Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Subtopics


James Baldwin and the fire this time

As the fires burned in Baltimore, following the arrest and subsequent death of Freddie Gray in April 2015, protesters brandished placards with quotations from James Baldwin’s work, and thousands of blogs and twitter feeds invoked the legendary writer.

Read More

Ten fun facts about the xylophone

You’d probably recognize the rainbow-patterned, lap-size plastic xylophone in the playroom, popular among music-minded toddlers. But what do you know about the real thing? The xylophone is a wooden percussion instrument with a range of four octaves, and can be used in a variety of musical genres.

Read More

Beyond the ‘God Wars’

For many years – running into decades, even centuries – the idea of a fundamental opposition between believers and non-believers has anchored public discussion about religion. The metaphors are of battles: these are ‘God Wars’, with ‘zealous religionists’ mounting their defences against ‘militant atheists’.

Read More
Word Origins

The B-word and its kin

Not too long ago, I promised to return to the origin of b-d words. Today I’ll deal with Engl. bad and its look-alikes, possibly for the last time—not because everything is now clear (nothing is clear), but because I have said all I could, and even this post originated as an answer to the remarks by our correspondents John Larsson (Denmark) and Olivier van Renswoude (the Netherlands).

Read More
French History cover

Subversive voting, or how the French spoil their ballot papers

You might not guess, but the image below celebrating the Second Republic of 1848 was cast at Dijon as a negative vote in the referendum of 1851, which sought approval for the coup d’état that brought Louis-Napoleon (nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte) to power in France. The overwhelming majority voted positively but, among a minority of dissenters, there were those who chose to graphically illustrate their opposition. Others made adverse written comments on their papers and still more defaced the ballot they had been instructed to use by the newly installed Napoleonic authorities, or submitted blank pieces of paper to the ballot box.

Read More
Boulton-Embracing Complexity

Simplicity in a complex world

There is a polarization in management and policy thinking. On the one hand, there is an increasing focus, for organizations, on defining detailed rules, standardizing methods, evidencing and measuring outcomes. The intention is to make the hospital, school, or firm work as an efficient, optimized, well-oiled machine.

Read More

Four top tips about student finance

Starting University can be daunting. For most, becoming a University student is the beginning of a new academic challenge and social life. However, with these exciting ventures comes financial responsibility.

Read More
agents of empire

Agents of Empire: Who were the Bruni and Bruti families? [infographic]

Representing a broad span of empires, cultures and religions during the sixteenth century, the Bruni and Bruti families exemplify a snapshot of Albania at a time when European and Ottoman histories collided. Only a small piece of the greater story, Noel Malcolm uses the Bruni and Bruti families to paint a panoramic landscape of history that covers the Venetian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Papacy, Malta, north Africa, Spain, southern France, Poland and the Holy Roman Empire.

Read More
Redfern and Hunter on International Arbitration

Oxford Law Vox: The evolution of international arbitration

As part of the launch of the sixth edition of ‘Redfern and Hunter on International Arbitration’, one half of the book’s authorial team Nigel Blackaby and Constantine Partasides QC met up with Law Vox podcast host George Miller. Together they discussed the evolution of international arbitration and the influential role Redfern and Hunter have played in the field.

Read More
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.

Read More

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.

Read More
9780199335534 2

When everywhere is a grave: remembering WWII casualties in Belarus

On 22 June 2015, the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko opened a new memorial complex at the site of the former extermination camp Maly Trostenets near Minsk. Between 1941 and 1944, German occupants and their helpers interned and killed up to 206,500 people in this camp and in the nearby forest of Blagovshchina.

Read More

Separating Church and State

Since the 17th century Western thinkers have struggled with the problem of how to stop conflicts over religious differences. Not long ago, we mostly thought that the problem had been solved. Two rather different solutions served widely as paradigms, with many variations. One was the American Separation of Church and State, and the other French laïcité, usually if misleadingly translated as ‘secularism’.

Read More
Piccinini - Physical Computation 9780199658855

The philosophical computer store

Once again, searching for unconventional computing methods as well as for a neurocomputational theory of cognition requires knowing what does and does not count as computing. A question that may appear of purely philosophical interest — which physical systems perform which computations — shows up at the cutting edge of computer technology as well as neuroscience.

Read More