Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Arts & Humanities

Totally Truffaut: 23 Films for Understanding the Man and the Filmmaker

François Truffaut: why we crave great fiction

François Truffaut is among the few French directors whose work can be labeled as “pure fiction.” He always professed that films should not become vehicles for social, political, religious, or philosophical messages.

Read More
Fitting Things Together: Coherence and the Demands of Structural Rationality

Which anti-vaxxers are irrational?

Consider two different characters: Alanna and Brent. Both refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but their motivations are different. Alanna believes that the vaccine is unsafe and ineffective. Brent simply doesn’t care much about protecting others, and so he can’t be bothered to get vaccinated. Are these characters irrational?

Read More
The Music Parents' Survival Guide by Amy Nathan

Silver linings from the COVID-19 shutdowns at music schools

“Our teachers and students and families are so excited to be back, to see everyone again,” said Brandon Tesh, director of the Third Street Music School in New York City. His school resumed in-person classes in September 2021 after 18 months of online instruction, caused by government-ordered school shutdowns aimed at slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Read More
The Drama of History by Kristin Gjesdal

Staging philosophy: the relationship between philosophy and drama

Where does philosophy belong? In lecture halls, libraries, and campus offices? In town squares? In public life? One answer to this question, exceedingly popular from the Enlightenment onward, has been that philosophy belongs on stage—not in the sense that this is the only place we should find it, but that the relationship between philosophy and drama is particularly productive and promising.

Read More
Spying Through a Glass Darkly: The Ethics of Espionage and Counter-Intelligence

The morality of espionage: do we have a moral duty to spy?

Why spy? . . . For as long as rogues become leaders, we shall spy. For as long as there are bullies and liars and madmen in the world, we shall spy. For as long as nations compete, and politicians deceive, and tyrants launch conquests, and consumers need resources, and the homeless look for land, and the hungry for food, and the rich for excess, your chosen profession is perfectly secure, I can assure you. (John Le Carré, “The Secret Pilgrim”)

Read More
Forms of Astonishment: Greek Myths of Metamorphosis by Richard Buxton

Charlie Chaplin and the art of metamorphosis

Charlie Chaplin was certainly the greatest mime, probably the greatest actor, and arguably the greatest artist in any medium in the twentieth century. As self-transformations go, his personal rags-to riches story is hard to match. But the theme of metamorphosis also permeates his movies.

Read More
Screening the Police: Film and Law Enforcement in the United States by Noah Tsika

Beyond “Copaganda”: Hollywood’s offscreen relationship with the police

Do Hollywood’s portrayals of policing matter as much as the industry’s material entwinement with law enforcement—as much as the working relationships pursued beyond the screen? Instead of conceding that the consumers of popular media are eminently capable of thinking for themselves (and thus of resisting flattering depictions of power), more and more commentators are calling for the complete elimination of cop shows, cinematic police chases, and other, ostensibly entertaining images of law enforcement.

Read More
Trust and Distrust: Corruption in Office in Britain and its Empire, 1600-1850

Britain’s long struggle with corruption

Corruption has risen to the top of the British political agenda. Even if we agree with Boris Johnson that the UK is “not remotely a corrupt country”, then Britain certainly did struggle with corruption in the past. Indeed it has had a long history of corruption and anti-corruption. This has some lessons for today.

Read More
OUPblog

The top 10 religion blog posts in 2021

In 2021, our authors published new research, analysis, and insights into topics ranging from religious tolerance to taboo, atheist stereotypes to the appeal of religious politics, and much more. Read our top 10 blog posts of the year from the Press’ authors featured in our Religion Archive on the OUPblog: 1. Stereotypes of atheist scientists […]

Read More
OUPblog

The top 10 literature blog posts of 2021

This year on the OUPblog, our authors have marked major anniversaries, championed activism, confronted antisemitism, shattered stereotypes, and sought to understand our post-pandemic world through literature. Dive into the top 10 literature blog posts of the year on the OUPblog:

Read More
The neuroscience of consciousness by the Oxford Comment podcast

Holiday cheer [podcast]

As we approach the end of 2021, we can look back at the previous two years of restrictions, lockdowns, COVID tests and vaccination lines, not to mention all the political strife… or we can look to the unknown, ahead to the new year. But let us pause for a moment and enjoy the now: a holiday season that should be livelier than last year’s. After all that’s gone on, we could use some old-fashioned holiday cheer.

Read More
The Oxford Handbook of the Weimar Repulic

The ghosts of Weimar: is Weimar Germany a warning from history?

The ghosts of Weimar are back. Woken up by the rise of populist right-wing parties across Europe and beyond, they warn of danger for democracy. The historical reference point evoked by these warnings is the collapse of the Weimar Republic followed by the Nazi dictatorship. The connection between now and then seems indisputably obvious: democracy died in 1933, and it is under attack again today.

Read More
Charlie Brown's America

A Charlie Brown Christmas: the unlikely triumph of a holiday classic

A Charlie Brown Christmas was never supposed to be a success. It hit on all the wrong beats. The pacing was slow, the voice actors were amateurs, and the music was mostly laid back piano jazz (the opening theme, “Christmas Time is Here,” carried a strange, wintery melody built on unconventional modal chord progressions). It was almost like the program was constructed as a sort of anti-pop statement. In many ways, that’s exactly what it was. And that’s exactly why it so worried the media executives who had commissioned it.

Read More
The Chinese Lady: Afong May in Early America by Nancy E. Davis

Afong Moy on the 21st century stage

The story of Afong Moy, the first known Chinese woman on American soil, and the first Chinese person to come face to face with American audiences across the country has been told recently by both the historian Nancy Davis as well as the playwright LLoyd Suh. Davis explores Afong Moy’s life and the different lessons that can be learned through research as well as fictionalization.

Read More