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On the 95th anniversary of the Chicago Race Riots

By Elaine Lewinnek
On 27 July 1919, a black boy swam across an invisible line in the water. “By common consent and custom,” an imaginary line extending out across Lake Michigan from Chicago’s 29th Street separated the area where blacks were permitted to swim from where whites swam. Seventeen-year-old Eugene Williams crossed that line.

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Riots, meaning, and social phenomena

By P.A.J. Waddington
The academic long vacation offers the opportunity to catch–up on some reading and reflect upon it. Amongst my reading this summer was the special edition of Policing and Society devoted to contemporary rioting and protest.

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The Playboy Riots of 1907

By Ann Saddlemyer
There had been rumours for months. When Dublin’s Abbey Theatre announced that John Millington Synge’s new play The Playboy of the Western World would be produced on Saturday, 26 January 1907, all were on alert. Controversy had followed Synge since the production of his first Wicklow play, The Shadow of the Glen, in which a bold, young and lonely woman leaves a loveless May/December marriage to go off with a fine-talking Tramp who rhapsodizes over the freedom of the roads. Irish women wouldn’t do that!

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Remembering the Los Angeles Riots

By Adam Rosen
Sunday, April 29 marks the twentieth anniversary of one of the grimmest episodes in modern American history. For nearly five days, parts of Los Angeles transformed into a free-for-all where looting, gun battles, and arson proceeded without challenge by the city’s authorities. Only after U.S. President George H.W. Bush commanded 3,000 soldiers to occupy the city was order restored. By that time, 53 people had been killed, an estimated $ 1 billion worth of property had been destroyed, and the tenuous thread that held American race relations together had been all but severed.

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The English riots and tough sentencing

By Christine Piper
The riots which occurred in London and several other major cities early in August have provoked a debate, still on-going, around a range of crucial sentencing issues. Two developments have most interested me. First has been the tension between the government and the judiciary and, second, the apparent mark-up because the offending took place in the context of a riot.

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Are riots normal? Or,
‘Don’t panic, Captain Mainwaring!’

By Leif Jerram

As we watch riots tear through the centres of British cities, many people have (instinctively and understandably) tried to see something of profound importance in them. For Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, they show why the budget for his police force should not be cut. For those on the left, the riots have been an essay in the perils of vacuous consumerism on the one hand, and shameless abandonment of the poor by the state on the other. And for our Conservative prime minister, it is confirmation that parts of our society are sick and evil.

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Race relations in America and the case of Ferguson

The fatal shooting of African-American teenager Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri during a police altercation in Augusts 2014, resulted in massive civil unrest and protests that received considerable attention from the United States and abroad.

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Michael Freeden-The Political Theory of Political Thinking

The chimera of anti-politics

Anti-politics is in the air. There is a prevalent feeling in many societies that politicians are up to no good, that establishment politics are at best irrelevant and at worst corrupt and power-hungry, and that the centralization of power in national parliaments and governments denies the public a voice.

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Sharks, asylum seekers, and Australian politics

By Matthew Flinders
We all know that the sea is a dangerous place and should be treated with respect but it seems that Australian politicians have taken things a step (possibly even a leap) further. From sharks to asylum seekers the political response appears way out of line with the scale of the risk. Put simply, Australian politics is all at sea.

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The long journey to Stonewall

By Nancy C. Unger
When I was invited by the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco to participate in its month-long program “The LGBT Journey,” I was a bit overwhelmed by all the possibilities. I’ve been teaching “Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.” since 2002, and my enthusiasm for the subject grows every time the course is offered. It’s a passion shared by my students. They never sigh and say, “Gay and lesbian history again?” But what to present in only forty-five minutes? My most recent scholarship examines lesbian alternative environments in the 1970s and 1980s. In the end, though, I decided to make a larger point. For many people, LGBTQ American history begins with the Stonewall Riots in 1969, so I determined to use this opportunity to talk about the history of same-sex desire that is as old as this nation.

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Rhetorical fireworks for the Fourth of July

By Russ Castronovo
Ever since 4 July 1777 when citizens of Philadelphia celebrated the first anniversary of American independence with a fireworks display, the “rockets’ red glare” has lent a military tinge to this national holiday. But the explosive aspect of the patriots’ resistance was the incendiary propaganda that they spread across the thirteen colonies.

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1776, the First Founding, and America’s past in the present

By Elvin Lim
When a nation chooses to celebrate the date of its birth is a decision of paramount significance. Indeed, it is a decision of unparalleled importance for the world’s “First New Nation,” the United States, because it was the first nation to self-consciously write itself into existence with a written Constitution.

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The top 10 historic places from the American Revolution

By Frances Kennedy
In 1996, Congress commissioned the National Park Service to compile a list of sites and landmarks that played a part in the American Revolution. From battlefields to encampments, meeting houses to museums, these places offer us a chance to rediscover the remarkable men and women who founded this nation and to recognize the relevance of not just what they did, but where they did it.

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