Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

The Politics of Succession

The perennial problem of succession [long read]

These days it is perhaps difficult to put oneself emphatically into a world in which the dynastic realm appeared for most men as the only imaginable ‘political’ system”, writes Benedict Anderson in Imagined Communities, his seminal book on the origins of modern nationalism. But this was the world a large majority of all Europeans lived in before the French Revolution and in many cases up until the First World War.

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Enraged, Rattled, and Wronged: Entitlement's Response to Social Progress

Guns and the precarity of manhood

Manhood is precarious. Unlike womanhood, manhood is hard won and easily lost and therefore men go to great effort to perform it—for the most part for other boys and men—sometimes to their own and others’ detriment.

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International Affairs

A caution in exploring non-Western International Relations

The past quarter of a century has seen a burgeoning scholarship on the disciplinary history of International Relations (IR). By re-examining and revealing how past intellectuals and experts wrote about “the international,” this revisionist work on IR history generates a critical gaze at the assumptions on which IR stands today.

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Word Origins

Long-delayed gleanings

No one doubts that “bachelor” came to Middle English at the end of the thirteenth century from Old French and meant “a young knight.” Most conjectures about the etymology of this mysterious word were offered long ago.

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Moby Dick Oxford World's Classics

Moby-Dick is the answer. What is the question?

In December 2021, I was a contestant on the popular American quiz show Jeopardy! Every Jeopardy! game has a brief segment in which contestants share anecdotes about themselves, and I used my time to proselytize reading Moby-Dick. I talked about my work on the new Oxford World’s Classics edition of the novel, and emphasized that Melville’s novel is unexpectedly weird, moving, and hilarious despite its monumental reputation.

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Management of Healthcare Systems

How can we build the resilience of our healthcare systems?

An effective and efficient health care system is a key to good health of citizens and plays a significant contribution to their country’s economy and overall development (WHO). Poor health systems hold back the progress on improving health in countries at all income levels, according to a joint report by the OECD, World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank.

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Bachelors and bachelorettes

No one doubts that “bachelor” came to Middle English at the end of the thirteenth century from Old French and meant “a young knight.” Most conjectures about the etymology of this mysterious word were offered long ago.

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Happy Dreams of Liberty

An enslaved Alabama family and the question of generational wealth in the US

Wealthy Alabama cotton planter Samuel Townsend invited the attorney to his home in 1853, swearing him to secrecy. His elder brother Edmund had recently died, and the extensive litigation over Edmund’s estate had made it clear to Samuel that he needed an airtight will if he wanted to guarantee that his chosen heirs would inherit […]

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Public Policy & Aging Report

Aduhelm and the politics of drug approval in the United States

During the past several decades, the US Congress has authorized billions of dollars for Alzheimer’s disease research, but this has not yet led to a major breakthrough in the treatment. It is therefore understandable why there was a great deal of excitement about a new drug being developed by Biogen for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, aducanumab (Aduhelm).

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Salvation on earth: “saviour” gods in Ancient Greece

Salvation on earth: “saviour” gods in Ancient Greece

What did it mean to be “saved” in antiquity? In a polytheistic system where multiple gods and goddesses reigned, which ones did the ancient Greeks turn to as their “saviour” and how could the gods be persuaded to “save”? Theodora Jim investigates how the Greeks imagine, solicit, and experience divine saving as they confronted the unknown and unknowable, and how their hopes of “salvation” differ from that in Christianity.

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Grove Music

Eurovision 2022 in tempore belli: voices of the people, protest, and peace

Months before the Grand Finale of the Eurovision Song Contest on May 14, 2022 in Turin, Italy, Ukraine was able to claim both moral and musical victory with its entry, the Kalush Orchestra’s “Stefania” (Stephanie). Together with the official videos of all other national entries, “Stefania” began circulating globally on multiple internet platforms in the early weeks of 2022, even as the threat of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine intensified and then reached the full force of invasion on 24 February.

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A “neat” etymology

Where do you find the origin and, if necessary, the meaning of never say die, never mind, and other phrases of this type? Should you look them up under never, say, die, or mind? Will they be there?

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Off with their prefixes

I was teaching the history of the English Language and had just mentioned that, following the English Civil War, Charles I had been convicted of treason and beheaded.

A question came from the back of the classroom: “Why do we say beheaded and decapitated, not the other way around?”

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