Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World


The music next door

It was midnight and I had just slumped into bed, exhausted after one of my first days on-call as a new intern, and still adjusting to life in a new apartment. As my nagging reflections on the day were just beginning to subside, insistent knocking at my door jolted me back to alertness. Dragging myself out of bed to open the door, I was surprised to see a diminutive elderly lady who appeared quite perturbed.

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The science of rare planetary alignments

The alignment of both the Sun and the Earth with another planet in the Solar System is a rare event, which we are seldom able to observe in a lifetime. The Sun-Venus-Earth alignment for example only takes place once every 105.5 or 121.5 years. Similarly, the next Sun-Earth-Mars alignment will only occur in 2084. But on 5 January 2014, we were lucky enough to witness one such rare event: the alignment of the Sun, Earth, and Jupiter. Much to our surprise, we saw a new physical effect never observed before.

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JLA Cover

Legal order: lessons from ancient Athens

How do large-scale societies achieve cooperation? Since Thomas Hobbes’ famous work, Leviathan (1651), social scientific treatments of the problem of cooperation have assumed that living together without killing one another requires an act of depersonalization in the form of a transfer of individual powers to an all-powerful central government.

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Forum for Modern Language Studies cover

Why does the European Day of Languages matter?

Each year, the European Union celebrates the European Day of Languages on 26 September. To mark this celebration of linguistic diversity, we asked the editors of Forum for Modern Language Studies to tell us why they think people should study some of the major European languages.

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Journal of Refugee Studies

Time to reform the international refugee regime

Europe is currently scrambling to cope with the arrival of over one million asylum seekers. Responses have ranged from building walls to opening doors. European Union countries have varied widely in their offers to resettle refugees.

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The history of international law [timeline]

Where and when did the history of international law begin? Many scholars have argued about the definitive date and periodisation of certain dynamic developments, let alone which treaties, institutions, and figures have shaped the field’s core doctrines.

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Bringing the Digital Humanities into the classroom

I spent four days last month with my colleague and friend, Doug Boyd, as he and I (mainly he) gave oral history workshops in Milwaukee and Madison. While the idea to bring Boyd to Wisconsin for these trainings began with Ann Hanlon, Digital Humanities Lab head at UW-Milwaukee, I jumped at the chance to find groups to sponsor his time in Madison.

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Schizophrenia Bulletin

Incorporating sex as a biological variable in preclinical research

In the spring of 2015 the National Institutes of Health announced new guidelines for the incorporation of sex as a biological variable in any research they fund. Chromosome compliment (XX for female, XY for male in all mammals), gonadal phenotype, and gamete size define sex as a biological parameter. (In contrast, gender is a human construction based on an individual or society’s perception of sex.)

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14764989 political analysis

Text analysis for comparative politics

Every two days, humans produce more textual information than the combined output of humanity from the dawn of recorded history up through the year 2003. Much of this text is directly relevant to questions in political science. Governments, politicians, and average citizens regularly communicate their thoughts and opinions in writing, providing new data from which to understand the political world and suggesting new avenues of study in areas that were previously thought intractable.

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Oxford Economic Papers

Greek wages in crisis: Whose loss and whose hope?

Anyone who is even remotely familiar with the crisis in Greece must be aware of its record-high unemployment. From an already elevated value of 8% in 2008, the Greek unemployment rate rocketed to 27% in 2013 and has since remained in that ballpark.

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From ad hoc arbitral tribunals to permanent courts: three examples

Should EU-US investment disputes be solved by arbitral tribunals constituted separately for each dispute, as is currently the case under most Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs), or should a permanent court be established? This is one of the key questions that might kill the efforts for what would be the largest regional free-trade agreement in history, covering 46% of world GDP: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

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