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petsandpeople

Throw out the dog: are pets expendable?

Little Tiger, big enthusiastic Buddy, and laidback Smokey are some of the furry individuals who share our living rooms, our kitchens, and sometimes our beds. Most people consider their companion animals—their “pets”—to be friends or members of the family. Despite the depth of many people’s relationships with the cats and dogs who share their lives, many people also assume that these animals are in certain ways expendable.

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9780190460471

The life of Saint Patrick [part two]

Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century, and continues to be recognized today. It commemorates the death of Saint Patrick, the introduction of Christianity into Irish culture, as well as Irish nationalism. To celebrate, we’ve pulled a two-part excerpt from Celtic Mythology: Tales of Gods, Goddesses, and Heroes in which Philip Freeman tells the story of Saint Patrick.

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Celebrating Samuel Barber and his Adagio for Strings

Today we celebrate what would have been American composer Samuel Barber’s 107th birthday. Upon the composer’s death in 1981, New York Times music critic Donal Henahan, penned an obituary that asserted “probably no other American composer has ever enjoyed such early, such persistent and such long-lasting acclaim.”

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9780190460471

The life of Saint Patrick [part one]

Saint Patrick’s Day is a religious festival held on the traditional death date of Saint Patrick. Largely modernized and often viewed as a cultural celebration, Saint Patrick’s Day is recognized in more countries than any other national festival. To celebrate, we’ve pulled a two-part excerpt from Celtic Mythology: Tales of Gods, Goddesses, and Heroes, in which Philip Freeman tells the story of Saint Patrick. It is a tale of courage, survival, and deep faith. Remember to check back on 17 March for the second part of “The Life of Saint Patrick.”

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Sui Sin Far’s “The Land of the Free” in the era of Trump

Facing President Trump’s controversial travel ban, hastily issued on 27 January and revised on 6 March, that temporarily halted immigrants from six Muslim majority countries, I was wondering what Sui Sin Far (Edith Eaton), a mixed race Asian North American writer at the turn of the twentieth century, would say about the issue.

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when art disrupts religion

Can art save us from fundamentalism?

London, rain, and Rothko—each was foreign to the missionary encampment on the Navajo reservation where Jakob grew up, in the 1980s. Back then, he seized every opportunity to share the gospel with his Native American friends, even as they played endless games of cowboys and Indians in the deserts of Arizona:

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Women of letters

During the Enlightenment era, the term “man of letters” (deriving from the French term belletrist) was used to distinguish true scholars—independent thinkers who relished debate, conversation and learning. In an age when literacy was a distinct form of cultural capital, it served to identify the literati, often the French members of the “Republic of Letters,” who met in “salons” designed for the elevation, education, and cultural sophistication of the participants.

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9780190218263

Reconstructing the nation’s memory of the Civil War

The history of black people during the Civil War and Reconstruction has been the subject of some of the most vicious and inaccurate portrayals of any other group in US History. But that just might be changing. On 12 January, President Obama dedicated the first national park in Beaufort, South Carolina, to Reconstruction, a period that historians have, over the last 150 years, defined as “a failure,” “tragic,” and “an unfinished revolution.”

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Public Opinion Quarterly

The polls aren’t skewed, media coverage is

The perceived failures of election forecasting in 2016 have caused many to suggest the polls are broken. However, scholars are quick to point out that more than polling failure this election has demonstrated that people have a hard time thinking probabilistically about election outcomes. Our research suggests skewed media coverage of polls may also be to blame: News media are likely to cover the most newsworthy polls.

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9780199577378

George Eliot and second lives

The later nineteenth century she represents is not an historical period we have simply left behind. What it stands for psychologically, again and again, for sundry lost individuals is the arena of transition from a religious to a modern secular life: an in-between world of seriousness that many people still do not, cannot or will not wholly get over. The Victorian critic John Morley said that reading George Eliot was like inadvertently entering a confessional.

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The role of the death-mother in film

Hitchcock’s famous Psycho (1960) has an enduring legacy in the slasher-horror genre. Its impact on this genre is an enduring one, as suggested by the A&E series Bates Motel, culminating with Rihanna cast in Janet Leigh’s indelible role (Figure 1). Perhaps its most striking contribution, however, is its thematization of a figure I call the death-mother.

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9780199996643

Fighting for Athens: the Battle of Marathon [excerpt]

It was [the democratic state of Athens] that confronted the full wrath of Darius [the king of the Persian Empire] on the plain of Marathon. It was also an Athens filled with the same brand of trained soldiers to be found elsewhere in Greece: the hoplite.

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9780199688357

Voltaire and the one-liner

As we mark Voltaire’s 323rd birthday – though the date of 20 February is problematic, the subject of another blog – what significance does the great Enlightenment writer have for us now? If I had to be very very short, I’d say that Voltaire lives on as a master of the one-liner. He presents us with a paradox. Voltaire wrote a huge amount – the definitive edition of his Complete works will soon be finished, in around 200 volumes.

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