Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Attention, or how to organize the mind

Sometimes our mind is a mess. Thoughts and experiences pile up, and our mind flips from one thing to another: I need to buy milk, I have an important meeting tomorrow, and, no, the bills have still not been paid;  it’s my friends birthday, the face of that person reminds me of someone I met […]

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How to overcome the forces that glass-ceiling health

These are divided times. In Washington, a new administration has deepened the polarization of an already gridlocked political process. In the media, our disagreements are expressed, and often amplified, by a host of competing voices. The questions they address include: how should the Constitution be interpreted? Should we embrace free trade or focus on rebuilding our industrial base?

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Oral history and the importance of sharing at Pride in Washington D.C.

Back in March we heard from our friends at the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP) at the University of Florida, who had traveled to the Women’s March on Washington as part of an experiential learning project. Building on the work they did at the Women’s March, they returned to Washington, D.C. in June to document the city’s Pride Weekend, including the Equality March for Unity and Pride, the QT Night of Healing and Resistance, and more.

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10 facts about spirituality

What does spirituality really mean? Is spirituality distinct from religion? Why is spirituality becoming increasingly popular and how has the term evolved and used today from its Christian roots? Philip Sheldrake, author of Spirituality: A Very Short Introduction, talks about what he thinks are the top 10 facts everyone should know about spirituality.

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Living in a material world

The singer Madonna had a worldwide hit record in the 1980s (‘Material Girl’) in which she described herself as ‘the material girl living in a material world’. This is a prescient phrase for the world of today some 30 years after the release of this record. Although Madonna may have been referring to wealth and ‘cold hard cash’ in her song, the rapid development of goods for professional and consumer use really do put us at the mercy of all things material.

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Bluegrass festivals: a summertime staple

For more than fifty years, bluegrass musicians and fans from around the world have gathered in shady bowers and open fields to trade songs in parking lot picking sessions; hear top local, regional, and national bluegrass bands as they present onstage performances; and buy instruments, books, recordings, and memorabilia from vendors. These bluegrass festivals serve as vital meeting spaces for members of the bluegrass community, and they play a key role in the music’s ongoing economic vitality.

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Two numerals: “six” and “hundred,” part 2: “hundred”

Like the history of some other words denoting numbers, the history of hundred is full of sticks and stones. To begin with, we notice that hundred, like dozen, thousand, million, and billion, is a noun rather than a numeral and requires an article (compare six people versus a hundred people); it also has a regular plural (a numeral, to have the plural form, has to be turned into a noun, or substantivized, as in twos and threes, at sixes and sevens, on all fours, and the like).

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Does “buying local” help communities or conflict with basic economics?

As summer approaches, picturesque roadside stands, farmer’s markets, and fields growing Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) dot the horizon from the Golden Gate to the Garden State. Consumers go to their local Farmer’s Market to keep spending local and to hopefully create jobs in the community. They “buy local” to reduce environmental impacts. Some believe interacting with neighbors builds trust within the community.

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Embedded librarianship: the future of libraries

With the rise of the internet and electronic research resources, it is not uncommon for a librarian to hear that libraries are no longer necessary. “You can find anything on the internet” is an often heard phrase. What most of those people do not realize is how integrated librarians (and information scientists) are in organizing and providing information to the public.

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Why can mailboxes only be used for U.S. mail?

Because it is against Federal law to put anything in a mailbox, “on which no postage has been paid,”. If a person is caught doing so, they could be fined up to $5,000 and an organization could be fined up to $10,000. This is called the “Mailbox Restriction Law”, which does not exist in most countries.

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BioScience cover

Society is ready for a new kind of science—is academia?

In her 1998 essay in Science, Jane Lubchenco called for a “Social Contract for Science,” one that would acknowledge the scale of environmental problems and have “scientists devote their energies and talents to the most pressing problems of the day.” We were entering a new millennium, and Lubchenco was worried that the scientific enterprise was unprepared to address challenges related to climate change, pollution, health, and technology.

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Jane Austen’s writing – a reading list

Jane Austen wrote six novels and thousands of letters in her lifetime, creating a formula of social realism, comedic satire, and romance that is still loved today. Her works were originally published anonymously, bringing this now celebrated author little personal renown – with nineteenth century audiences preferring the Romantic and Victorian tropes of Charles Dickens and George Eliot. Since then, literary tastes and opinions have changed dramatically, and many people have written about, interpreted, and adapted Austen’s writings. But why do we like her stories so much? What can they tell us about her world, and ours?

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Planetary astronomy in ancient Greece

As eclipse 2017 quickly approaches, Americans—from astronomers to photographers to space enthusiasts—are preparing to witness the celestial wonder that is totality. Phenomenon found within planetary science has long driven us to observe and study space. Through a shared desire to dismantle and reconstruct the theories behind our solar system, ancient Greek philosophers and scientists built the foundation of planetary astronomy.

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Winter is coming: the zombie apocalypse on TV

But maybe the greatest horde of zombies these days is on television, from cult shows like iZombie and Santa Clarita Diet to two of the most popular shows on the planet, The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. The Walking Dead has recently wrapped its seventh season, but Game of Thrones is getting ready to ramp up for its final two seasons, with the world premiere of its Season Seven coming tonight.

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International Affairs

As IS territorial dominance diminishes, what challenges lie ahead for Iraq’s Kurds?

On the ninth of June, Haider al-Abadi, the Iraqi Prime Minister, arrived in Mosul to congratulate the armed forces for the liberation of the city. Mosul had been conquered by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in 2014 and served as its Iraqi capital. This significant victory is not yet the end of ISIS in Iraq, however, both in Iraq and in Syria its territorial dominance has strongly diminished—by about 60 % since January 2015.

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How well do you know Jane Austen? [quiz]

In honor of the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, we have created a quiz to help you determine how well you know the beloved novelist. Are you an Austen expert? Or do you need to brush up on some of her greatest works? Take the quiz to find out!

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