What do you think of when you hear the term “public debt?” If you’re familiar with the phrase, you might think about elected officials debating budgets and how to pay for goods and services. Or maybe it’s a vague concept you don’t fully understand.
We’re all familiar with the phrase “words have power” but in a political and cultural climate where we become more aware of the power that money, influence, and privilege have every day, how do people wield the power of words?
How can the study of the human brain help us unravel the mysteries of life? Going a step further, how can having a better understanding of the brain help us to combat debilitating diseases or treat mental illnesses? In this episode of The Oxford Comment, we focused on human consciousness and how studying the neurological basis for human cognition can lead not only to better health but a better understanding of human culture, language, and society as well.
In episode 62 of The Oxford Comment, we are joined by biological oceanographer Lisa Levin and Professor Ray Hilborn to better understand the multifold threats to our oceans posed by overfishing, climate change, and biodiversity loss, and the impact this will have on our lives and livelihoods.
In January, Oxford University Press announced its support for SHAPE, a new collective name for the humanities, arts, and social sciences and an equivalent term to STEM. SHAPE stands for Social Sciences, Humanities, and the Arts for People and the Economy and aims to underline the value that these disciplines bring to society. Over the last year or so, huge attention has—rightly—been placed on scientific and technological advancement but does that mean we’re overlooking the contribution of SHAPE in finding solutions to global issues?
This month marked the 51st observation of Earth Day, which has become one of the largest secular observances in the world. The discourse surrounding environmentalism exists primarily in the realms of science and politics, so we wanted to take this opportunity to talk to researchers who study humankind’s relation with the earth in a broader perspective.
Famed English novelist Jane Austen had an extensive, intimate correspondence with her older sister Cassandra throughout her life, writing thousands of letters before her untimely death at the age of 41 in July 1817. However, only 161 have survived to this day. Cassandra purged the letters in the 1840s, destroying a majority and censoring those that remained of any salacious gossip in a bid to protect Jane’s reputation.
For over 500 years, the masterful works of Leonardo da Vinci have awed artists, connoisseurs, and laypeople alike. Often considered the first High Renaissance artist, Leonardo worked extensively in Florence, Milan, and Rome before ending his career in France, and his techniques and writings influenced artists for centuries after his death. However, to refer to Leonardo da Vinci as just an artist minimizes his role in numerous areas of study; in addition to painting, sculpture, and drawing, the quintessential “Renaissance Man” left an indelible mark on architecture, engineering, science, philosophy, and even music.
Over his esteemed six decade career, Italian composer Ennio Morricone has scored hundreds of movies across numerous genres, most famously the Spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone.
The Soviet Union launched the first man-made satellite, Sputnik, into space in October 1957, initiating the scientific rivalry between the USSR and the United States at the height of the Cold War. In the subsequent decades, the Soviet and American space programs traded milestones as they each embarked upon manned space flight and the exploration of space.
Sociology is a rather new discipline; while its founding theorists lived during the Enlightenment, seminal figures like Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber shaped the field amid the rise of industrialization and modernity. The scientific and political upheavals of the 19th and 20th centuries brought about a new understanding of how society worked. It is truly a crucial field of study in today’s interconnected world.
History is the academic study of the human race and everything that humans have done stretching back millennia. Though it may tell stories of the past, it is certainly not dead.
Since the end of the Second World War and the founding of Israel in 1948, the Middle East has been a bastion for the world’s economic, political, and religious tensions. From its economic hold on energy consumption to its complicated, generations-long military conflicts and its unfortunate role as a hotbed of terrorism, the volatile politics of the Middle East have had and will continue to have global implications into the future.
Due to the nature of globalization and the interconnectedness of modern human society, the discipline of economics touches on other areas of study such as politics, environmentalism, and international relations. This is especially true for the tumultuous times in which we live.
The first machine known as the typewriter was patented on 23rd June 1868, by printer and journalist Christopher Latham Sholes of Wisconsin. Though it was not the first personal printing machine attempted—a patent was granted to Englishman Henry Mill in 1714, yet no machine appears to have been built—Sholes’ invention was the first to be practical enough for mass production and use by the general public.
Since the first poems published by former slaves Phyllis Wheatley and Jupiter Hammon around the time of the American Revolution, African American literature has played a vital role in the history and culture of the United States. The slave narratives of figures such as Frederick Douglass and Harriet Wilson became a driving force for abolitionism before the Civil War, and the tumultuous end of Reconstruction brought about the exploration of new genres and themes during the height of the Jim Crow era.