Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

SIPRI Yearbook Online

World nuclear forces: who has what?

Since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nuclear weapons have been detonated on over two thousand occasions for the purposes of testing and demonstration. With world events more uncertain than ever before, an in-depth look at nations’ nuclear capabilities (and intentions) is crucial to security services and diplomats all over the world.

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The history behind selected family names in Britain and Ireland [map]

We all have a surname, but how many of us know anything about its roots – origin, history, and what it means today? Family names are evidence of the diverse language and cultural movement of people who have settled in Britain and Ireland over history. Surnames can be varied, but not uncommon – for example there a large amount of occupational names like Smith and Baker.

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International Law in Domestic Courts [map]

This year marks the tenth anniversary of OUP’s International Law in Domestic Courts (ILDC). Created to be an innovative and valuable resource for research on the interpretation and application of international law, it shows how international law matters in practice. Digital innovation in the past decade has allowed ILDC to provide scholars with data in the form of case law and analysis on which to base further scholarship from jurisdictions around the world.

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Tracing viking travellers

The medieval Norse were far travellers: not only raiders but also traders, explorers, colonisers, pilgrims, and crusaders (to name a few). Traces of their adventures survive across the world, including ruined buildings and burials, runic graffiti, contemporary accounts written by Christian chroniclers and Arab diplomats, and later sagas recorded in Iceland.

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Around the world in spices and herbs

On supermarket shelves, we are given a mind-numbing array of choices to select from. Shall we have some peppercorns on our macaroni, some cinnamon for baking, or a bit of rosemary with roast pork? Five hundred years ago, however, cooking with herbs and spices was a much simpler choice.

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World travel: What are the dangers where you’re heading?

When travelling the globe, most intrepid adventurers and holiday-makers will encounter only minor health problems. But knowing and understanding possible hazards is fundamental to preventing them. When planning an adventure, people often seek novel experiences – and contemporary travel is able to take us (within just a few hours) from a relatively benign environment to a potentially life-threatening setting.

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Copies of Shakespeare’s First Folio around the world [map]

The first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays printed in 1623 – known as the First Folio – has a rich history. It is estimated that around 700 or 750 copies were printed, and today we know the whereabouts of over 230. They exist in some form or another, often incomplete or a combination of different copies melded together, in libraries and personal collections all over the world.

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Putting oral history on the map

Oral history has always been concerned with preserving the voices of the voiceless, and new technologies are enabling oral historians to preserve and present these memories in new and exciting ways. Audio projects can now turn to mapping software to connect oral histories with physical locations, bringing together voices and places.

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Special category states of India

There are eleven diverse hill states in India which comprise the group of “Special Category States.” They all suffer from the disadvantages that result from remoteness and geographical isolation, as well as historical and demographic circumstances. In addition to pathetic infrastructures, scant resources, unrealized human potential, and stymied economic growth, these states also represented various groups of marginalized minorities.

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American Arcadia

A guide to Southern California for classical art enthusiasts [interactive map]

Every year, millions of people visit California in search of beaches, hiking, celebrity sightings, and more. In the map below, Peter J. Holliday shows us his version of California, focusing on the rich history of classically inspired art and architecture in Southern California. Enjoy the stories of grand landmarks such as Hearst Castle, Pasadena City Hall, and the Getty Villa.

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Illuminating Shakespeare

Shakespeare across the globe [map]

On 23 April 2014, the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, a production of Hamlet set off from the Globe Theatre in London. In a span of two years, the 16-person acting group is touring every country in the world, visiting seven continents in 732 days.

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Very Short Introductions Online

Announcing the VSI Roadshow 2016

This year, 2016, is a very special year for the Very Short Introductions (VSI) series. Not only is our 21st birthday but we are also publishing our 500th VSI title in the autumn. Since our launch in 1995, Very Short Introductions have been filling in the gaps of our knowledge with a VSI to almost everything.

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SIPRI Yearbook Online

International security and foreign affairs in 2014 [interactive map]

What was happening in the world last year? Events such as the the devastating protest-turned-conflict in Ukraine, or the maritime disputes between states in the South China Sea, have wide-reaching repercussions – from the amount a country spends on its military, to the direction of foreign policies whole regions take.

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Dickens’ fascination with London [map]

At the height of his career – during the time he was writing Great Expectations and Our Mutual Friend – Dickens wrote a series of sketches, mostly set in London, which he collected as The Uncommercial Traveller. The persona of the ‘Uncommercial’ allowed Dickens to unify his series of occasional articles by linking them through a shared narrator.

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History of Eurasia [interactive map]

The history of Eurasia is vast, much like the land it covered millions of years ago. Over time the development, not only of European, Near Eastern, and Chinese civilizations, but also food production, the first use of gunpowder, and the cavalry took place.

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