Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Social Sciences

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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Innovation: in and out of the Budongo

In 2014, PLOS Biology published an article about a cousin of ours, a member of the Sono Community of wild chimpanzees in the Budongo Forest in northwestern Uganda. In a video shared in relation to the study, an alpha male, NK, gathers moss from a tree trunk just within his reach, a prize he will use to lap up water in a nearby pool.

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Ten facts about dentistry

You use it every day; it’s a facial feature that everybody sees; and one that enables almost all animals to survive. We’re talking, of course, about the mouth.

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How ‘the future’ connects across subjects

‘Today’s world is complex and unreliable. Tomorrow is expected to be more so.’ – Jennifer M. Gidley, The Future: A Very Short Introduction From the beginning of time, humanity has been driven by a paradox: fearing the unknown but with a constant curiosity to know. Over time, science and technology have developed, meaning that we […]

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70 years of Middle Eastern politics, leaders, and conflict [infographic]

Since the end of the Second World War and the founding of Israel in 1948, the Middle East has been a bastion for the world’s economic, political, and religious tensions. From its economic hold on energy consumption to its complicated, generations-long military conflicts and its unfortunate role as a hotbed of terrorism, the volatile politics of the Middle East have had and will continue to have global implications into the future.

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Japan’s pivot in Asia

In East Asia, the Brexit vote served as a reminder of how abruptly the improbable could become entirely possible. Could the unwinding of long-taken-for-granted assumptions about regional order and its supporting institutions also take place in Asia? Trump’s election, not even five months later – and then his overture to Pyongyang – made these prospects even more tangible. These concerns are manifest in four policy domains.

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New narrative nonfiction [podcast]

After the 2008 recession, print book sales took a hit, but now BookScan has recorded consistent growth in print book sales year over year for the past five years. What has been driving these sales? Surprisingly, adult nonfiction sales. Covering topics from history, politics and law, nonfiction saw a growth of 13 percent during the last fiscal year.

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Who are the super-rich and why they are paid so much?

ne of the most common arguments against contemporary capitalism is that it generates extreme inequalities. Few individuals – it is often said – earn huge earnings, while the rest of society has to struggle to make ends meet. But, who are the super-rich and why they are paid so much? Observing the composition of top incomes reveals a striking novelty for what concerns the “who” question.

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The goals of medicine do not stop at the edge of the body

Over the last 100 years, the world, people, and our society have changed beyond measure. So have diseases, and we are now almost 75 years into the first ever age where cure of disease, successful organ transplants and near complete recovery from trauma has been possible. Despite all of this change, however, medical school curricula have hardly changed in a hundred years.

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Shariah: myths vs. realities

For many in the West today, “Shariah” is a word that evokes fear—fear of a medieval legal system that issues draconian punishments, fear of relegation of women and religious minorities to second-class citizenship, fear of Muslims living as separate communities who refuse to integrate with the rest of society, and fear that Muslims will seek to impose Shariah in America and Europe.

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Brexit threatens food supplies and Ministers know it

The story on the front page of The Sunday Times on 3 June 2018 pulled no punches. Headlined “Revealed: plans for Doomsday Brexit”, it reported on leaked government papers planning for a “no deal” Brexit scenario. They warned that the port of Dover could collapse on day one of exiting the EU, with major food shortages within a few days and medicines shortages within two weeks.

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Professionalizing leadership – development

Learning to lead should consist of a certain sequence in a certain order. Like doctors and lawyers, and for that matter like preachers and teachers and truck drivers and hairdressers, leaders should first be educated, then trained, and then developed. Previously we have addressed leadership education and training. What finally is meant by leadership development? How are leaders developed – as opposed to educated or trained?

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Angling for less harmful algal blooms

Blooms bring to mind the emerging beauty of spring—flowers blossoming and trees regaining their splendor. These blooms, unlike spring flowers, are odorous, unpleasant, and potentially toxic. They deter families from engaging in water-related recreational activities such as going to the shore. They discourage anglers from going fishing, which, in turn, affects those who depend on the local fishing economy.

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Beyond nostalgia: understanding socialism markets

From Che Guevara t-shirts and Honnecker’s Hostel to Mao mugs and Good Bye, Lenin!—why do millions of consumers in China, Germany, Hungary, Poland, and other former socialist societies still insist on the superiority of socialist products and brands? The standard explanation offered by consumer sociologists and historians is that these thriving socialism markets stimulate political opposition, a yearning for the “better” socialist past.

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How Wayfair opens the door to taxing internet sales

In a much anticipated decision, the US Supreme Court in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. declared, by the narrowest of margins, that a state may require an internet seller to collect sales and use taxes even if the seller lacks physical presence in the state seeking to impose the obligation to collect its tax. Wayfair is an important decision, though much of the popular reporting about it has been overstated.

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“Our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor”

This year, as the United States celebrates 242 years of independence, I cannot help but reflect upon the sort of country that the Second Continental Congress hoped to create and, more importantly, the sort of men they envisioned leading it. The men who declared independence were men of their time, as indeed was the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson.

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