Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Raiding religion, the new normal

The 19th of April 2017 is the twenty-fourth anniversary of the 1993 Branch Davidian tragedy in Waco, Texas. The disaster began three months earlier, however, with a botched effort by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to serve a search warrant for weapons upon a small religious community. The raid resulted in 15 casualties among federal agents, including four dead, and the deaths of six Branch Davidians.

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The international protection of diplomatic and consular agents

On Monday 19 December 2016, President Vladimir Putin had made plans to attend Woe from Wit, a satirical comedy on post-Napoleonic Moscow. It was written in 1823, six years before its author – poet and diplomat Alexander Griboyedov – was murdered by a crowd of Islamic religious fanatics, when Ambassador to Persia.

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Political intermediation for just sustainabilities

Present understanding of the relationship between environmental conservation and social justice – the two of the greatest challenges of our times – is fraught with multiple confusions, especially in the context of developing countries.

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Looking beyond “America First”: war, politics, and human community

The polarity between self-assertive and integrative tendencies is characteristic of all human life on earth, even including the life of separate states in world politics. In this connection, regrettably, President Donald Trump’s conspicuously proud emphasis on “America First” represents an unambiguous preference for the former.

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French politics at the crossroads

The outcome of France’s upcoming presidential elections may be the most difficult to predict in many years. The name of the anticipated winner has changed several times over the past few months. The conservative party’s primary election ejected several seemingly credible candidates from the race. The far-right populist party Front National has become the leading party in terms of vote share at the regional elections of 2015.

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The role of smugglers in the European Migrant Crisis

Media coverage of the European migrant crisis often focuses on the migrants themselves—capturing their stories as millions escape violent conflicts and crushing poverty. In Migrant, Refugee, Smuggler, Savior, Peter Tinti and Tuesday Reitano consider the smugglers involved in transporting migrants throughout Europe. Although many smugglers are viewed as saviors, others give little regard to the human rights issues.

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The sound of the Steel City: Orwell, Attercliffe, and the afterlife

There are some sounds in life that simply cannot be put into words. One of them is the sound I heard this morning as I ran along the canal in that very special part of Sheffield known as Attercliffe. The sound shook me to my soul and reminded me of George Orwell’s visit to the city in 1936 when he had been shocked by the realities of hard industrial life. For me, however, it was a glorious sound – the heartbeat of the Steel City.

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How football fans, political leaders, and religious cues can change minds on LGBT rights

Less than 15 years ago, it was impossible for a same-sex couple to get married, and the public was strongly opposed to the idea. But in a remarkably short period of time, public opinion shifted, as did public policy—first in Massachusetts in 2004, and in an increasing number of states over time, until the US Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision in 2015 which legalized same-sex marriage across the country.

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The decline of public intellectuals

Although their roles are similar, thought leaders and public intellectuals remain two distinct entities. Public intellectuals’ training gives them the authority to discuss a wide range of issues; thought leaders’ enthusiasm gives them an audience who will listen to their ideas. Public distrust in authority figures has led to a significant rise in “thought leaders”. While this change in the marketplace of ideas has increased diversity in creative thinking, it builds obstacles for the public intellectuals trying to filter out the bad from the good.

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Urban waste management, and the largest dump site in Kolkata

These days, one hears much about the importance of adaptiveness and resilience, faced with the “super wicked” problem of climate change that is growing by the day and is demanding not just policy orientation, but action plans on an urgent basis. Often, opinion is expressed that poorer nations must perforce work towards adaptation and dedicated research must help them in that direction.

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The Honourable Members should resign

On 16 March, less than nine months after the public voted to leave the European Union (EU) in a hotly contested referendum, Britain enacted a law authorizing the government to begin the process of negotiating “Brexit,”— Britain’s withdrawal from the EU. Although there was much talk of “Bregret” following the referendum, recent polling suggests that British attitudes have not changed much since June.

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MPSA 2017: a conference and city guide

The Midwest Political Science Association will hold its annual conference from 6 April through 9 April in Chicago, IL at the Palmer House Hilton. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the MPSA conference. With a large variety of panels and events to attend, we’ve selected a few on our list to share, as well as what to check out during your free time in Chicago.

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What Orwell and Snowden overlooked

In response to the Fake News and Alternative Facts doctrine twittered so incoherently from the Trump White House, people have remembered George Orwell’s Doublethink and Newspeak, and sales of 1984 have boomed in the USA. No doubt we shall soon appreciate anew the Orwellian warning that Big Brother is Watching You. The revelations by Edward Snowden still linger in our consciousness as a reminder of the caution.

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Filling Supreme Court vacancies: political credentials vs. judicial philosophy

In the current, hyper-partisan environment, relatively few individuals publicly supported the confirmations to the US Supreme Court of both Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., and Justice Sonia Sotomayor. I know because I am one of these lonely souls. Now, the same considerations which led me to support their confirmations lead me to support the confirmation to the Court of Judge Neil Gorsuch.

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Trump’s “America first” foreign policy and its impact on the Liberal Order

Where will he take the United States? That is Donald J Trump – now 45th President of the United States. And will the Liberal Order, a product of all his predecessors, survive the Age of Trump? For over seventy years US Presidents and foreign policy officials of numerous American administrations have led – for better and for worse – the Liberal Order.

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