Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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The point of no return

If a theater noob polled a group of theater fans on what classic musicals she must see to jumpstart her theater education, you would be hard pressed to find a fan without The Phantom of the Opera on their list. The show, which opened at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London on 9 October 1986, has left an undeniable impact on London’s West End, Broadway, and theater in general.

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50 years of James Bond in music

Few characters in the history of cinema, if any, are more iconic than Ian Fleming’s debonair super-spy, James Bond; few, too, can boast of any comparison to the equally iconic music which accompanies the intrepid agent 007’s exploits. Since the series’ beginning, the Bond films have been marked by exceptional music, including contributions from Paul McCartney, Shirley Bassey, Louis Armstrong and Madonna, and, of course, John Barry’s instantly recognizable “James Bond Theme.”

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Tariq Ramadan on the Arab Spring

News broke of the killing of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Libya followed by numerous protests throughout the Arab World while Tariq Ramadan was in the United States to discuss one of the most important developments in the modern history of the Middle East, the so-called Arab Spring. One of the world’s leading Islamic thinkers, Tariq Ramadan, he has won global renown for his reflections on Islam and the contemporary challenges in both the Muslim majority societies and the West.

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How the social brain creates identity

Who we are is a story of our self–a narrative that our brain creates. Like the science fiction movie, we are living in a matrix that is our mind. But though the self is an illusion, it is an illusion we must continue to embrace to live happily in human society. In The Self Illusion, Bruce Hood reveals how the self emerges during childhood and how the architecture of the developing brain enables us to become social animals dependent on each other.

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The science behind drugs in sport

What is cheating? What drug compounds for performance enhancement are legal and why? Why do the sports drug classification systems change all the time? If all the chemical were legal, what effect would this have on sport? Biochemist and author Chris Cooper explores the biological, moral, political, and ethical issues involved in controlling drug use in sports.

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Jan Zalasiewicz and Mark Williams talk four billion years of climate change

Climate change is a major topic of concern today, scientifically, socially, and politically. But the Earth’s climate has continuously altered over its 4.5 billion-year history. Geologists are becoming ever more ingenious at interrogating this baffling, puzzling, infuriating, tantalizing, and seemingly contradictory evidence. The story of the Earth’s climate is now being reconstructed in ever-greater detail — maybe even providing us with clues to the future of contemporary climate change. Below, you can listen to Dr Jan Zalasiewicz and Dr Mark Williams talk about the topics raised in their book The Goldilocks Planet: The four billion year story of Earths Climate.

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The future for lawyers?

What does the future hold for those in the law profession? In this interview, Martin Partington talks to fellow OUP author Richard Susskind OBE about how the legal profession will develop over the next few years, addressing the changes and challenges that could affect lawyers in the future.

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Let’s talk economic policy…

Recently, Professor Ian Sheldon spoke with three eminent economists about some key economic issues of the day, including the views of Professor Robert Hall of Stanford University on the current slow recovery of the US economy; University of Queensland Professor John Quiggin’s thoughts on climate change and policy; and World Bank economist Dr Martin Ravallion’s recent findings on poverty and economic growth.

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Professor Frank Close talks neutrinos

Neutrinos: what are they and why does nature need them? In a recent lecture Professor Frank Close gave an overview of the discovery of neutrinos, discussing how we are becoming increasingly aware of their significance and speculating over ways in which we may utilise them.

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From First Impressions to Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice has delighted generations of readers with its unforgettable cast of characters, carefully choreographed plot, and a hugely entertaining view of the world and its absurdities. With the arrival of eligible young men in their neighbourhood, the lives of Mr and Mrs Bennet and their five daughters are turned inside out and upside down.

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America Walks into a Bar – Episode 18 – The Oxford Comment

As our nation’s birthday approaches, The Oxford Comment pays tribute to an institution that has influenced American identity from the very beginning: the bar. Over lunch at The Ginger Man in New York City, Christine Sismondo discusses American vs. Canadian drinking culture (can you guess whose is better?) and why prohibition doesn’t actually increase drinking.

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Forbidden images

The world recoiled when the gay community started receiving credit for its influence in fashion and culture, but at least, according to Christopher Reed, they were being acknowledged. In his new book Art and Homosexuality: A History of Ideas, Reed argues that for some time, the professional art world plain ignored the gay presence.

We had the chance to speak with Reed a few weeks back at his Williams Club talk, where he laid out the tumultuous relationship between art and activism. Below we present a few of the controversial things we learned.

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Dracula: an audio guide

The most famous of all vampire stories, Dracula is a mirror of its age, its underlying themes of race, religion, science, superstition, and sexuality never far from the surface. Here is a sequence of podcasts with Roger Luckhurst, who has edited a new edition of Dracula for Oxford World’s Classics, recorded by George Miller of Podularity.

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