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OUPblog | Oxford University Press’s Academic Insights for the World

Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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A West Ender’s stop on Broadway

We’ve got one day here and not another minute…”. Well, not one day exactly, but just five—a short week’s stay in NYC from England, and four nights to catch a few shows. So how to choose? The first choices were easy: two new productions of classic musical comedies, and as it happens, shows by the same team of writers. Betty Comden and Adolph Green were veterans of Broadway by the time they came to write On the Twentieth Century (1978), though merely young starlets when they first scored a hit with On the Town (1944).

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Hedge funds and litigation: A brave new world

Hedge funds and other investment funds are emerging as sophisticated litigators, viewing litigation as an asset, which can create value and mitigate risk, rather than something to be avoided or feared. As a consequence, both the market and various legal systems are being disciplined and developed. How and why is this happening? Willing to litigate relentlessly and fearlessly, hedge funds will seek out and find gaps in documents and uncertainties in the law, and exploit them with ruthless efficiency, entering new legal territory and pushing the boundary of legal theories.

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The Battle of Marston Moor and the English Revolution

As a schoolboy I was told that on the eve of the battle of Marston Moor in 1644, as the rival armies drew up, a sturdy yokel was found ploughing his fields. When brought up to speed about the war between King and parliament he asked, “What has they two fallen out again?”.

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Tensions in domestic and international criminal justice

In the wake of political violence, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has shown a clear and continued preference for multiple trials to be pursued at both a national and international level. The Court’s approach to complementarity and it’s reading of what constitutes ‘a case’ under Article 17 of its Statute lays the legal foundation for this move.

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When politicians talk science

With more candidates entering the 2016 presidential race weekly, how do we decide which one deserves our vote? Is a good sense of humor important? Should she be someone we can imagine drinking beer with? Does he share our position on an issue that trumps all others in our minds? We use myriad criteria to make voting decisions, but one of the most important for me is whether the candidate carefully considers all the evidence bearing on the positions he advocates.

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India’s foreign policy at a cusp?

Is India’s foreign policy at a cusp? The question is far from trivial. Since assuming office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited well over a dozen countries ranging from India’s immediate neighborhood to places as far as Brazil. Despite this very active foreign policy agenda, not once has he or anyone in his Cabinet ever invoked the term “nonalignment”. Nor, for that matter, has he once referred to India’s quest for “strategic autonomy”.

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OUP Philosophy Creast

How well do you know Ludwig Wittgenstein? [quiz]

This June, we’re featuring Ludwig Wittgenstein as our philosopher of the month. Born into a wealthy industrial family in Austria, Wittgenstein is regarded by many as the greatest philosopher of the 20th century for his work around the philosophy of language and logic. Take our quiz to see how well you know the life and studies of Wittgenstein.

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Oxford Dictionaries

Twerking since 1820: an OED antedating

When the word twerk burst into the global vocabulary of English a few years ago with reference to a dance involving thrusting movements of the bottom and hips, most accounts of its origin pointed in the same direction, to the New Orleans ‘bounce’ music scene of the 1990s, and in particular to a 1993 recording by DJ Jubilee, ‘Jubilee All’, whose refrain exhorted dancers to ‘twerk, baby, twerk’. However, information in a new entry published in the historical Oxford English Dictionary this month, as part of the June 2015 update, reveals that the word was in fact present in English more than 170 years earlier.

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Real change in food systems needs real ethics

In May, we celebrated the third annual workshop on food justice at Michigan State University. Few of the people who come to these student-organized events doubt that they are part of a social movement. And yet it is not clear to me that the “social movement” framing is the best way to understand food justice, or indeed many of the issues in the food system that have been raised by Mark Bittman or journalists such as Eric Schlosser, Michael Pollan or Barry Estabrook.

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Elspeth Brown on digital collaboration in LGBTQ oral history

This week on the Oral History Review blog, we’re continuing our recognition of LGBTQ Pride month with a special podcast featuring Elspeth Brown. In the podcast, Brown discusses the LGBTQ Oral History Digital Collaboratory, as well as her work as a member of the community and a historian. Check out the links below for more information, and send us your proposals if you’d like to share your work with the OHR blog.

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TWECEB (Blog)

Does everyone love the National Health Service? Uncovering history’s critics

The National Health Service (NHS) has never just been about the state’s provision of universal healthcare. Since 1948, it has been invested with a spectrum of ‘British values’, including decency, fairness, and respect. Featured in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, and hailed in polls as the thing that makes people most proud of being British, the NHS enjoys widespread affection.

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Hope, women, the police panchayat, and the Mumbai slums

The Mumbai slums have recently achieved a weird kind of celebrity status. Whatever the considerable merits of the film Slum Dog Millionaire and the best-selling book by Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers (now also a play and a film), these works have contributed to the making of a contemporary horror myth.

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9780199313396 - Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Are you a sugar scholar?

How much do you know about all things sweet? Are you an obsessive “Top-tier Sugar Scholar”? Or are you a dabbling “Sugar Novice”? No matter your level of scholarship, if sweetness and obscure facts are your game, we have just the perfect quiz for you.

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Look away now: The prophecies of Nostradamus

If you like your prophecies pin sharp then look away now. The 16th century celebrity seer Nostradamus excelled at the exact opposite, couching his predictions in terms so vague as to be largely meaningless. This has not, however, prevented his soothsayings attracting enormous and unending interest, and his book – Les Propheties – has rarely been out of print since it was first published 460 years ago. Uniquely, for a renaissance augur, the writings of Nostradamus are perhaps as popular today as they were four and a half centuries ago.

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Foods and festivals of Ramadan around the world

On 17 June, the new moon signaled the start of Ramadan (or Ramzan as it’s called throughout South Asia), the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar in which observant Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, and sex during daylight hours. Increased religious devotion sets the tone for the month as Muslims gather for special prayers, acts of charity, and Qur’anic recitations in gratitude and devotion to God.

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Music mentorship and the learning process

At age 23 I had finished my second degree in vocal performance from a distinguished music program, but so what? I felt that I was too young and inexperienced in the professional world to embark on a solo career. As luck (and connections) would have it, a well-known recording group in the Midwest, The Roger Wagner Chorale, eventually offered me that on-the-road experience and performance confidence that would also allow me to meet one of the greatest singing actors of the 20th century.

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