Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Arts & Humanities

The medieval world [interactive map]

The study of the Middle Ages is expanding. With new locales and cross-cultural interconnections being explored, the study of the medieval world has never been more open. Set upon the backdrop of Martellus’ c.1490 world map, venture across the medieval world discovering Latvian Mead, trans-Mediterranean trade, and Ibn Battuta’s travels. Explore the Middle Ages like never before and sample medieval research from across our books, research encyclopedias, and open access journal articles.  

Read More

The enchanted renegades: female mediums’ subversive wisdom

Amidst the tapestry of history, there exist threads often overlooked, woven by the hands of remarkable women who defied the constraints of their time. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, amidst the burgeoning intellectual and cultural movements of Europe, the fascinating phenomenon of female mediumship emerged as one such thread in the history of Western psychology.

Read More

Distributed voice: disability and multimodal aesthetics

Over the years since writing about tapevoice I have lost most of my hearing and rely on various interfaces—captions, American Sign Language, lip-reading, conversation slips, and body language—that distribute the voice through multiple modalities. What I call “distributed voice” refers to the multiple forms through which the voice is produced and reproduced. But the idea of a voice dissevered from its source in the body and distributed through other media touches on larger communicational ethics in an era of digital information, social media, “fake news,” and broadband connections.

Read More

Age and experience: Early Modern women’s perspectives

It’s newsworthy, apparently, when the cover of Vogue magazine features a woman over 70 years old. The New York Times recently devoted an article to the photograph of Miuccia Prada on the March 2024 cover, breathlessly noting that Prada was wearing little if any makeup, did not appear to be “posed,” and remarkably was not gazing at the camera, “looking elsewhere, thinking of something else.” Ordinarily, one would not think it surprising to see images of a powerful, wealthy, highly-educated—and attractive—woman in the public sphere. But her age

Read More

Summertime musicking

Many families imagine summer as a time of endless fun and warmth. But summer is full of parenting challenges, including disrupted schedules and kids having more free time while parents have less. Such parenting challenges make this a great moment to consider how to weave music into activities and routines of family life to make things a little easier and a little more fun—an approach I call “parenting musically.”

Read More

75 years of unidentified flying objects [interactive]

In the summer of 1947, a private pilot flying over the state of Washington saw what he described as several pie-pan-shaped aircraft traveling in formation at remarkably high speed. Within days, journalists began referring to the objects as “flying saucers.”

Read More

A ridge too far: getting lost in the Italian Apennines

Most people these days speed across the Apennines between Florence and Bologna through road or rail tunnels without really noticing. But if, as I did, you travel more slowly along that ridge on foot, you’ll get some impression of how these modest peaks had once been seen as “the dreadfull … Appennines”.

Read More

Does Orwell still matter?

Much of George Orwell’s work is historically grounded, yet his final novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, remains of great interest even as it nears seventy-five years in print. Is Orwell still relevant today? Popular answers appeal to Orwell’s supposed ability to anticipate the future, say, the increase of surveillance technology and prevalence of authoritarian regimes. I contend Orwell remains relevant for a different reason: better than most, he understood the need to critically engage with potential allies and how to do it.

Read More

A listener’s guide to Sand Rush [playlist]

Writing Sand Rush forced me to watch some of the worst teen movies ever produced by Hollywood— I’m never getting that one hour of my life spent watching The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966) back—but the music associated with California beaches is top notch. Almost all of the songs on the Sand Rush playlist are from a very short period in time, roughly between 1961 and 1965 (not withstanding some obvious throwback songs from the 80’s, 90’s, and beyond), when the Southern California beach culture was on display everywhere, from music album covers to movies and magazine advertisements.

Read More

Six books to read this Pride Month [reading list]

As Pride Month blossoms with vibrant parades and heartfelt celebrations, it’s the perfect time to reflect and honor the rich tapestry of LGBTQ+ history and culture. Whether you’re looking to deepen your understanding, celebrate diverse identities, or simply enjoy compelling stories, our carefully curated reading list offers something for everyone.

Read More

Kids, race and dangerous jokes

I wish that everything my children will hear about race at school will be salutary, but you and I know it won’t. Their peers will expose them to a panoply of false stereotypes and harmful ideas about race, and much of that misinformation will be shared in the guise of humor.

Read More

When health care professionals unintentionally do harm

The Hippocratic Oath, which is taken by physicians and implores them to ‘first, do no harm,’ is foundational in medicine (even if the nuances of the phrase are far more complex than meets the eye). Yet what happens when doctors bring about great harm to patients without even realizing it? In this article, we define microaggressions, illustrate how they can hinder the equitable delivery of healthcare, and discuss why the consequences of microaggressions are often anything but “micro”.

Read More

Here’s Johnny––and Bette!

New York-based talk shows in the 1970s offered plentiful opportunities for quirky young talents like Bette Midler to sing a song or two and maybe kibitz with the host, regardless of whether they had a Broadway show or film or new record to promote. Midler had none of these when her manager Budd Friedman got her booked on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson not long after she began her legendary run at the Continental Baths.

Read More