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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

The Fasces

The radical reinterpretation of the fasces in Mussolini’s Italy

In November 1914, when Benito Mussolini, then prominent as a revolutionary socialist, tried to mobilize popular opinion for Italy to intervene in World War I, he gave the name “Autonomous Fasci of Revolutionary Action” to his disparate supporters. The term “fascio” (plural “fasci”) was then common in Italy’s political lexicon, in its core meaning of “bundle”, to denote a loosely-organized group grounded in a common ideology.

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Cold War: A Very Short Introduction

Nine new books to understand the Cold War [reading list]

This October marks the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tense political and military standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. To mark the anniversary, we’re sharing some of our latest history titles on the Cold War for you to explore, share, and enjoy. We have also granted free access to selected chapters, for a limited time, for you to dip into.

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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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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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French History

What is the French presidential election about? [Long read]

The upcoming French presidential election presents something of a paradox. On the one hand, the outcome seems a foregone conclusion with Macron on course for re-election. But while such an overwhelming electoral narrative could easily be interpreted as a mere continuation of the status quo, nothing could be further from the truth.

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Conquering the Ocean

Reconstructing Claudius’ arch in Rome

A look at the process of reconstructing Claudius’ Arch in Rome and how it was informed by the latest research in archaeology and classical studies to provide a better understanding of the significance of the Roman Invasion of Britain.

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Zenobia: Shooting Star of Palmyra

Zenobia: warrior queen or political tactician?

Popular culture often romanticizes Zenobia of Palmyra as a warrior queen. But the ancient evidence doesn’t support that she fought in battles. Instead, we should remember Zenobia as a skilled political tactician. She became ruler without being dominated by the men of her court.

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