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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

When rivers die – and are reborn

Most of the great cities of the world were built on rivers, for rivers have provided the water, the agricultural fertility, and the transport links essential for most great civilizations. This presents a series of puzzles. Why have the people who depend on those rivers so often poisoned their own water sources? How much pollution is enough to kill a river? And what is needed to bring one back to life?

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America’s darkest hour: a timeline of the My Lai Massacre

On the morning of 16 March 1968, soldiers from three platoons of Charlie Company entered a group of hamlets located in the Son Tinh district of South Vietnam on a search-and-destroy mission. Although no Viet Cong were present, the GIs proceeded to murder more than five hundred unarmed villagers.

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Revisiting the My Lai Massacre almost 50 years later

How should we look at My Lai now, nearly fifty years after the events? For most Americans, it was a rude awakening to learn that “one of our own” could commit the kind of atrocities mostly associated with the nation’s enemies in war.

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10 facts about the Indian economy

15 August 2017 marks the 70th year anniversary since the British withdrew their colonial rule over India, leaving it to be one of the first countries to gain independence. Since then it has become the sixth largest economy in the world and is categorised as one of the major G-20 economies. To mark the occasion we have compiled a wide array of facts around the Indian economy pre and post-independence.

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Conquering distance: America in the Pacific War

Following a wave of Japanese attacks, the American, British, Canadian, and Dutch forces entered the Pacific War on 8 December 1941. As American forces moved across the Pacific they encountered a determined and desperate enemy and a harsh inhospitable environment. By early 1944, armed with new fast carriers, the Americans stepped up the pace of operations and launched the campaigns that would bring them to the doorstep of the Japanese homeland. But every step closer to Japan was a step farther from the United States.

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How well do you know Swami Vivekānanda [quiz]

This June, the OUP Philosophy team honors Swami Vivekānanda (born Narendranath Datta, 1863–1902) as their Philosopher of the Month. Born in Calcutta under colonial rule, Vivekānanda became a Hindu religious leader, and one of the most prominent disciples of guru and mystic Śri Rāmakṛṣṇa.

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Reading landscapes of violence

The Mewatis sought shelter on the Kala Pahar, the Black Mountain, as the Aravallis are called, but the very next day there was firing from an aircraft sent by the Bharatpur State. Azadi was no freedom but is instead locally called bhaga-bhagi (exodus) and kati (killing) in 1947.

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Reflecting on the Armenian Genocide

April 2014 marked the centenary of the initiation of mass murders of Armenians in Anatolia—events now known as the Armenian Genocide. As Robert Melson notes in the below introduction to Holocaust and Genocide Studies’ virtual issue on the subject, Turkish governments have consistently denied that the persecutions resulted from a policy of genocide.

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The power of globalization: Singapore’s economic rise

Singapore is a controversial subject, described as “The Big Apple of Asia,” or “Disneyland with Capital Punishment.” On the one hand, there are those who admire its efficient government and material accomplishments; on the other hand, there are those who deplore its antipathy to freedom of expression. We can all ask how much an authoritarian government stifles the creativity necessary to nourishing a productive society.

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Urban waste management, and the largest dump site in Kolkata

These days, one hears much about the importance of adaptiveness and resilience, faced with the “super wicked” problem of climate change that is growing by the day and is demanding not just policy orientation, but action plans on an urgent basis. Often, opinion is expressed that poorer nations must perforce work towards adaptation and dedicated research must help them in that direction.

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Why we should care about Singapore [excerpt]

Contemporary Singapore has transformed into a “global city,” and remains an important player in international affairs. One of the original “Four Asian Tigers,” Singapore’s economy has grown into one of the most competitive and dynamic economies in the world. However, Singapore faced great adversity on its journey towards modern power. In this shortened excerpt from Singapore: Unlikely Power, author John Curtis Perry sheds light on the importance of Singapore as a symbol of courage and strength.

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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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The Liberation Panther Movement and political activism

Scholars of protest and social movements argue that voicing a vocabulary of resistance, challenging taken-for-granted assumptions and mapping out how things could be different are as important a part of the revolution as building the barricades and engaging in armed struggle. They invest the audience with a sense of the possibilities for change and encourage them to contest age old inequities.

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New frontiers in international law: The Asian paradox

Just over three hundred years ago, William Pitt Amherst arrived in China as Britain’s putative ambassador. The new frontier that China presented remained closed until it was opened by force of arms, solemnized in treaties denounced by China as unequal and marking the beginning of a century of humiliation. In other parts of Asia, international law facilitated and legitimized the colonial enterprise to expand international law and commerce to other frontiers.

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Gender, medicine, and society in colonial India

The growth of hospital medicine in 19th century India created a space–albeit a very small one–for providing Western-style healthcare to female patients. Many of these changes, including the reform of reproductive healthcare and the spread of women’s medical education, benefitted a privileged minority belonging to urban, higher-caste groups. The reform in women’s healthcare in colonial India constitutes a significant chapter of the country’s social history and laid an irrevocable foundation for medicine in the post-independence period.

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Trump should build on Obama’s legacy in Myanmar

President-elect Donald Trump has not made any public statement on what his administration’s policy toward Myanmar would be. But it can be guessed or speculated from his election campaign that Trump is unlikely to take a strong personal interest on Myanmar like his predecessor. However, as the leading advocate of human rights and democracy around the world, the US needs to continue its unfinished objectives in Myanmar, especially in areas such as the consolidation of democracy.

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