Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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A library in letters: the Bodleian

Libraries by their very nature are keepers and extollers of the written word. They contain books, letters, and manuscripts, signifying unending possibilities and limitless stores of knowledge waiting to be explored. But aside from the texts and stories kept within libraries’ walls, they also have a long and fascinating story in their own right.

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Conscious unity, split perception

We take it for granted that our entire brain only produces one conscious agent, despite the fact that the brain actually consists of many different, more or less independent modules. But how is this possible? The classic answer to this riddle is cortical connectivity. Separate brain regions only give rise to one conscious agent because the different parts continuously exchange massive amounts of information.

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La La Land and the Hollywood film musical

Say what you will about the strong fan base of La La Land and its probable domination of the upcoming Oscars after sweeping so many of the guild awards, not to mention the critical backlash against it that I have seen in the press and among scholars on Facebook, but Damien Chazelle certainly knows the history of the Hollywood film musical!

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Preparing your choir to sing

Chris Rowbury reflects on why time spent on developing the voice, body and mind through fun and imaginative warm-up exercises will result in a relaxed, centred, focused, and engaged choir and a more effective and productive rehearsal.

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Accelerated ageing and mental health

The accelerated ageing of the populations of developed countries is being matched in the developing world. In fact, in 2017, for the first time in history, the number of persons aged 65 and over will outstrip those aged 5 and under. This population trend is not just a temporary blip, not just due to a short-term outcome of the baby boomer generation.

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Where your mind goes, you go? (Part 1)

What does it take for you to persist across time? What sorts of changes could you survive, and what sorts of changes would bring your existence to an end? The dominant approach to personal identity says that a person persists over time by virtue of facts about psychological continuity (e.g. continuity of memory, character, or mental capacities). Various puzzle cases have been presented to support this view.

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What chocolate chip cookies can teach us about code [excerpt]

What is “code”? Although “code” can be applied to a variety of areas—including, but not limited to computer code, genetic code, and ethical code—each distinct type of code has an important similarity. Essentially, all code contains instructions that lead to an intended end. Philip E. Auerswald, author of The Code Economy, argues that code drives human history.

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Research interview approaches in International Relations

‘You do realise that they’ll talk differently to you because you’re British?’ I thought about this advice a lot. It came from a Zimbabwean who I met as I began research for my book about Zimbabwe’s International Relations. I planned to interview Zimbabweans to find out how they saw the world, and how they understood themselves in relation to it. There are many ways to conduct research interviews.

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Wilson Pickett and the “Ballad of Stackalee”

On the night of December 27 1895, at the Bill Curtis Saloon in St. Louis, Missouri, two black men, “Stag” Lee Sheldon and Billy Lyons, got into an argument. They were, supposedly, friends and drinking partners, but politics was about to come fatally between them

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Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion

The civil rights movement, religion, and resistance

An excerpt exploring how the Civil Rights Movement might not have been successful without the spiritual empowerment that arose from the culture developed over two centuries of black American Christianity. In other words, religious impulses derived from black religious traditions made the movement move.

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Foreign Policy Analysis

Economic statecraft and the Donald

How will the Trump administration utilize economic statecraft and how will his approach be distinct from previous presidents? To answer these questions, we look to what we know about Trump’s stances and early actions on trade policy, sanctions, and foreign aid. For much of the early history of the republic, economic statecraft was the primary bargaining tool employed.

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Inequality and new forms of slavery

The issues of social justice, poverty, and all the forms of human trafficking, deployment, and oppression that can be grouped under the umbrella concept of “slavery” are problems that sorely affect the world today and urgently need concrete solutions.

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The cultural politics of “othering”

President Trump’s executive order ending immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries has intensified a vituperative debate in American society, which has been ongoing since long before candidate Trump formally remarked on it. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four successful presidential campaigns created a bipartisan consensus that cast the immigrant experience as an extension of a narrative beginning on Plymouth Rock.

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The history of global health organizations [timeline]

Established in April 1948, the World Health Organization remains the leading agency concerned with international public health. As a division of the United Nations, the WHO works closely with governments to work towards combating infectious diseases and ensuring preventative care for all nations. The events included in the timeline below, sourced from Governing Global Health: Who Runs the World and Why?, show the development of global health organizations throughout history.

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ISA 2017: a city and conference guide

The 2017 International Studies Association meeting will be held this year from February 22nd until February 25th in Baltimore, Maryland. The International Studies Association is one of the oldest interdisciplinary associations devoted to studying international, transnational, and global affairs since 1959. The 58th Annual Convention is dedicated to understanding change in world politics.

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