Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Why We Fall for Toxic Leaders

The Oxford Word of the Year is a word or expression chosen to reflect the passing year in language. Every year, the Oxford Dictionaries team debates over a selection of candidates for Word of the Year, choosing the one that best captures the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of that particular year. The 2018 Oxford Word […]

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The unbroken etymology of “bread”

Some preliminary conclusions about our subject appeared last week (see the post for November 7, 2018). Those are not particularly promising. It appears that once upon a time the product we associate with bread was called hlaif-; its modern reflex (continuation) in English is loaf.

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Place of the Year 2018 nominee spotlight: Mexico

Mexico has had an eventful 2018, both on the national and international stage. With conversations centered on immigration, natural disasters, economic advancements, and political protests, the country and its people have been front and center. On November 5, Mexico City received their first wave of migrants from a large group of people travelling through Mexico […]

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The Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine is recruiting!

We’re looking for medics to join our team to contribute to the eleventh edition of the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine. Unique among medical texts, the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine is a complete and concise guide to the core areas of medicine that also encourages thinking about the world from the patient’s perspective, offering […]

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Stan Lee on what is a superhero

What is a superhero? What is a supervillain? What are the traits that define and separate these two? What cultural contexts do we find them in? And why we need them? Editors Robin S. Rosenberg, PhD and Peter Coogan, PhD collected a series of essays examining these questions from both major comic book writers and editors, such as Stan Lee and Danny Fingeroth, and leading academics in psychology and cultural studies, such as Will Brooker and John Jennings.

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Sick of sickness! Recovering a happier history

Horrible histories are not just for young readers: adult historians also seem to have a penchant for painful tales of disaster and distress. This is especially apparent in the realm of medical history, where it has been said that before the birth of modern pharmaceutics the complete recovery of health was so rare that it barely existed as a concept.

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Place of the Year 2018 nominee spotlight: Pacific Ocean

A study in March of 2018 revealed that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP), the world’s largest collection of ocean garbage, has grown to more than 600,000 square miles. That’s twice the size of Texas, or three times the size of France. The mass weighs 88,000 tons, a number which is 16 times higher than […]

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Resisting slavery

Once known by the name of “Bristol”, he gained notoriety as “Three-Fingered Jack”; the slave (anti)hero whose actions so fascinated the eighteenth-century imagination that his story was variously told and retold in popular treatises, novels, chapbooks, and plays.

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World antibiotic awareness: are we doing enough?

Microorganisms resistant to treatment pose as one of the biggest threats to global healthcare and have been identified to be present globally. This current healthcare crisis is more generally known as antimicrobial resistance, and refers to the ability of bacteria, viruses or parasites to stop an antimicrobial from working.

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Remaking Europe after the First World War

In the wake of the November 11, 1918 armistice between Germany and the Allies, high-minded idealism confronted a mélange of very unpleasant realities. All the belligerents had claimed to be fighting for a noble set of aims, and the United States President, Woodrow Wilson, went further. He proposed the creation of a supranational agency, the […]

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Russian disinformation – How worried should we be?

The Russian government’s use of disinformation, i.e. intentionally misleading content, has raised serious concern not only among Russia’s neighbors, but also in Western nations more broadly. Responses to the perceived threat range from attempts to monitor the disinformation, to U.S. court’s legal indictment of Russian individuals and companies.

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Remembering the final moments of The Great War [excerpt]

11 November 2018 marks 100 years since the end of the Great War. Victory came at a great cost, seeing millions of fatalities in one of the deadliest wars in history. In the below excerpt from The Last Battle, World War I historian Peter Hart shares testimonies about the war’s end from the men who fought until the eleventh hour.

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Dynasties: chimpanzees and their community

Sir David Attenborough returns to our screens tonight narrating a new nature documentary: Dynasties. We will be starting the series with one of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom, who we diverged from roughly six million years ago: chimpanzees.

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The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Existentialist

At the end of the second world war, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre launched the “existentialist offensive,” an ambitious campaign to shape a new cultural and political landscape. The word ‘existentialism’ was a popular neologism with no clear meaning. They wanted to profit from its media currency by making their philosophy its definition. Sartre’s talk “Existentialism is a Humanism” was an instant legend.

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