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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

MPSA 2017: a conference and city guide

The Midwest Political Science Association will hold its annual conference from 6 April through 9 April in Chicago, IL at the Palmer House Hilton. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the MPSA conference. With a large variety of panels and events to attend, we’ve selected a few on our list to share, as well as what to check out during your free time in Chicago.

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What Orwell and Snowden overlooked

In response to the Fake News and Alternative Facts doctrine twittered so incoherently from the Trump White House, people have remembered George Orwell’s Doublethink and Newspeak, and sales of 1984 have boomed in the USA. No doubt we shall soon appreciate anew the Orwellian warning that Big Brother is Watching You. The revelations by Edward Snowden still linger in our consciousness as a reminder of the caution.

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Filling Supreme Court vacancies: political credentials vs. judicial philosophy

In the current, hyper-partisan environment, relatively few individuals publicly supported the confirmations to the US Supreme Court of both Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., and Justice Sonia Sotomayor. I know because I am one of these lonely souls. Now, the same considerations which led me to support their confirmations lead me to support the confirmation to the Court of Judge Neil Gorsuch.

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Trump’s “America first” foreign policy and its impact on the Liberal Order

Where will he take the United States? That is Donald J Trump – now 45th President of the United States. And will the Liberal Order, a product of all his predecessors, survive the Age of Trump? For over seventy years US Presidents and foreign policy officials of numerous American administrations have led – for better and for worse – the Liberal Order.

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César Chávez would oppose Trump’s border policies

Donald Trump ran for the US presidency on the backs of undocumented immigrants, particularly those from Mexico, calling them criminals and promising to build a border wall across the entire length of the United States-Mexico border to keep them out. As Trump issues executive orders and unveils his Congressional proposals for immigration enforcement as an integral part of his initial “100-day action plan,” that timeline intersects with what would have been the 90th birthday of labor rights champion César Chávez on 31 March 2017.

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In or out of Britain?: the big question for Scotland

The 2014 Independence referendum was an important moment in British constitutional history. With the Scottish Parliament’s decision to ask for a second vote, it also provides useful lessons for the future. The referendum of 2014 divided Scotland into two camps, a division that has now become the principal dividing line in the nation’s politics. Yet it has not created a social or ethnic divide such as we see in Northern Ireland.

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The significance of the Russian Revolution for the 21st century

The year 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, one of seminal events of the 20th century. The Russian Revolution “shook the world,” as the radical American journalist John Reed so aptly put it, because it led to the establishment of the Soviet Union, the world’s first socialist and totalitarian society.

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Combating gendered violence in the face of right-wing populism

In my 2013 book, I noted a troubling trend in the trajectory of European Union policy. The 1990s and early 2000s had been characterized by important victories for a dynamic network of transnational feminists. Advocates from a wide of array of countries utilized the various political opportunities of multilevel governance to push for European legislation framing gendered violence as a widespread problem in Europe.

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Falling in love with the national security state

On a recent trip to Hong Kong, however, I decided to take a risk by departing from my standard viewing practice to watch Oliver Stone’s Snowden, a political thriller about the whistleblower who pulled back the curtain of the surveillance state by exposing how the NSA threatens the privacy of just about everyone. Would this movie set me on edge, making me fearful and paranoid for the remainder of the flight?

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A brief history of the European Union [timeline]

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union consisting of 28 states that are located within Europe. With the United Kingdom’s recent decision of leaving the EU, the future of the European Union is timely as ever. Therefore, the OUP Economics team have decided to trace a very concise history of the European Union all the way from the end of World War two to Brexit.

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S. M. Lipset and the fragility of democracy

Seymour Martin Lipset passed away eleven years ago. If he had lived, he would have celebrated his 95th birthday on 18 March. Today, his prolific scholarship remains as timely and influential as when he was an actively engaged author. Google Scholar reports 13,808 citations between 2012 and the beginning of 2017. All of Lipset’s papers have been collected at the Library of Congress and soon will be available to researchers.

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Trump in Wonderland

Four days after Donald Trump’s inauguration, an unlikely novel reached the top of Amazon’s bestseller list. It was not the latest potboiler by John Grisham, Stephen King, or any other likely suspect. Topping the list on 24 January was 1984, George Orwell’s 68-year-old masterpiece about a dystopian society in which the ruling authorities routinely alter the meanings of words and facts to suit their own purposes.

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International Affairs

The divide – France, Germany, and political NATO

Europe’s unity is under threat, and if France and Germany cannot muster the will to rescue the European project of integration and cooperation, then all bets are really off. Those who imagine that the EU could falter to no great effect are being naïve. A failed EU would pull down NATO and other vestiges of Western unity, and we would be returning to a 19th century balance of power diplomacy.

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Today’s Great Crossings: a historian’s view on Trump’s travel ban

Drawing parallels between Jackson’s era and our own is, according to President Trump, “really appropriate” for “certain obvious reasons.” Indeed, both are eras of rapid change characterized by anxieties over race, immigration, citizenship, and America’s destiny. In the Jacksonian era, the United States, within the span of a few decades, transformed from an East Coast nation into a transcontinental empire.

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“Freedom! Freedom!”: 100 years since the fall of the Tsar

As midnight approached on 15 March 1917 (2 March on the Russian calendar), Tsar Nicholas II signed his manifesto of abdication, ending centuries of autocratic monarchical rule in Russia. Nicholas accepted the situation with his typical mixture of resignation and faith: “The Lord God saw fit to send down upon Russia a new harsh ordeal…During these decisive days for the life of Russia, We considered it a duty of conscience to facilitate Our people’s close unity…In agreement with the State Duma, We consider it to be for the good to abdicate from the Throne of the Russian State… May the Lord God help Russia.”

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Why we are failing to end wartime rape

In recent years, the world has become all too aware of the prevalence of rape and other forms of sexual violence perpetrated in war. As a result, gender-based violence has become an increasingly common consideration in foreign policy agendas, with sexual violence becoming the cornerstone of the women, peace, and security agenda of the past decade.

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