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Orwell & Empire

The Mahatma and the Policeman: how did George Orwell view Gandhi?

George Orwell served for five years in the 1920s as an officer in the Imperial Police in Burma, at that time part of the British Raj. He was to write about the Empire as an unjustifiable despotism. Mahatma Gandhi did more than anyone else to bring about the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947, the first step in the dismantling of the Empire. Orwell should have seen Gandhi as a comrade in arms, a fellow anti-imperialist, even a hero. Instead he speaks of Gandhi with suspicion, hostility, irritation, and ” sort of aesthetic distaste.” Why?

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The Absolutely Indispensable Man

When Ralph Bunche met Princess Margaret

As the Under-Secretary General of the UN, Ralph Bunche was one of the leaders in the fight to end empire in the second half of the Twentieth Century, In 1965, he had the opportunity to speak to Princess Margaret about the role of the British Empire in the world.

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Walking Among Pharoahs

Howard Carter and Tutankhamun: a different view

On 4 November 1922, Englishman Howard Carter acted on a “hunch” and discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun, setting the world at large on fire, archaeologically speaking. “King Tut’s tomb” and the (much older) Pyramids of Giza;:have any other monuments come to symbolize ancient Egyptian civilization—and archaeology—better?

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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

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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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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Dissenting Daughters: Reformed Women in the Dutch Republic, 1572-1725

Ten new books to read this Women’s History Month [reading list]

Since 1987, Women’s History Month has been observed in the US annually each March as an opportunity to highlight the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. This month, we’re sharing some of the latest history titles covering a range of eras and regions but all charting the lives of women and the impact they made, whether noticed at the time or from the shadows.

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Trust and Distrust: Corruption in Office in Britain and its Empire, 1600-1850

Britain’s long struggle with corruption

Corruption has risen to the top of the British political agenda. Even if we agree with Boris Johnson that the UK is “not remotely a corrupt country”, then Britain certainly did struggle with corruption in the past. Indeed it has had a long history of corruption and anti-corruption. This has some lessons for today.

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OUPblog

The top 10 history blog posts of 2021

Travel back in time to the recent past and explore the OUPblog’s top 10 history blog posts of 2021. From dispelling Euro-centric myths of the Aztec empire to considering humanity’s future through the lens of environmental history, think outside the box with the latest research and expert insights from the Press’s history authors.

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Smashing the Liquor Machine

20 people you didn’t know were Prohibitionists

The full story of prohibition—one you’ve probably never been told—is perhaps one of the most broad-based and successful transnational social movements of the modern era. Discover 20 key figures from history that you didn’t know were prohibitionists.

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