Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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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The foundation of American liberalism [excerpt]

In 1912, a group of ambitious young men congregated in a 19th Street row house in Washington, DC. Disillusioned by the Taft administration, they shifted from a firm belief in progressivism—the belief that the government should protect its workers and regulate monopolies—into what is now called “liberalism,” or the belief that government can improve citizens’ lives without abridging their civil liberties and, eventually, civil rights.

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Ernestine Rose and the Women’s March

If she were alive today, Ernestine Rose, a 19th century radical, would have participated in the 21 January 2017 Women’s March. The mass protest spawned sister rallies around the globe and drew more than a million participants who brandished signs proclaiming desires for equal rights, not just for women, but for all people. These tenets were integral to Rose’s life, and she fought for them throughout her life.

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Co-living: Utopia 2.0?

Eight months on from its opening, in May 2016, the London-based co-living enterprise known as The Collective Old Oak is still going strong. The residential concept, situated between North Acton and Wilesden Junction, now boasts 546 residents. The project has piqued the interest of locals and the media alike.

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Oral history and empathy at the Women’s March on Washington

Today we continue our series on oral history and social change by turning to our friends at the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP) at the University of Florida. A group of SPOHP students and staff traveled to the Women’s March on Washington this January as part of an experiential learning project.

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On language and defiance: a Q & A with Ilan Stavans

“The Trump Administration has taken down from the White House official website all references to Spanish. This to me is another symptom of its anti-globalist views.” We caught up with Ilan Stavans, Editor in Chief of Oxford Bibliographies in Latino Studies, to discuss his recent New York Times editorial, the use of the Spanish language in the United States, and why Spanish isn’t a foreign language in the US.

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Trump versus Guterres; will the new president destroy the United Nations?

With the exception of Hillary Clinton, few would have been more dismayed by Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the US presidential election than António Guterres, the former Portuguese prime minister who took over the UN Secretariat in January 2017. While Mr Trump spent his life on corporate jets and in gold-plated towers, Mr Guterres used to take time off to teach in Lisbon’s slums.

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Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion

The civil rights movement, religion, and resistance

An excerpt exploring how the Civil Rights Movement might not have been successful without the spiritual empowerment that arose from the culture developed over two centuries of black American Christianity. In other words, religious impulses derived from black religious traditions made the movement move.

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The cultural politics of “othering”

President Trump’s executive order ending immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries has intensified a vituperative debate in American society, which has been ongoing since long before candidate Trump formally remarked on it. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four successful presidential campaigns created a bipartisan consensus that cast the immigrant experience as an extension of a narrative beginning on Plymouth Rock.

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Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History

Reckoning with the addict and the US “War on Drugs”

In 2015, nearly 1.25 million people in the United States were arrested for the simple possession of drugs. Moreover, America’s “War on Drugs” has led to unprecedented violence and instability in Mexico and other drug-producing nations. Yet in spite of billions of dollars spent and thousands of lives lost, drug abuse has not decreased.

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Was Phillis Wheatley’s husband a crook or a dreamer?

Of the many known unknowns about the life of Phillis Wheatley (1753?–1784), the first published African American poet, one of the greatest has been her husband’s character. Until very recently, all we’ve had to go on were two very brief nineteenth-century accounts of John Peters (1746?–1801). The first depicts him as a failed grocer with an aspiration to gentility, who married Phillis in April 1778, and who abandoned her as she lay dying in desperate poverty six years later.

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Children’s information ecosystems in the United States

Information ecosystems are normally thought of as consisting of collections of facts that float in and out of one’s life, usually in a structured way. We routinely receive and use at work, the news regularly viewed on our smart phones, and for children, whatever they are taught in school. If we did nothing different in the way we live our lives, a predictable supply of information would enter our world, data that we need in order to not change the way we live.

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President Trump: shortcuts with executive orders?

Every President is attracted by the idea of making public policy by unilaterally issuing an executive order — sounds easy and attractive. Get someone to draft it, add your signature, and out it goes. No need to spend time negotiating with lawmakers.

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Super Bowl madness

Every year we worship at the altar of the Super Bowl. It’s the Big Game with the Big Halftime Show and the Big-Name Advertisers. That we do this, explains why Donald Trump is now president. I’ll get to that shortly. But for now, back to the show. From an advertising perspective, the Super Bowl is the most expensive commercial on television. This year, Fox charged upwards of $5 million per 30-second spot according to Sports Illustrated

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An introduction to the life of Frederick Douglass

In honor of Black History Month in the US and Canada, we’ve compiled an introduction to Frederick Douglass. Known for his work as an abolitionist and women’s rights supporter, Douglass remains one of American history’s most influential figures. Despite the fact that Douglass was born into slavery, his accomplishments were astounding and beyond admirable.

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