Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Making babies: 21st century reproduction

Today, it is our understanding of the start of life, not its end, that’s being challenged. What does it take to reproduce? Once again, technological advancements are challenging one of our most familiar biological concepts. It used to be that there were only two ways for something to reproduce: either through the sort of sexual reproduction typical of most animals or through the asexual reproduction characteristic of things like bacteria.

Read More

In memoriam: Jimmie C. Holland, MD

Jimmie C. Holland, MD, internationally recognized as the founder of the field of Psycho-oncology, died suddenly on 24 December 2017 at the age of 89. Dr. Holland, who was affectionately known by her first name, “Jimmie,” had a profound global influence on the fields of Psycho-oncology, Psychosomatic Medicine, and Oncology.

Read More

Facts about Shakespeare’s sonnets and poems

Of all Shakespeare’s great plays his most frequently published work in his lifetime his erotic poem, Venus and Adonis. Shakespeare’s Sonnets and Poems may often feel less familiar than his plays, but they have also seeped into our cultural history. Within them, they reveal much about the Bard himself and include a number of surprises. Here are a few lesser known facts about Shakespeare’s sonnets and poems.

Read More

Animal of the Month: Interactive guide to polar bear anatomy

From white fur to large paws, we all know what the largest bear species in the world looks like, but how much do you actually know about the anatomy of polar bears? So far this month, we have explored how climate change affects our Animal of the Month. Now, we would like to take some time to appreciate the anatomy of the polar bear, particularly the ways in which the bear has adapted to its environment and lifestyle.

Read More

An’t please the pigs

My database on please the pigs is poor, but, since a question about it has been asked by an old and faithful correspondent, I’ll say about it what I can. Perhaps our readers will be able to contribute something to the sought-for etymology. When a word turns out to be of undisclosed or hopelessly obscure origin, we take the result more or less in stride, but it comes to many as a surprise to hear that the circumstances surrounding the emergence of an idiom are beyond reconstruction.

Read More

The ‘most wonderful plants in the world’ are also some of the most useful ones

In the popular imagination, carnivorous plants are staples of horror films, high-school theater productions, and science-fiction stories. Many a child has pleaded with her parents to buy yet another Venus’ fly-trap to replace the one she has just killed by over-stuffing it with raw hamburger rather than the plant’s natural diet of flies, ants, and other small insects.

Read More

200 years of Parkinson’s disease

The 200th anniversary of James Parkinson’s seminal Essay on the Shaking Palsy gives cause for commemoration and reflection. Parkinson’s astute observation and careful description of only six patients led to one of the earliest and most complete clinical descriptions of Parkinson’s disease. With the concept of a syndrome still not fully realised, Parkinson was among the first writers to unify a set of seemingly unrelated symptoms into one diagnosis.

Read More

The Reformation and Lutheran baroque

The Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century has long been associated with a reprioritization of the senses, with a shift from visual to verbal piety and from religious images to words. In many parts of northern Europe, the rich visual culture of the late-medieval church—sculptures, altarpieces, paintings, stained glass, and ecclesiastical treasures—fell victim to the purifying zeal of iconoclasts.

Read More

Should public health leaders get on the genomics train?

Tier 1 genomic applications, backed by strong evidence of their clinical utility, support population screening to identify those at heightened risk for inherited cancers and cardiovascular disease. While accounting for less than 10% of the population, these individuals and families account for disproportionate morbidity and mortality and can benefit from targeted prevention efforts.

Read More

Putting George Enescu back on the musical map

Even by the standards of musical genius, George Enescu (1881–1955) was quite an extraordinary figure. A musician of a precocity that rivals Mozart or Mendelssohn, Enescu was equally proficient as a composer, performer, and teacher. Remembered nowadays primarily as a violinist, he numbers securely among the foremost instrumentalists of the twentieth century and a very capable cellist besides.

Read More

On our craving for generality

Ludwig Wittgenstein, in his Blue Book, chastised philosophers for what he called “our craving for generality.” Philosophers (including the earlier Wittgenstein of the Tractatus) certainly have exhibited this craving, and despite his admonishment, we continue to do so.

Read More

A new generation wrestles with the gender structure

What’s happening with kids today? A few years ago, liberals were confidently– and conservatives dejectedly– predicting that Millennials were blurring traditional distinctions between the sexes both in the workplace and at home, operating on “the distinctive and historically unprecedented belief that there are no inherently male or female roles in society. So what are the Millennials’ gender politics?

Read More

George Washington and eighteenth century masculinity

We want George Washington—the President of all Presidents, the Man of all Men—to be a certain way. We want him to be an unalloyed male outdoing, singlehandedly, all the other competitors. We want him strong and rude, rough and rugged, athletic and hypersexualized, a chiseled torso, a Teddy Roosevelt, a Tarzan, and a John Wayne: “a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.”

Read More

Will common law dispute resolution bring banks to Paris after Brexit?

The European continent operates a legal system derived from the Napoleonic Code, first enacted in 1804. Napoleon was, I venture to point out, and without meaning to be too critical, a revolutionary dictator. He gathered four eminent jurists together and, as dictators are wont to do, ordered that they produce an all-encompassing system of law for his judges to administer to the nation. .

Read More

Taking stock of the Catalan independence bid

“It is clear that Catalonia’s political landscape has been transformed. “With the high drama of October now in the rear view mirror, the push for Catalonia’s independence has largely receded from international headlines. Yet, it leaves in its wake a number of open questions. In this brief piece, I consider three that are particularly illuminating of broader patterns of politics in multinational states.

Read More

10 tips for getting your journal article published

Writing a paper that gets accepted for publication in a high-quality journal is not easy. If it was, we’d all be doing it! Academic journals publish articles that are well-written, and based on solid scholarship with a robust methodology. They must present well-supported stories and make significant contributions to the knowledge base of the journal’s specific discipline.

Read More