Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Evolution of a Taboo

The power of pigs: tension and taboo in Haifa, Israel

It might be an exaggeration to say a boar broke the internet. But when someone posted an image of wild boar sleeping on a mattress and surrounded by garbage from a recently-raided dumpster in Haifa, Israel in March, Twitter briefly erupted. In a recent article in The New York Times, Patrick Kingsley documented the uneasy relationship, not only between people and pigs, but also between the people who want the animals eliminated and those who welcome them. But Kingsley curiously omits an important detail: the drama over the fate of Haifa’s boar plays out against a backdrop of taboo and religious law.

Read More
Spinoza

Was Spinoza a populist? [Long read]

Recent studies of Spinoza’s political theory in a contemporary perspective often place it in one of two categories, depicting him either as a defender of individual free speech and liberal democracy or as a champion of radical democracy and collective popular power. For some, he is something like a liberal supporter of the equal individual rights of all citizens to express whatever is on their mind, an early defender of “free speech.”

Read More
Phantoms of a Beleaguered Republic

Nine challenges that American democracy faces [reading list]

The 78th Midwest Political Science Association Annual Meeting & Exhibition will be held virtually this year from 14-18 April. This year’s conference will feature titles that explore the challenges facing democracy in the United States and in emerging democracies around the world. Drop by our virtual booth to talk to our attending staff and to see our newest books—including leading works in the field—and take advantage of our 30% conference discount.

Read More

Government transparency and the freedom of information [podcast]

In 1967, the Freedom of Information Act was passed by the US Congress and signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson. Barring certain types of exemptions, the FOIA allows for American citizens to request access to records from federal agencies. Similar laws exist around the world, though each differ based on their respective countries’ political and cultural situations.

Read More
Future War

The future of war and defence in Europe

We face a critical challenge: unless Europeans do far more for their own defence, Americans will be unable to defend them; but there can be no credible future defence of Europe without America!

Read More

SHAPE today and tomorrow: Q&A with Sophie Goldsworthy and Julia Black (part two)

This second part of our Q&A with Sophie Goldsworthy, Director of Content Strategy & Acquisitions at OUP, and Professor Julia Black CBE FCA, Strategic Director of Innovation and Professor of Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and President-elect of the British Academy, reflects on how SHAPE disciplines can help us to understand the impact of the events of the pandemic and look towards the future of SHAPE.

Read More
American Immigration: A Very Short Introduction

“The Real America”: immigration and American identity

A new, in both tone and aspirations, presidential administration has taken office in the United States, and the prospect for significant change in the approach to immigration, one of the hot button issues advanced by President Donald Trump, is present at its inception.

Read More
This Land Is My Land

Republicans at a crossroads? Probably not

How did the Republican Party arrive at such a confused and divided state that Sen. John Thune had to ask whether it wanted “to be the party of limited government and fiscal responsibility, free markets, peace through strength and pro-life” or “the party of conspiracy theories and QAnon”? In reality, the party is both, and it has been so for some time.

Read More

Introducing SHAPE: Q&A with Sophie Goldsworthy and Julia Black (part one)

OUP is excited to support the newly created SHAPE initiative—Social Sciences, Humanities, and the Arts for People and the Economy. SHAPE has been coined to enable us to clearly communicate the value that these disciplines bring to not only enriching the world in which we live, but also enhancing our understanding of it. In the first instalment this two-part Q&A, we spoke to Sophie Goldsworthy and Professor Julia Black to find out more about SHAPE and what it means to them.

Read More
Movers & Stayers

The splintering South: the growing effect of migration on Republican strongholds

Migration patterns have laid siege to southern Republican dominance. Solidly red states a generation ago—Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina—are now purple or bright blue. The Democratic presence in Texas and South Carolina grows as Florida remains a battleground. These are all “fast growth” states. The remaining Republican bulwark represents a declining portion of the Southern electorate. If the South is the core of the modern Republican Party, its days are numbered.

Read More
Sister Style

More than a Vogue cover: Madam Vice President Kamala Harris

The Vogue cover photo controversy is much more than a disagreement over a styling choice. Black women’s bodies are political. Thus, the uproar over Kamala Harris’s Vogue cover must be read through a socio-cultural lens that acknowledges the intersectional salience of her racialized and gendered body.

Read More