Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • History

America’s forgotten war

You probably don’t know it, but we are now in the centennial year of US entry into World War One. On April 2nd 1917, President Woodrow Wilson addressed a joint session of Congress to ask for a declaration of war against Germany. Wilson had narrowly won re-election the year before by campaigning under the slogan “he kept us out of the war.”

Read More

The life of Martin Luther [timeline]

This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and Martin Luther posting his ninety-five theses on the door of All Saints’ Church and other churches in Wittenberg. Whether he actually did post the theses publicly has long been disputed, however his influence on Christianity hasn’t.

Read More

The Paris Peace Conference and postwar politics [extract]

But the centerpiece of the Paris Peace Conference was always the Treaty of Versailles, signed on June 28, 1919, five years to the day after a teenaged Serbian nationalist, Gavrilo Princip, had assassinated Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo. The treaty and the conference are thus closely linked but not quite synonymous.

Read More

The steeples of Essex and Tyrone: Irish historians and Brexit

One of the glib accusations levelled against Irish history is that it never changes–that its fundamental themes are immutable. Equally, one of the common accusations against Irish historians is that (despite decades of learned endeavour) they have utterly failed to shift popular readings of the island’s past. Yes, the Good Friday Agreement and its St […]

Read More

Gottschalk: a ninth-century heretic, dissenter, and religious outlaw

“Just as a dog returns to its own vomit, so a fool reverts to his folly” (Proverbs 26:11). Thus did medieval church officials condemn unrepentant heretics and those who recanted, but later allegedly returned to their crimes. The typical punishment — burning at the stake — purged the offenders’ pollution from the church. This familiar image of burning heretics shapes today’s popular and scholarly perspectives of the European Middle Ages.

Read More

Keeping secrets in sixteenth-century Istanbul

In April 1576, David Ungnad was worried. The Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II had dispatched him to Istanbul in 1573 as his ambassador. Being obedient servants, Ungnad and his colleagues regularly sent detailed dispatches home. At the beginning of April, one such bundle of letters was intercepted and handed to Grand Vizier Sokollu Mehmed Pasha for inspection.

Read More

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.

Read More

The man who made Big Ben

Big Ben, the great hour bell of the Palace of Westminster in London (a building better known as the Houses of Parliament), will controversially fall silent at noon today. Major conservation work to the clock, tower, and bells means that it won’t chime again until 2021.

Read More

Margaret Fuller and the coming democracy

Since the 30th April, I go almost daily to the hospitals,” Margaret Fuller told her friend Ralph Waldo Emerson in a 10 June 1849 letter. “Though I have suffered,–for I had no idea before how terrible gun-shot wounds and wound-fever are, I have taken pleasure, and great pleasure, in being with the men; there is scarcely one who is not moved by a noble spirit.”

Read More

Counting down to OHA2017

It’s no secret that we here at the Oral History Review are big fans of the OHA Annual Meeting. It’s our annual dose of sanity, a thoroughly enriching experience, a place to make connections, a great opportunity for young scholars, and the origin of some lively online debates.

Read More

The world of Jane Austen [timeline]

Jane Austen was a British author whose six novels quietly revolutionized world literature. She is now considered one of the greatest writers of all time (with frequent comparisons to Shakespeare) and hailed as the first woman to earn inclusion in the established canon of English literature. Despite Austen’s current fame, her life is notable for its lack of traditional ‘major’ events. Discover Austen’s world, and its impact on her writing ….

Read More

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.

Read More

Bodily identity and biotypology in Brazil

What does your body shape say about you? When typing this question on any online search engine one will find dozens of examples and images of models of varying bodily classifications as well as the relationship of bodily shape with many different types of physical and mental health and even personality. Rectangle, triangle, round, hourglass, slender, pear, apple, etc, are widespread categories used to label the body

Read More

Zebulon Pike’s journey across the Louisiana Purchase

On July 15, 1806, Lieutenant Zebulon Pike departed St. Louis at the head of a military expedition to explore America’s public lands. The recently acquired Louisiana Purchase as yet held no states and almost no private property owners—at least not in the Lockean sense by which the country conferred exclusive individual rights to pieces of land.

Read More

Gangsters and genre – Episode 41 – The Oxford Comment

Picture The Godfather series in your mind and chances are, you’ll think of it as a “gangster” film. But what is it about this series, and other films like it, that makes it a part of the gangster film genre? Are these movies simply crime and action films that feature organized crime, or do urban settings and immigrant struggles play a larger role?

Read More

A very British realignment

Over the first two years of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party, several commentators noted fascinating parallels with an iconic fictional account of a Labour leadership. First written as a novel by journalist and future Labour MP Chris Mullin in 1982, A Very British Coup depicts the surprise election of a radical left-wing Labour Party led by staunch socialist Harry Perkins in an imagined near future.

Read More