this is what they had to say.

Read More
odnb main logo

Let the people speak: history with voices

For 135 years the Dictionary of National Biography has been the national record of noteworthy men and women who’ve shaped the British past. Today’s Dictionary retains many attributes of its Victorian predecessor, not least a focus on concise and balanced accounts of individuals from all walks of national history. But there have also been changes in how these life stories are encapsulated and conveyed.

Read More
African American Studies Center

Race: Jesse Owens and the African American tradition

Patterned on other sports dramas about race and the freedom rights struggle, such as Remember the Titans, Glory Road, We Are Marshall, The Express, and 42, Race tells the story of Jesse Owens’ preparation and stunning performance at the 1936 Summer Olympics at Berlin, Germany. However, while Owens follows a long tradition of unsung African American heroes, many remain unfamiliar with the details surrounding his rise to prominence.

Read More