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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Arts & Humanities

A Q&A with composer Malcolm Archer

Malcolm Archer’s career as a church musician has taken him to posts at Norwich, Bristol, Wells Cathedrals, and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. As a composer, Malcolm has published many works; his pieces are widely performed, recorded and broadcast and are greatly enjoyed for their approachable nature and singability. We spoke with Malcolm about his writing, his inspiration, and his career ambitions besides being a composer.

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Strategy challenged, part 2

An overlooked aspect of the conductor’s rehearsal procedure is the precise planning of any given rehearsal and of the rehearsal trajectory, from first reading to final dress, toward the end of “peaking” at the concert.

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What are the moral implications of intelligent AGI? [excerpt]

The possibility of human-level Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) remains controversial. While its timeline remain uncertain, the question remains: if engineers are able to develop truly intelligent AGI, how would human-computer interactions change? In the following excerpt from AI: Its Nature and Future, artificial intelligence expert Margaret A. Boden discusses the philosophical consequences behind truly intelligent AGI.

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Will the real Robinson Crusoe please stand up?

It is difficult to think of a literary narrative, other than Robinson Crusoe, that economists have so enthusiastically appropriated as part of their cultural heritage. The image of Robinson, shipwrecked, alone, and forced to decide how to use his finite resources, has become almost emblematic in the teaching of the problem of choice in economics.

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Moses Mendelssohn’s Hebrew politics

How tolerant and diverse should a society be? Are there limits to the views that a society should accept? Can individuals from diverse backgrounds join together to contribute to the common good, and what happens when tensions arise between different groups? Given the events of 2016-2017, such questions stand at the forefront of American civic life. Questions relating to diversity and tolerance loomed large in Mendelssohn’s life.

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Taxing or exempting the church

Religious entities pay more taxes than many people believe. Moreover, churches and other religious organizations are treated quite diversely by different taxes and by different states. Sometimes churches and other religious entities are taxed in the same fashion as secular organizations and persons are.

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Allen Ginsberg and Ann Coulter walk into an auditorium…

Ann Coulter, a controversial right-wing author and commentator, was tentatively scheduled to speak at UC Berkeley on April 27 until pre-speech protests turned into violent clashes, and her speech was canceled. In response, Coulter tweeted, “It’s sickening when a radical thuggish institution like Berkeley can so easily snuff out the cherished American right to free speech.”

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George Washington’s early love of literature [excerpt]

Unlike his contemporaries Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton—George Washington isn’t remembered as an intellectual. But for what he lacked in formal education, Washington made up for in enthusiasm for learning. His personal education began at an early age and continued throughout his adult life. In the following excerpt from George Washington: A Life in Books, historian Kevin J. Hayes gives insight into Washington’s early love of literature.

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A photographer at work: Martin Parr behind the scenes

Martin Parr is one of Britain’s best-known contemporary photographers, with a broad international following, and President of Magnum, the world-famous photo agency. His social documentary style of photography turns a wry and sometimes satirical lens on British life and social rituals, lightened by humour and affection. Parr turned his lens on life at the University of Oxford, capturing the day-to-day life of the colleges and University at work and play.

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National Beer Lover’s Day playlist

7 September is National Beer Lover’s Day, a day to celebrate a shared passion for a drink that has been brewed for over 5000 years. Why not enjoy your favourite lager or ale with some beer-related music to get you into the spirit of things. Our beer-infused song selection takes you from the cheery delights of The Housemartins’ to Julian Cope’s “As the Beer Flows Over Me”. We have plenty of anthems, and plain old drinking songs to provide the soundtrack to your Beer Lover’s Day celebrations.

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10 facts about the bassoon

Rising to popularity in the 15th century, the bassoon is a large woodwind instrument that belongs to the oboe family and looks similar to the oboe in terms of coloring and use of the double reed. The bassoon enabled expansion of the range of woodwind instruments into lower registers.

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“O dearest Haemon”: the passionate silence of Sophocles’ Antigone

Anyone reading Sophocles’ Antigone in the Oxford Classical Text of 1924, edited by A. C. Pearson, will sooner or later come across the following passage. Antigone has defied Creon’s decree that the body of her brother Polynices, who had recently fallen in battle when waging war against his homeland of Thebes, should be left unburied; discovered, she has been brought before the new ruler.

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Can burlesque be described as “feminist”?

Is burlesque an expression of sex-positive feminism, or is it inherently sexist? In the following excerpt from The League of Exotic Dancers: Legends from American Burlesque, documentarian Kaitlyn Regehr and photographer Matilda Temperley share narratives by burlesque dancers who embraced this form of art as an early expression of women’s rights.

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Werner Herzog’s hall of mirrors

Werner Herzog turns 75 this September and remains as productive as ever. More than only a filmmaker, he directs operas, instructs online courses, and occasionally makes cameo appearances on television shows including Parks & Recreation and The Simpsons. He has been directing films for nearly six decades, and he released three feature-length films within months of each other in 2016.

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Two paradoxes of belief

The Liar paradox arises via considering the Liar sentence: L: L is not true. and then reasoning in accordance with the: T-schema: Φ is true if and only if what Φ says is the case. Along similar lines, we obtain the Montague paradox (or the paradox of the knower) by considering the following sentence: M: M is not knowable. and then reasoning in accordance with the following two claims: Factivity: If Φ is knowable then what Φ says is the case.

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Fifth Rhythm Changes Conference 2017

On Thursday, 31 August, the Fifth Rhythm Changes Conference, themed “Re/Sounding Jazz” will kick off at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Rhythm Changes conferences are the largest jazz research conferences in the field, bringing together some 150 researchers from all over the globe. This year’s edition is produced in collaboration with the Conservatory of Amsterdam, the University of Amsterdam.

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