Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

In or out of Britain?: the big question for Scotland

The 2014 Independence referendum was an important moment in British constitutional history. With the Scottish Parliament’s decision to ask for a second vote, it also provides useful lessons for the future. The referendum of 2014 divided Scotland into two camps, a division that has now become the principal dividing line in the nation’s politics. Yet it has not created a social or ethnic divide such as we see in Northern Ireland.

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Ten facts about the harp

The harp is an ancient instrument found in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and tunings in musical cultures throughout the world. In the West, the harp has been used to accompany singing in religious rituals and court music.

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On the physicality of racism

When you talk about how the young boys that I grew up around walked through the world, when you talk about the fact that my brother had made a decision at 13 that he was going to carry a handgun, when you talk about the fact that that wasn’t even unusual, you are talking about the physical safety, the danger, the very health of the body. Conversations about race are filled with words and euphemisms to describe the impact of racism on people and communities.

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Self-portraits of the playwright as a middle-aged man [part two]

When Tennessee Williams swapped his pen for a paintbrush, his tendency to use his lived experiences as source material did not alter much. He often painted places he’d seen, people he knew, or compositions he conjured up in the limekiln of his imagination. Although Williams painted more frequently later in life, precisely as a creative outlet when his brand of theatre was no longer in vogue, he had started sketching and painting from a very early age. To follow his career as a painter is, to a large extent, to trace his life’s alterations, physically, of course, but also emotionally.

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Etymology gleanings for March 2017

Many thanks for the comments. One of the questions was about the dialect that could be used for the foundation of a new norm. No spelling can reflect the pronunciation of all English speakers.

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State of the union for Social Work Month 2017

We face a host of intertwined issues of social justice today, most of which are not new but deeply embedded historically. Poverty is ubiquitous, and economic inequality has increased both nationally and globally. Children continue to bear the brunt of poverty, especially children of color. Struggles for women’s rights continue around the world in the face of persistent gender inequality, oppression, and violence.

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The significance of the Russian Revolution for the 21st century

The year 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, one of seminal events of the 20th century. The Russian Revolution “shook the world,” as the radical American journalist John Reed so aptly put it, because it led to the establishment of the Soviet Union, the world’s first socialist and totalitarian society.

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“The Church’s Enemies” – an extract from Luther’s Jews

Set against the backdrop of a Europe in turmoil, Thomas Kaufmann illustrates the vexed and sometimes shocking story of Martin Luther’s increasingly venomous attitudes towards the Jews over the course of his lifetime. The following extract looks at Luther’s early position on the Jews in both his writing and lectures.

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Self-portraits of the playwright as a young man [part one]

Are today’s selfies simply yesterday’s self-portraits? Is there really that vast of an epistemological chasm between Kim Kardashian’s photos of herself on a bloated Instagram account and the numerous self-portraits of Rembrandt or Van Gogh hanging in art museums and galleries around the world? Aren’t they all really just products of their respective eras’ “Je selfie, donc je suis” culture, with perhaps only technological advances (and, admittedly, talent) separating them?

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Supporting and managing global health

Around the world, health is among the most important issue facing individuals, communities, governments, and countries as a whole. While there are increases in policy debates and developments in medical research, there are still many actions that can be taken to improve the picture of health at a global level. Following an event at Columbia University, we sat down with Chelsea Clinton and Devi Sridhar, authors of Governing Global Health

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Combating gendered violence in the face of right-wing populism

In my 2013 book, I noted a troubling trend in the trajectory of European Union policy. The 1990s and early 2000s had been characterized by important victories for a dynamic network of transnational feminists. Advocates from a wide of array of countries utilized the various political opportunities of multilevel governance to push for European legislation framing gendered violence as a widespread problem in Europe.

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Abortion: conflict and compromise

A few years ago, when I told a colleague that I was working primarily on abortion rights, he looked at me quizzically and replied, “But I thought they had sorted all of that out in the seventies”. Needless to say, he was a scientist. Still, while the idea that the ethical questions implicated in abortion were somehow put to bed in the last century is humorous, I knew what he meant.

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Oxford Review of Economic Policy

A hitch-hiker’s guide to post-Brexit trade negotiations

The UK has yet to decide what relationship with the EU it will seek following Brexit. But whatever option it pursues, the government’s ability to achieve its goals will depend on the success of its negotiating strategy. To design a successful negotiating strategy, it is first necessary to understand the purpose of trade agreements. When a country sets trade policy unilaterally, it does not account for how its choices affect the rest of the world.

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Birds’ eye views – a question of reality

A finger on a touch pad can glide us across the globe; we can casually sweep from the view that an albatross apparently gets as it flies to its nest site in South Georgia, to what a vulture apparently sees when looking for carrion in Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater. The notion that these really are bird’s eye views is deeply engrained. When we use the term “bird’s eye view”, we actually think that this is how the world looks to a bird.

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Orlando: An audio guide

In honor of Virginia Woolf’s death (March 28, 1941), listen to Dr Michael Whitworth, editor of the Oxford edition of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, introduce the novel, and discuss Woolf’s life and times in this Oxford World’s Classics audio guide.

“I feel the need of an escapade after these serious poetic experimental books…I want to kick up my heels and be off.”

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