Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

British and Irish family names [infographic]

As the population of Britain and Ireland grows, some surnames are becoming even more common and widespread, alongside a steady continuation of uncommon surnames; but how many of us know anything about our family names’ origins – where it comes from, what it means today, and exactly how long it has actually been around for? Names derive from the diverse language and cultural movement of people who have settled in Britain and Ireland over history

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The Mediterranean Sea and the migrant crisis [infographic]

With the Oxford Place of the Year competition drawing to a close, we’ve put together an infographic to explain why the Mediterranean Sea, geographic epicenter of the migrant crisis, earned a place on the shortlist alongside Aleppo, the U.K., and Tristan da Cunha.

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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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An Interview with Jörg Matthias Determann

When I first started researching historiography in Saudi Arabia, I came across many publications by government organizations, as they were the most readily available. At first glance, many of these history books told the same story: a narrative that focused on the royal family and its creation of a first Saudi state during the eighteenth century, a second Saudi state during the nineteenth century, and finally the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the twentieth century.

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Place of the Year 2016: behind the longlist

We continue our reflection on 2016 with a more in depth look at the nominees for Place of the Year. Previously, we introduced our readers to the nominees simply as a list. Now, we’d like to go a bit more in-depth with each of the nominees.

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Air quality law in the United Kingdom at a crossroads

UK air quality law now finds itself at a crossroads. Air quality law is a well-established area of environmental law, having been at the vanguard of much of it. It is a well-established area across multiple levels of governance, with local and national regulation in the UK operating against a backdrop of binding EU standards and an international law framework for transboundary air pollution

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Identity, foreign policy, and the post-Arab uprising struggle for power in the Middle East

In recent years, there has been a greater emphasis put on understanding the international relations of the post-Arab uprising in the Middle East. An unprecedented combination of widespread state failure, competitive interference, and instrumentalization of sectarianism by three rival would-be regional hegemons (Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Iran) in failing states has produced a spiral of sectarianism at the grassroots level.

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Remembering John Muir on the centennial of the National Park Service

This year, Americans celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service. On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Park Service Organic Act. The bill culminated decades of effort by a remarkable generation of dedicated men and women who fought to protect the nation’s natural wonders for the democratic enjoyment of the people.

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Australia in three words, part 2 – “Kangaroo court”

A ‘kangaroo court’ is no more Australian than a Californian kangaroo rat. The term originated in the California of 1849, as a legacy of the summary and dubious efforts at informal justice on lawless gold fields. By contrast, the Australian gold fields of that period felt heavily the overbearing hand of the law. This contrast epitomes a larger paradox. Australians are seen as ‘disrespectful of authority’; the truth is they have, from their beginnings, been highly law-prone.

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Around the world in 15 travel health tips

It’s time for holidays! Your suitcase is packed, you’re ready to leave, and cannot wait to get a proper tan to show on social media. Mark Twain used to say that “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness”, but unfortunately the health problems we may come across while travelling are far less poetic. Danger is always lurking, especially in far-flung and unexplored destinations.

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10 things you didn’t know about Brazil’s economy

By the end of the twentieth century, Brazil had ranked as one of the the ten largest economies in the world, but also being that with the fifth largest population, it is facing many obstacles in economic growth. With the 2016 Rio Olympics now upon us, we’ve collated 10 interesting facts about Brazil’s economy from colonial times to the modern day.

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Is globalization the problem?

Populist angst and anger is running through the United States presidential campaign, but also through the Brexit debates, directed at the political establishment, and also at globalization (with the European Union standing in for the latter in the UK context). This anger has taken policy elites by surprise, throwing wrenches into the works of carefully planned political campaigns by mainstream Republican, Democratic, Conservative, and Labour parties on either side of the Atlantic.

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Brexit, business, and the role of migration for an ageing UK

John Shropshire used to farm celery just in Poland. Why? Because celery production is labour intensive and Poland had abundant available labour. However, he now also farms in the Fens, Cambridgeshire. Why? Because the EU Single Market gives him access to the labour he needs. Not cheap labour – John pays the living wage to his workers – but available seasonal migrant workers from Central and Eastern Europe – 2500 of them.

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Announcing the winner of the 2016 Clinical Placement Competition

This May, our 2016 Clinical Placement Competition came to a close. In partnership with Projects Abroad, we offered one lucky medical student the chance to practice their clinical skills, with £2,000 towards a clinical placement in a country of their choice. We asked entrants to send a photograph with a caption, explaining “What does being a doctor mean to you?”

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