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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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What history can tell us about food allergy

What can the history of medicine tell us about food allergy and other medical conditions? An awful lot. History is essentially about why things change over time. None of our ideas about health or medicine simply spring out of the ground. They evolve over time, adapting to various social, political, economic, technological, and cultural factors. If we want to know anything about the health issues that face us today and will face us in future, the very first thing we should do is turn to the history of such issues.

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Marie-Antoinette and the French Revolution

Although most historians of the French Revolution assign the French queen Marie-Antoinette a minor role in bringing about that great event, a good case can be made for her importance if we look more deeply into her politics than most scholars have.

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5 academic books that will shape the future

What is the future of academic publishing? We’re celebrating University Press Week and Academic Book Week with a series of blog posts on scholarly publishing from staff and partner presses. Following on from our list of academic books that changed the world, we’re looking to the future and how our current publishing could change lives and attitudes in years to come.

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SIPRI Yearbook Online

Are you a foreign affairs expert? [quiz]

From peace missions and cyber attacks, border disputes and disarmament treaties taking place across the globe, there’s no doubt that 2014 was a tumultuous and eventful year for foreign affairs and international relations. Which government declared itself feminist in 2014? Do you know which countries spend the most on their military? Who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize […]

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A timeline of academic publishing at Oxford University Press

How much do you know about the history of publishing at Oxford University Press? The first book was printed just two years after Caxton set up the first printing press in England. Fell type moulds were introduced two centuries later to make Oxford’s publishing comparable with the finest in Europe.

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Oxford Dictionaries

The AUTO- age

How readily someone may be understood when using a new word will depend on several factors: the intuitable transparency of meaning, its clarity in context, the receptiveness of the audience, and so on.

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OAPEN-UK: 5 things we learnt about open access monographs

In September 2010, the OAPEN-UK research study set out to investigate the potential of open access monograph publishing in the humanities and social sciences disciplines, which was, at the time, a relatively unknown concept. The collaborative study aimed to contribute to the evidence base and understanding of open publication models, in order to inform the direction taken by the scholarly community.

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Shoehorn; or a new Grove spoof article

Sturdy idiophone ubiquitous among dress shoe-wearing cultures. Rising to prominence during 15th century England, the shoehorn has today become one of the most widely used instruments in the world. This notoriety had lead many scholars to suggest that the shoehorn stands as Britain’s crowning contribution to contemporary music culture.

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SIPRI Yearbook Online

International security and foreign affairs in 2014 [interactive map]

What was happening in the world last year? Events such as the the devastating protest-turned-conflict in Ukraine, or the maritime disputes between states in the South China Sea, have wide-reaching repercussions – from the amount a country spends on its military, to the direction of foreign policies whole regions take.

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The literary fortunes of the Gunpowder Plot

The conspirators in what we now know as the Gunpowder Plot failed in their aspiration to blow up the House of Lords on the occasion of the state opening of parliament in the hope of killing the King and a multitude of peers. Why do we continue to remember the plot? The bonfires no longer articulate anti-Roman Catholicism, though this attitude formally survived until 2013 in the prohibition against the monarch or the heir to the throne marrying a Catholic.

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Ten fun facts about the bagpipes

Depending on your tastes, bagpipes are primal and evocative, or crude and abrasive. Adore or despise them, they are ubiquitous across the city centers of Scotland (for tourists or locals?). In anticipation of St Andrews Day, and your Robert Burns poetry readings with a certain woodwind accompaniment, here are 10 facts you may not have known about the history of the bagpipes.

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SIPRI Yearbook 2015

Fragile systems and development

The term fragile state originated as an alternative to “failed state” – a worldview predominated by assertions about “weak” or “strong” states, with very weak states referred to as “failures”, “failed states”, etc. A lot of critics rightly pointed out the naivete of a single dimension in conceptualizing the myriad ways in which states and societies can go wrong.

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Preparing for International Law Weekend 2015

This year’s International Law Weekend (ILW) will take place in New York City, from 5 November through the 7th. Organized by the American Branch of the International Law Association and the International Law Students Association, this annual event attracts over 800 attendees including practitioners, diplomats, academics, and law students.

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Very Short Introductions Online

A Very Short (and spooky) Introduction to Halloween

It’s that time of year when pumpkin sales go soaring, horror specials sell out at the cinema, and everyone is seemingly dressed up as a vampire or a zombie. To mark the spookiest time of year, we wanted to give you a Very Short Introduction to some of our favourite Halloween themes with free chapters from VSI Online.

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Oxford Dictionaries

George Orwell and the origin of the term ‘cold war’

On 19 October 1945, George Orwell used the term cold war in his essay “You and the Atom Bomb,” speculating on the repercussions of the atomic age which had begun two months before when the United States bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.

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