Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

From Miss Havisham to Ebenezer Scrooge: playlists for Dickens’ characters

Charles Dickens is one of the most famous novelists of all time. The energy which surges through his writing brings the Victorian world to life, and his lively ensemble of characters has seeped from his pages, deep into popular culture. There are roughly two thousand named characters in his novels, and many more unnamed. In the playlists below, we imagine what some of his most famous characters would listen to if they had access to our modern musical offerings.

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Feeling me and you: social problems in autism touch-related?

Individuals with ASD experience tremendous social difficulties. They often fail to take turns in conversations and have a hard time maintaining and understanding age-appropriate relationships such as being in love, or having a friend. On top of that, many individuals with ASD are over- and/or under-sensitive to sensory information. Some feel overwhelmed by busy environments such as supermarkets; others dislike being touched, or are less sensitive to pain.

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Quote the quote: how well do you know your Victorian novels?

When the description “Victorian” is brought up, the image of corseted and bustled women in flouncing petticoats comes to mind. Familiarized through film culture and popular imagination, many representations of the era are preserved through the literature of that period. Countless remakes and references to Victorian novels have been made throughout the centuries, making their authors household names.

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An ax(e) to grind

That words travel from land to land is no secret. I do not only mean the trivial borrowings of the type known so well from the history of English. For instance, more than a thousand years ago, the Vikings settled in most of Britain, and therefore English is full of Scandinavian words.

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Aging Cheddar: a timeline of the world-famous cheese

In the cheesemaking world, “Cheddar” is a generic term for cheeses that fall into a wide range of flavor, color, and texture. According to the US Code of Federal Regulations, any cheese with a moisture content of up to 39% and at least 50% fat in dry matter is legally considered a form of Cheddar. […]

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Academy schools and the transformation of the English education system

Increasing the quality and quantity of an individual’s education is seen by many as a panacea to many social ills: stagnating wages, increases in inequality, and declines in technological progress might be countered by policies aimed at increasing the skills of those who are in danger of falling behind in the modern labour market.

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Nat Turner’s legacy

Nate Parker’s movie The Birth of a Nation, which opens in Europe this month, tells the semi-fictionalized story of Nat Turner, an enslaved man who led a short-lived rebellion in rural southeast Virginia in August 1831. The movie focuses on Turner’s life before the rebellion; demonstrating one man’s breaking point sparked by the witnessing of extraordinary brutality.

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Preventing the next flight from Bethlehem

A part of the Christmas story tells how the Holy Family fled Bethlehem, warned in a dream of the vengeful plans of a mad monarch. In recent years, Christians have once again found cause to flee the town of his birth. The case study of Palestinian Christians is emblematic of the larger problems faced by Christian populations in the Middle East.

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The Cuban Revolution and resistance to the United States

The Cuban revolution came out of the very history that it was determined to redress, a history profoundly shaped by the United States and into which the Americans had deeply inscribed themselves with pretensions to preponderant power. For vast numbers of Cubans, the revolution was about a people determined to reintegrate themselves into their history as subjects and enact historical narratives as protagonists,

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Spectacular science in the shadows of New York

New York is a world center of commerce and finance, media and transportation, and many other facets of modern life. It is also a great hub of science, but this seldom transpires when New York is mentioned. Yet science, especially when including technology, inventions

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Quotes of the year 2016 [quiz]

2016 has truly been a year to remember — from the amazing competition of the Rio Olympic Games to shock Brexit from Europe, and from environmental woes to the American presidential race. Famous faces have had no shortage of opinions on current events, with celebrities, athletes and politicians not being shy to express their views.

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The Oxford Place of the Year 2016 is… Aleppo

The Twitter poll has closed and the results are in: our Place of the Year for 2016 is Aleppo. Aleppo lead the polls for longlist and shortlist consistently, and news from the city has dominated coverage of the Syrian Civil War in 2016.

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Why is forensic bitemark identification likely to be abolished as a form of trial evidence?

The public holds exaggerated views of the quality of the scientific foundations of a surprising number of forensics sciences, as well as of the courts’ scrutiny of that evidence. The most significant of the weaknesses were made plain in a report by the (U.S.) National Academy of Sciences (NAS), which concluded: “The bottom line is simple: In a number of forensic science disciplines, forensic science professionals have yet to establish either the validity of their approach or the accuracy of their conclusions.”

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Dark matter, black holes, and dwarf spheroidal galaxies

Our current understanding of the Universe suggests that it is composed of an invisible component called “dark matter”. This mysterious type of matter represents more than 25% of the entire matter and energy of which the Universe is made. The matter that we are used to “seeing” in our everyday life and that represents the building blocks for both our bodies and stars that shine in the sky, represents only 5% of the Universe.

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Christmas with the Little Women

With Christmas in less than two weeks, there is no better way to get in the holiday spirit than by revisiting one of our favorite Christmas scenes from classic literature.

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W. J. M. Mackenzie Book Award winners – part 2

Following the announcement that this year’s W. J. M. Mackenzie Book Award winner was A Government that Worked Better and Cost Less, we are celebrating the achievement of Christopher Hood and Ruth Wilson, and taking the opportunity to revisit the work of our existing winners. Part 1 looked at the recent winners from the past 10 years; now we will look back to our winners from 1988 to 2004.

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