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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Democracies in America: Keywords for the Nineteenth Century and Today

Defining “democracy”

One week before the 2022 US midterm elections, President Joseph Biden delivered a prime-time address at Union Station in Washington, DC. Biden suggested that something foundational, fundamental, was at stake. He reminded listeners of the definition of democracy.

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The neuroscience of consciousness by the Oxford Comment podcast

The need for affordable and clean energy [podcast]

Check out Episode 75 of The Oxford Comment to hear from Martin J. Pasqualetti and Paul F, Meier on the need for affordable and clean energy, the history of energy in the US, and the dire implications of not changing our energy habits.

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Embattled America: The Rise of Anti-Politics and America's Obsession with Religion

A democracy, if we can keep it

At this fearful time in American democracy, the best way to starve anti-democratic forces of their energy is to change the subject away from conservative religion and demand investment in civic education, democratic localism, and human rights.

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Stars and Shadows: The Politics of Interracial Friendship from Jefferson to Obama

The politics of interracial friendship

There have been instances of interracial friendship even in the worst of times. Explore some of these noteworthy friendships, which have served as windows into the state of race relations in the United States.

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The neuroscience of consciousness by the Oxford Comment podcast

Equity in health care [podcast]

There are many factors that affect our ability to be healthy, but we unfortunately do not all face the same barriers to accessing care. Such roadblocks can be related to cost, discrimination, location, sexual orientation, and gender identity, to name just a few. 

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French History

Democracy at work? France’s uncertain political future [long read]

In the last of our essays, we discuss the unexpected outcome of the legislative elections and look back on the electoral cycle as a whole. What does French politics look like after a series of fractious campaigns? And do the results offer any hope for the future?

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International Affairs

Global health diplomacy and North Korea in the COVID-19 era

The COVID-19 pandemic set off an unprecedented scale of border closures, a rise in health nationalism, and inequitable global distribution of vaccines, which have all exacerbated the humanitarian situation in low-income countries. This has led to calls for greater cooperation to support vulnerable populations beyond sovereign borders.

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The neuroscience of consciousness by the Oxford Comment podcast

Hong Kong 2022: one country, two systems? [podcast]

The first of July 2022 marks the 25th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China. It also marks the halfway point of a 50-year agreement between China and Hong Kong that established the “one country, two systems,” rule – a system designed to allow Hong Kong to “enjoy a high degree of autonomy, except in foreign and defence affairs” while still remaining a Special Administrative Region of China.

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The Politics of Succession

The perennial problem of succession [long read]

These days it is perhaps difficult to put oneself emphatically into a world in which the dynastic realm appeared for most men as the only imaginable ‘political’ system”, writes Benedict Anderson in Imagined Communities, his seminal book on the origins of modern nationalism. But this was the world a large majority of all Europeans lived in before the French Revolution and in many cases up until the First World War.

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International Affairs

A caution in exploring non-Western International Relations

The past quarter of a century has seen a burgeoning scholarship on the disciplinary history of International Relations (IR). By re-examining and revealing how past intellectuals and experts wrote about “the international,” this revisionist work on IR history generates a critical gaze at the assumptions on which IR stands today.

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