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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Archaeology of Jesus' Nazareth by Ken Dark, published by Oxford University Press

How long can the historical associations of places be remembered?

Can local memory of an association between a place and the people who lived there be preserved for more than three centuries? Ken Dark looks at this question in reference to the “House of Jesus”, and whether it is plausible that the historical associations of a place—even a place in Nazareth—can be remembered 200 years on, let alone three centuries.

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The Age of Interconnection by Jonathan Sperber

Infectious disease in the twentieth century

In the first half of the century, the three great killers among endemic diseases—smallpox, malaria, and tuberculosis—raging around the world (we think today of malaria as a tropical malady but in the 1920s there were outbreaks as far north as Siberia) were each responsible for more deaths than the 80 million who died in both world wars. Innovations stemming from the Second World War, an immense hothouse of technological progress, made it possible to contemplate combatting infectious disease on a global scale.

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Leonardo's Salvator Mundi and the Collecting of Leonardo in the Stuart Courts

Salvator Mundi: the journey of a false saviour

Discovering the provenance of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi formed a significant part of the book that I co-authored with Margaret Dalivalle and Martin Kemp. Determining which records and references pertained to the original and which to the many copies and derivations of the painting required the unraveling of dozens of documentary threads, intertwined and occasionally knotted, stretching across the centuries.

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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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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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