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  • Social Sciences

Race and political division during American Reconstruction [excerpt]

Despite succeeding in reuniting the nation after the Civil War, American Reconstruction saw little social and political cohesion. Division—between North and South, black and white, Democrat and Republican—remained unmistakable across the nation. In the following excerpt from Reconstruction: A Concise History,  Allen C. Guelzo delves into the complicated nature of race and politics during this […]

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Big Data and the Happiness of Cities

In today’s world of big data and mass media saturation, statistics and graphs are constantly being thrown at us. For researchers, wading through, and making sense of, the sea of numbers is as much about the journey as the destination. But for most people who are simply trying to live their lives, all these facts […]

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The allure of the peasant in organic farming

Idealizing pre-modern life has a long history in western culture. When Europeans discovered the vast new world of the Americas, new visions and possibilities arose in their imagination, not just of the Native Americans that populated the new continent, but of Europeans themselves. The English philosopher Thomas Hobbes understood Native Americans to live in a pre-civil condition, savages ridden with violence.

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Why We Fall for Toxic Leaders

School shootings, terrorism, cyberattacks, and economic downturns open the door to toxic leaders. Small wonder these dangerous, seductive leaders attract followers worldwide. Toxic leaders typically enter the scene as saviors. They promise to keep us safe, quell our fears, and infuse our lives with meaning and excitement, perhaps, even immortality.  Yet, as history grimly attests, […]

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World Humanitarian Day [podcast]

On this episode of The Oxford Comment, we take a look at the challenges faced by humanitarians today. Host Erin Katie Meehan sat down with Health & Social Work editorial board member Sarah Gehlert, Belinda Gurd and Alexandra Eurdolian of the UNOCHA, and esteemed psychologist Robert J. Wicks to explore important questions about humanitarianism.

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Revolutionary Music and the Social Fabric of Rebellion

Rebels are central actors in civil wars. However, their perspectives and lifeworlds remain little understood. In fact, many studies on civil war suffer from what Ranajit Guha criticised as the “prose of counterinsurgency”: scholars often infer the logic of rebellion from second-hand accounts, many of which are produced in the interest of state power. Insofar as scholarship has been interested in the rebel perspective, it mostly focuses on the strategic calculus of revolutionary elites.

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Putin’s stability becomes Russia’s stagnation

Russia may seem to be on the march globally, but at home Russia is running in place. This inertia is the flip side of Putin’s domestic image as stability tsar, bringing an end to the “wild 90s” that followed the Soviet collapse.  Back in 2010, Putin credited his policies with Russia’s successful bid to host […]

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The vocation of youth

We all benefit when young people understand their strengths and talents and use these to make the world a better place through direct action, service, and leadership. We use the idea of vocation to describe this process of them coming to understand their strengths and talents and how these can be applied to address issues they care about in their community.

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The ever-evolving US Supreme Court

Justice Byron R. White, who served on the Supreme Court for 31 years (1962-1993), once observed that every time a new justice joins the court, it’s a new court. His observation may sound counter-intuitive: after all, a new justice joins eight incumbents. Can a single new member make such a difference?

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Celebrating the NHS at 70

On the 5th of July 2018, the National Health Service (NHS) celebrated its 70th anniversary. Aneurin Bevan, the Minister for Health, founded the NHS in 1948 with the aim of bringing together hospitals, doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, and opticians under a single umbrella organisation for the first time.

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Understanding academic impact: fear and failure, stealth and seeds

Failure is an unavoidable element of any academic career. For all but a small number of ‘superstar über-scholars’, most of the research papers we submit will be rejected, our most innovative book proposals will be politely rebuffed and our applications for grants, prizes and fellowships will fall foul of good fortune.

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The Little Red Book vs. the Big White Book

There are some similarities between former Chairman of the Communist Party of China Mao Zedong’s most famous book, Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong (“The Little Red Book”) and current General Secretary Xi Jinping’s The Governance of China (“Big White Book”)—the second installment of which came out last year, each volume the same cream color and featuring the same photograph of the author.

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Why I Oppose the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact

Connecticut, where I live, is the most recent state to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. The Nutmeg State was wrong to join this Compact, designed to ensure that the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote also wins in the Electoral College.

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Making sense of President Trump’s trade policy

Trade policy was a cornerstone of US President Donald Trump’s campaigns, both in the primary and general, and has often been a centerpiece of his agenda since in office. Trade policy is once again at the forefront with the recently concluded G-7 summit, largely revolving around the President’s threatened steel tariffs on Canada and the EU which followed recent negotiations with China over a possible trade war.

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Donald Trump, Kim Jong Un, and North Korean human rights

US President Donald Trump traveled to Singapore to negotiate urgent nuclear matters, and not to discuss North Korean violations of basic human rights. Any such willful US indifference to these violations in another country, especially when they are as stark and egregious as they are in North Korea, represents a sorely grievous disregard for America’s vital obligations under international law.

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