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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Rihanna and representations of black women – Episode 39 – The Oxford Comment

“Come and put your name on it,” is the first line in Rihanna’s song “Birthday Cake.” She is referring to her female anatomy as she dances in a hip-centered motion, reminiscent of Caribbean movement. Across the globe, reactions to the song’s connotation and the provocative dancing varied greatly, each individual interpreting the sequence of events based on their own experiences, culture, race and gender.

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Exotic – Episode 38 – The Oxford Comment

The word “exotic” can take on various different meanings and connotations, depending on how it is used. It can serve as an adjective or a noun, to describe a commodity, a person, or even a human activity. No matter its usage, however, the underlying theme is that the word is used to describe something foreign or unknown, a function which can vary greatly, from enriching the luxury status of commodities, to fully sexualizing and ultimately ostracizing a literary work of psychology and anthropology, known as the Kamasutra.

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Experiments in Art and Technology – Episode 37 – The Oxford Comment

Founded in 1966 by Billy Klüver, Fred Waldhauer, Robert Rauschenberg and Robert Whitman, Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) was a non-profit group that fostered collaboration between artists and engineers. Active between the 1960s and 1980s, E.A.T. recruited scientists and engineers to work with artists looking to incorporate new technologies into artworks, performances, and installations.

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Robert Whitman – Episode 36 – The Oxford Comment

Robert Whitman is a pioneering American artist who, in the company of other groundbreaking figures including Claes Oldenberg, Jim Dine, and Allan Kaprow, performed experimental performance art pieces in New York in the 1960s. In 1966, Whitman would become a founding member of the collective Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), along with Bell Labs engineers Billy Klüver and Fred Waldhaur and artist Robert Rauschenberg.

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Artificial Intelligence – Episode 35 – The Oxford Comment

Imagine a world where the majority of our workforce was composed of robots as capable and as psychologically similar to human beings. The robots are constantly working and are faster and more efficient than humans—leaving humans to be pushed towards early retirement to enjoy a life of leisure and wealth due to a large growth in investments on this artificial intelligence (AI).

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Counterterrorism – Episode 34 – The Oxford Comment

What is counterterrorism? Although many studies have focused on terrorism and its causes, research on counterterrorism is less prevalent. This may be because the definition of terrorism itself has been heavily disputed, thus blurring the lines of what and who the targets of counterterrorism efforts should be.

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The Easter Rising – Episode 33 – The Oxford Comment

This past Easter marked the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, an armed uprising by Irish rebels against British rule in 1916. An insurrection that lasted almost a week, the Easter Rising began as a small rebellion on Easter Sunday and turned into a full uprising by Easter Monday, 24 April 1916.

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Climate change and COP21 – Episode 32 – The Oxford Comment

The Paris Agreement, held from 30 November to 12 December 2015, has been hailed as a “historic turning point” in the battle against global climate change. Consequently, dialogue surrounding greenhouse gas emissions, particularly around political and economic compliance.

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The resource curse – Episode 31 – The Oxford Comment

Global inequality, particularly as it exists today, is more “process” than natural phenomenon. An era of unprecedented interconnection means that individual practices, just as much as large-scale social, political, and economic actions, shape, sustain, and reinforce power dynamics.

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Learning from music education – Episode 30 – The Oxford Comment

More than ever before, educators around the world are employing innovative methods to nurture growth, creativity, and intelligence in the classroom. Even so, finding groundbreaking ways to get through to students can be an uphill battle, particularly for students with special needs.

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Season’s greetings – Episode 29 – The Oxford Comment

Say goodbye to endless stuffing: it’s time to welcome our most beloved season of wreaths, wrapping paper…and confusion. The questions, as we began delving, were endless. Should we say happy holidays or season’s greetings?

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Game on – Episode 28 – The Oxford Comment

Listen closely and you’ll hear the squeak of sneakers on AstroTurf, the crack of a batter’s first hit, and the shrill sound of whistles signaling Game on! Yes, it’s that time of year again.

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Trick or treat – Episode 27 – The Oxford Comment

From baristas preparing pumpkin spiced lattes to grocery store aisles lined with bags of candy, the season has arrived for all things sweet-toothed and scary. Still, centuries after the holiday known as “Halloween” became cultural phenomenon, little is known to popular culture about its religious, artistic, and linguistic dimensions.

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Between the stacks – Episode 26 – The Oxford Comment

Aside from announcing the start of another academic semester, September also marks an essential, if lesser-known, national holiday celebrated since 1987: Library Card Sign-up Month. Once a year, the American Library Association (ALA)—working in conjunction with public libraries across the country—makes an effort to spotlight the essential services provided by libraries now and throughout history. But what, exactly, are the origins of the American public library?

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Portrait of a lady – Episode 25 – The Oxford Comment

Much mystery surrounds Elizabeth I, the last monarch of the Tudor dynasty. It’s said that the beloved Queen, for centuries immortalized in private letters and state papers, portraits and poetry, remains more myth than memory in the canon of British history. How, then, can we begin to uncover the personal and political dimensions that made up Elizabeth’s life? And what is it like—as writers, students, and scholars of history—to attempt to understand a legend of the royal kind?

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Entertaining Judgment – Episode 24 – The Oxford Comment

What truly awaits us on the ‘other side?’ From heaven to hell (and everything in between), our conceptions of the afterlife are more likely to be shaped by shows like The Walking Dead than biblical scripture. Speculation about death, it seems, has permeated every aspect of our everyday experience, manifesting itself in lyrics, paintings, and works of literature.

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