Whether we know it or not, ritual pervades our lives, silently guiding our daily behavior. Like language, tool use, and music, ritual is a constituent element of what it means to be human, joining together culture, archaeology, and biology. The study of ritual, therefore, is a reflection on human nature and the society we inhabit.
John Muir practically glowed with divine light in the early 1870s. “We almost thought he was Jesus Christ,” the landscape painter William Keith exclaimed to an interviewer. “We fairly worshipped him!”
A gifted orator, Lucy Stone dedicated her life to the fight for equal rights. Among the earliest female graduates of the Oberlin Collegiate Institute in Ohio, Stone was the first Massachusetts-born woman to earn a college degree. Stone rose to national prominence as a well-respected public speaker – an occupation rarely pursued by women of the era.
As a resident of Los Angeles, one of the most polluted cities in the United States, I think a lot about the air we breathe. It’s well established that outdoor air pollution is a health threat — exposure to high pollution concentrations has been linked to increased risk of respiratory and cardiovascular damage, emergency room visits and hospitalization, and premature mortality.
Whether they be songs about angels or demons, Heaven or Hell, the theme of the afterlife has inspired countless musicians of varying genres and has embedded itself into the lyrics of many popular hits. Though their styles may be different, artists show that our collective questions and musings about the afterlife provide us with a common thread across humanity. Here are some of the songs that best represent this wide range of emotions that many people have about what lies beyond.
The UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts, or PICC, were created in 1994 after decades of preparation, against what Oxford author Stephan Vogenauer calls a “romantic background” of a global commercial law, or lex mercatoria. While the UNIDROIT PICC offer a harmonizing global contract law, some objectors may say that as “principles”, they are too vague. Stefan tackles this objection in the video below, and also highlights how some practitioners may be surprised by the contents of the Principles.
Hip hop has increasingly influenced a new generation of American poets. For instance, the current issue of Poetry excerpts poems and essays from the recently published anthology, The BreakBeat Poets, edited by Kevin Coval, Quraysh Ali Lansana, and Nate Marshall. In the anthology’s introduction, Marshall asserts: “This is the story of how generations of young people reared on hip-hop culture and aesthetics took to the page and poem and microphone to create a movement in american letters in the tradition of the Black Arts, Nuyorican, and Beat generations and add to it and innovate on top.”
In anticipation of the imminent General Election on 7 May 2015, we pulled together information from Who’s Who to take a closer look at the major players bidding for our votes. We’ve mapped nine party leaders and deputy leaders to their constituencies.
When within the European Union the Lisbon Treaty was elaborated, the negotiators easily reached agreement on subjecting the EU to the constraints of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). It seemed to be an anomaly that all the Member States should be subject to the review power of the Strasbourg Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) while the EU itself was exempt from that control procedure.
To celebrate Earth Day on 22 April, we have created a reading list of books, journals, and online resources that explore environmental protection, environmental ethics, and other environmental sciences. Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 in the United States. Since then, it has grown to include more than 192 countries and the Earth Day Network coordinate global events that demonstrate support for environmental protection. If you think we have missed any books, journals, or online resources in our reading list, please do let us know in the comments below.
Fifteen years ago, not long after publishing Anthology of Modern American Poetry with Oxford, I began to receive the typical mix of complimentary and complaining letters. In the latter category, faculty members wanted to know why a favorite poem or poet was left out and some poets who were not included wrote pointed letters to let me know they weren’t happy with the fact. But one poet, William Heyen, took a different approach.
Nyla Ali Khan’s recent book The Life of a Kashmiri Woman: Dialectic of Resistance and Accommodation, though primarily a biography of her grandmother Akbar Jehan, promises to be much more than that. It is also a narration of the story of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the charismatic political leader who is still recognized as the greatest political leader that Kashmir ever produced.
Recently reading through the Notes and Discographies section of Greil Marcus’s book Mystery Train (first published in 1975), I was struck by Marcus’s meticulousness when it came to recommending records.
In the philosophy of religion ‘Wittgensteinianism’ is a distinctive position whose outlines are more or less unanimously agreed by both its defenders and detractors. By invoking a variety of concepts to which Wittgenstein gave currency – language games, forms of life, groundless believing, depth grammar, world pictures – the defenders aim to defuse rationalistic criticisms of religion by showing them to be, in the strict sense, impertinent.
From time to time, we try to give you a glimpse into our offices around the globe. This week, we are excited to bring you an interview with Brian Muir, an Online Marketing Assistant on our Direct Marketing team in New York. Brian has been working at the Oxford University Press since March 2014.
When Charles Darwin died at age 73 on this day 133 years ago, his physicians decided that he had succumbed to “degeneration of the heart and greater vessels,” a disorder we now call “generalized arteriosclerosis.” Few would argue with this diagnosis, given Darwin’s failing memory, and his recurrent episodes of “swimming of the head,” “pain in the heart”, and “irregular pulse” during the decade or so before he died.