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Martin Kemp vs John Gittings: Icons of Peace

Today, John Gittings and Martin Kemp will be discussing icons of peace. Human history is dominated by war, but can we forge a different narrative? In The Glorious Art of Peace, former Guardian journalist John Gittings argues that progress depends on a peaceful environment, identifying iconic proponents of peace such as Confucius and Gandhi. Art historian Martin Kemp’s Christ to Coke looks at the creation of some of our peacetime icons and traces the things they have in common.

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The development of peace

The story of peace is as old as the story of humanity itself, and certainly as old as war. It is a story of progress, often in very difficult circumstances. Historically, peace has often been taken, to imply an absence of overt violence or war between or sometimes within states- in other words, a negative peace. War is often thought to be the natural state of humanity, peace of any sort being fragile and fleeting. I would challenges this view.

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Give peace a chance in Syria

By John Gittings
When Ban Ki-moon, speaking in The Hague, called recently on member countries to “give peace a chance” in Syria, and condemned the supply of weapons to both sides, he was taking part in a ceremony at the Peace Palace to mark the centennial of its foundation (a result of the Hague Peace Conference in 1899) which otherwise was ignored by the media.

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“God Bless America” in war and peace

If you watched the World Series this year, you may have noticed a trend in the nightly renditions of “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch: all five performances were by soldiers in uniform.

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War and Peace Part Three: Deprivation

By Amy Mandelker
I am proofing the galleys for this new edition of the Maude translation of War and Peace when a freak storm with gale force winds takes out three towering pines on my neighbor’s property, topples a venerable oak crushing a friend’s roof, and downs trees and power lines all over Princeton township and beyond, leaving the southern part of the state deprived of electricity for several days.

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War and Peace Part Two: Earthquakes

By Amy Mandelker
The earthquake in China. The school that collapsed, crushing students and teachers, was established and funded by the charitable organization for which my ex-husband works. He is a conservationist and social activist, and for several days following the first shocks, he is only able to contact one of his co-workers at the scene, who digs alone at the site of the school with his chilled, bare hands for an entire day. By evening he uncovers the dead body of a teacher.

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The Vietnam Veterans Memorial

By Steven Casey
Just over forty years ago, President Richard M. Nixon ran a successful reelection campaign based partly on a simple insight. Americans, he believed, were not opposed to the Vietnam War as such; they were simply opposed to their boys dying in Vietnam.

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The month that changed the world: Saturday, 1 August 1914

By Gordon Martel
The choice between war and peace hung in the balance on Saturday, 1 August 1914. Austria-Hungary and Russia were proceeding with full mobilization: Austria-Hungary was preparing to mobilize along the Russian frontier in Galicia; Russia was preparing to mobilize along the German frontier in Poland.

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War and Peace Part One: Tolstoy and Moscow

By Amy Mandelker
Moscow is choked with smoke from surrounding fires. I follow developments online, reading over the weekend that they have been digging trenches to cut off the path of the blaze before it detonates nuclear stockpiles.

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A War & Peace podcast

Amy Mandelker has taught at UCLA, University of Southern California, Columbia, Brown, and Princeton Universities. Her books include Framing ‘Anna Karenina’: Tolstoy, the Woman Question & the Victorian Novel and Approaches to World Literature: Tolstoy’s ‘Anna Karenina’. She has revised the acclaimed Maude translation of War and Peace and recently sat down with Podularity to talk about it. (Read the audio guide breakdown here, where you can also get excerpts from this podcast.) Once you’re done, we welcome you to look back at Amy Mandelker’s blog posts and discover why Nick thinks you should read Tolstoy.

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International Law at Oxford in 2014

International law has faced profound challenges in 2014 and the coming year promises further complex changes. For better or worse, it’s an exciting time to be working in international law at Oxford University Press. Before 2014 comes to a close, we thought we’d take a moment to reflect on the highlights of another year gone by.

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On the need for an avant-garde in strategic studies

In an important work of contemporary philosophy and social science, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas S. Kuhn articulates the vital idea of “paradigm.” By this idea, which has obvious parallels in the arts, Kuhn refers to certain examples of scientific practice that provide theoretical models for further inquiry: Ptolemaic or Copernican astronomy; Aristotelian dynamics; Newtonian mechanics, and so on. At any given moment in history, we learn, the prevailing paradigm within a given discipline defines the basic contours of all subsequent investigation.

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Soon facing Iranian nuclear missiles

By Professor Louis René Beres
Admiral Leon “Bud” Edney
General Thomas G. McInerney

For now, the “Arab Spring” and its aftermath still occupy center-stage in the Middle East and North Africa. Nonetheless, from a regional and perhaps even global security perspective, the genuinely core threat to peace and stability remains Iran. Whatever else might determinably shape ongoing transformations of power and authority in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria and Saudi Arabia, it is apt to pale in urgency beside the steadily expanding prospect of a nuclear Iran.

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