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Shipwrecks and the Bounty of the Sea

Shipwreck tales: bounty from the archives

News broke in 2022 that the royal frigate Gloucester that sank in 1682 had been located off the coast of Norfolk. The discovery excited marine archeologists and treasure hunters, and drew attention to the scandal of the warship’s loss.

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The neuroscience of consciousness by the Oxford Comment podcast

The need for affordable and clean energy [podcast]

Check out Episode 75 of The Oxford Comment to hear from Martin J. Pasqualetti and Paul F, Meier on the need for affordable and clean energy, the history of energy in the US, and the dire implications of not changing our energy habits.

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Stars and Shadows: The Politics of Interracial Friendship from Jefferson to Obama

The politics of interracial friendship

There have been instances of interracial friendship even in the worst of times. Explore some of these noteworthy friendships, which have served as windows into the state of race relations in the United States.

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French History

Democracy at work? France’s uncertain political future [long read]

In the last of our essays, we discuss the unexpected outcome of the legislative elections and look back on the electoral cycle as a whole. What does French politics look like after a series of fractious campaigns? And do the results offer any hope for the future?

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From Servant to Savant

Classical music, privilege, and ghosts of the French Revolution

The word privilege is a lightning rod in United States culture. For some, it indexes systemic inequities shaped by race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality, while for others, it represents a “woke” vocabulary used to enforce political correctness. Perhaps unsurprisingly, accusations of privilege have reached the classical music world.

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The neuroscience of consciousness by the Oxford Comment podcast

Hong Kong 2022: one country, two systems? [podcast]

The first of July 2022 marks the 25th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China. It also marks the halfway point of a 50-year agreement between China and Hong Kong that established the “one country, two systems,” rule – a system designed to allow Hong Kong to “enjoy a high degree of autonomy, except in foreign and defence affairs” while still remaining a Special Administrative Region of China.

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Happy Dreams of Liberty

An enslaved Alabama family and the question of generational wealth in the US

Wealthy Alabama cotton planter Samuel Townsend invited the attorney to his home in 1853, swearing him to secrecy. His elder brother Edmund had recently died, and the extensive litigation over Edmund’s estate had made it clear to Samuel that he needed an airtight will if he wanted to guarantee that his chosen heirs would inherit […]

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Ukraine: What Everyone Needs to Know

Who is Putin fighting against?

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has highlighted a curious disconnect between the supposed ideological objective of the war and the means used to achieve it.

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