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Place of the Year 2018 nominee spotlight: International Space Station

The International Space Station (ISS) is the largest single structure humans have ever put into space. The spacecraft is in orbit 240 miles above Earth, and is both a home and a science laboratory for astronauts and cosmonauts. The station took 10 years and more than 30 missions to assemble, beginning in November 1998 when […]

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Big money, dark money, and the two Gilded Ages

The 2018 midterm elections were the most expensive in history, and much of the money that financed them was undisclosed, or “dark.” There has always been big money in elections, of course, and some of it has always been dark. In the first Gilded Age, all campaign contributions were made in secret.

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Place of the Year 2018 nominee spotlight: Myanmar

Extreme violence and discrimination has led to a humanitarian crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. Throughout 2017 and 2018, Rohingya refugees have been crossing the border into Bangladesh in fear of their lives. United Nations officials have described the crisis as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” In 2018, mid-October reports revealed that the number of […]

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Why We Fall for Toxic Leaders

The Oxford Word of the Year is a word or expression chosen to reflect the passing year in language. Every year, the Oxford Dictionaries team debates over a selection of candidates for Word of the Year, choosing the one that best captures the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of that particular year. The 2018 Oxford Word […]

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Place of the Year 2018 nominee spotlight: Mexico

Mexico has had an eventful 2018, both on the national and international stage. With conversations centered on immigration, natural disasters, economic advancements, and political protests, the country and its people have been front and center. On November 5, Mexico City received their first wave of migrants from a large group of people travelling through Mexico […]

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Place of the Year 2018 nominee spotlight: Pacific Ocean

A study in March of 2018 revealed that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP), the world’s largest collection of ocean garbage, has grown to more than 600,000 square miles. That’s twice the size of Texas, or three times the size of France. The mass weighs 88,000 tons, a number which is 16 times higher than […]

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Russian disinformation – How worried should we be?

The Russian government’s use of disinformation, i.e. intentionally misleading content, has raised serious concern not only among Russia’s neighbors, but also in Western nations more broadly. Responses to the perceived threat range from attempts to monitor the disinformation, to U.S. court’s legal indictment of Russian individuals and companies.

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Place of the Year 2018 nominee spotlight: North Korea

North Korea dominated the headlines in 2018 with historic meetings and heightened tensions over nuclear threats. This year Kim Jong-Un, Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea and Supreme Leader of North Korea, has met with multiple world leaders, and has been vocal about his stance on the North Korean nuclear program. This has ignited […]

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The 1950s is a vanished world, but have we made social progress?

Britain has seen huge social changes over the course of my lifetime. The world of the 1950s, when I grew up in a modest suburb of Liverpool, has vanished forever. The material standard of living we enjoyed then would nowadays seem to be distinctly substandard. We didn’t have a family car; I shared a bedroom with my older brother; and there was no television set, though we did have a telephone – a rather unfamiliar contraption which we were all too scared to use. There never seemed to be quite enough to eat and we were all rather skinny. There was no problem of obesity in our family, but we didn’t grow particularly tall. Today’s younger generation tower over us.

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Place of the Year 2018 Shortlist: vote for your pick

Oxford’s Place of the Year campaign pulls together the most significant places and events of the year. The 2018 shortlist of nominees brings to light impactful moments in global history, influencing the environment, international relations, humanitarian crises, and space exploration. Explore each of our locations and vote for who think should be recognized as Oxford’s […]

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Does the personalisation of politics have any benefits for democracy?

Democracy in the twenty-first century appears to have reached a fork in the road. On the one hand, over recent decades we have witnessed an explosion in the popularity of democratic norms and values around the globe to the extent that all but two countries label themselves as democracies, which if nothing else indicates how […]

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What to do about Syria?

The chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria on 7 April 2018 by the military forces of Bashar al-Assad brought renewed calls for international action to protect civilians and resolve the brutal internal conflict that has persisted for over seven years and produced as many as half a million deaths. Despite calls for action by many Western governments, direct action and intervention have generally been in short supply, perhaps in part because Western observers do not perceive Assad as a particular threat or sufficiently villainous to warrant strong action.

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Concern for global democracy

A new report by the Democracy Project finds that a majority of Americans view democracy in the United States as weak and getting weaker. Even worse, nearly half of Americans express concerns that the United States is in “real danger of becoming a nondemocratic, authoritarian country.”

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Are you ballot ready?

The 2018 midterm elections could see the highest turnout for a midterm since the mid-1960s, another time of cultural and social upheaval. Michael McDonald, Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida, predicted to NPR that “between 45-50 percent of eligible voters will cast a ballot.”

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