Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Reducing the harm done by substances: key strategies

The most recent data on life expectancy for the United States show stagnation over the past three years. This stagnation has happened at a time when the most important causes of death, such as cardiovascular diseases or cancers, have decreased. So, what causes of death are responsible for the stagnation in life expectancy?

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Corruption: are you an expert? [quiz]

Headlines regularly focus on political scandals and corruption. From public officials embezzling government monies, selling public offices, and trading bribes for favors to private companies generate public indignation and calls for reform—corruption, it seems, is inevitable. But what really is corruption, and who is responsible for its continuation?

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Divine powers

What do we think of when we think of ‘God’? Any answer to this question will include the idea that the divine is powerful. God creates, God is in charge of the world. If we think that the concept of God doesn’t make sense, that may be partly because the concept of God’s power doesn’t make sense: how can a good God be powerful whilst the world contains this much suffering?

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Abstract objects: two ways of introducing them, in the core and the periphery of language

One of the most striking features of natural language is that it comes with a wealth of terms for abstract objects, or so it seems, and to a great extent they can be formed quite systematically and productively. First, we can form nominalizations from expressions that normally serve as predicates, for example adjectives, and the nominalizations can be used, it seems to refer to abstract objects.

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History of the United States’ Constitutional Law

The law of the land is the Constitution of the United States of America. Consisting of 7 articles, drafted by the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia, and 27 amendments, more than 200 years old, this document is the oldest written constitution of a national state in use anywhere in the world today. (The oldest written constitution of any sort in use today is the Massachusetts state constitution of 1780.)

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Practising surgery in India

Being a surgeon in India is very different and probably more interesting than being one anywhere else in the world. Not only are there the usual third world problems to deal with like poor, undernourished patients with advanced diseases who throng the underfunded public hospitals but there is now, in stark contrast, a for-profit and thriving expensive private health sector to which, in spite of its obvious shortcomings, three quarters of the patients go first.

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Listening for change

How might we, as oral historians, make the voices of those who have lived and live in our communities available to all? For the past 10 years oral history programs all over the country have been digitizing their collections and putting them online.

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The global challenges Brexit won’t fix

23 June marks the first anniversary of the UK’s Brexit referendum. One year ago, the European Union was reeling. There were fears that the EU would start to unravel, with other countries being pushed by populism and euroscepticism into following Britain towards the exit door. A year on, that fearful mood has evaporated. But the EU is far from resolving its accumulating problems.

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The life and work of Alan Turing

Alan Turing was one of England’s most influential scientists of the twentieth century. He is best remembered as having cracked the codes used in the Enigma machines, enabling the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many important battles, particularly in the Atlantic Ocean. While this achievement which arguably helped to bring the Second World War to a quicker end has been brought to the fore through popular histories

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9 facts about hermeneutics

Hermeneutics is the art of understanding and of making oneself understood. But what does ‘hermeneutics’ mean? Where did the term originate and how is it used in day-to-day life? Jens Zimmermann, author of Hermeneutics: A Very Short Introduction, tells us 9 things everyone should know about hermeneutics.

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How can we save the pollinators?

An often-cited estimate is that one-third of the food you eat comes from insect pollinators. Many of the fruits and vegetables that you enjoy develop their fruit and seed primarily through insect pollination services. Other sometimes overlooked benefits of pollinators are the ecological services that they provide. For example, insects pollinate many plants that provide erosion control, keeping our waterways clean.

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Latino fathers and parenting: lessons learned from Puerto Rican fathers

atherhood is a complex and an evolving concept which has gained national attention. Fathers play an important role in the development of their children, which also has an impact on their identity as a father. Minority fathers, particularly Latino fathers, have been under-recognized in this call to better understand fatherhood. However, given that Hispanics are the largest minority group in the US, the experiences of these fathers are of heightened importance.

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Katherine Dunham: the artist as activist

In October 1944, the African American choreographer Katherine Dunham (1909-2006) stood in front of an audience in Louisville, Kentucky and announced that she and her dance company would not return to Louisville until the city desegregated its theaters. Word of her brave stance ricocheted across the country, finding its way into a newspaper in Indiana, where a fifteen-year-old boy wrote her an admiring letter saying that she was an inspiration in the fight for racial equality.

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The dwarfs of our vocabulary

I receive all kinds of questions about etymology. Unless they are responses to my posts, they usually concern slang and exotic words. No one seems to care about and, as, at, for, and their likes. Conjunctions and prepositions are taken for granted, even though their origin is sometimes obscure and their history full of meaning.

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