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Announcing the Place of the Year 2017 shortlist: vote for your pick

As we approach the end of 2017, we are also winding down our search for the Place of the Year. Thank you to those of you who participated in the voting period for our Place of the Year 2017 longlist, which took us from Puerto Rico in the tropics to the Arctic further north, to beyond our planet and into the Sun. The top four contenders have moved on to the next round into our shortlist, and we need your help again.

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To be or not to ‘be’: 9 ways to use this verb [excerpt]

As short as it is, the verb ‘be’ has a range of meanings and uses that have developed over the last 1,500 years. It is—after ‘the’—the second most frequent word in the English language, and if you’re not afraid to use it, it can help you become a better writer. For National Novel Writing Month, we’ve laid out the various uses of ‘be’, taken from the Story of Be, to help aid you with your writing.

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Place of the Year nominee spotlight: Russia

This year, Russia was chosen as one of the nominees for Oxford University Press’s Place of the Year. Russia dominated the news cycle throughout the year—from investigations on their interference in the 2016 US elections to Kremlin’s interventions in Ukraine and Syria. The following excerpt from Russia: What Everyone Needs to Know provides an overview of President Vladimir Putin and his meteoric rise to power.

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Does a student’s college funding source influence their field of study?

“There are two dominant narratives about the function of higher education today.” Higher Education has changed dramatically over the past few decades, and debates over college costs have intensified. Examining how college funding is associated with course selection, Social Forces Editor Arne L. Kalleberg interviews Natasha Quadlin about her research about the effects of college funding sources.

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How China and Russia are reshaping international politics

Growing wealth and power of non-Western actors have been fuelling the debate on the future of global politics for the last decade. The West’s internal difficulties, such as the Eurozone crisis, Brexit, and the wave of populism, have weakened its determination to defend the status quo, and increased the importance of regional-level international politics. China and Russia stand out as the most vocal critics of Western domination

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Are boys genetically predisposed to behavioural problems? [excerpt]

Are boys naturally more aggressive or is that just a social construct by society? Can so-called “macho behavior” be unlearned or is it intrinsic? This International Men’s Day, authors Daniel Freeman and Jason Freeman seek out those answers and more in the below excerpt from The Stressed Sex: Uncovering the Truth About Men, Women, and Mental Health.

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Capitalism and the value of technology [excerpt]

Technology has undoubtedly changed how the economy operates, from the steam engine to the smartphone. But are machines a legitimate source of value in a capitalist society? In the following excerpt from Marx, Capital, and the Madness of Economic Reason, David Harvey delves into Marx’s Capital to better understand the value of man and machinery in a technology-dependent world.

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Place of the Year 2017: behind the longlist

As the year comes to a close, Oxford’s Place of the Year campaign gives us the opportunity to reflect on the world events of 2017. The slideshow below features our longlist of nominees, all of which have made a major political, economic, or scientific influence over the past year. Take at the list below and let us know who you think should be recognized as Oxford’s Place of the Year 2017.

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What is Thanksgiving? A Brit’s guide to the holiday

Thanksgiving is one of the most important holidays in the US calendar. However for those who have never lived in America, the celebration can seem perplexing and often down-right bewildering. Here in the Oxford offices at Oxford University Press, we thought we may have understood the basics, but on researching more into the holiday, we have been left with many more questions than answers. For instance, what is a “Turkey Trot” or sweet potato pie, and if television is to be believed – do people actually go around the table saying what they’re thankful for?

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Are you the favorite child? The science of favoritism

We are frequently asked why we spend our professional careers studying favoritism, after all, parents don’t really have favorites. Or do they? A woman recently approached us after a lecture we gave and told us about caring for her aging mother. Her story captures the importance of this issue. She visited her mother daily in the final year of her mother’s life to feed, bathe, and care for her.

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Place of the Year nominee spotlight: the Arctic [video]

The Arctic sea ice has been seen to be in steady retreat since about 1950, a retreat which has recently sped up with an additional factor of thinning. In summer now there is only a quarter of the volume of ice that there was in summer in 1980. This process shows every sign of continuing, so that the Arctic will be ice-free for part of the year. Obviously we view this as a product of global warming, but why should it concern us in other ways?

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Philosophical curiosities from around the world [slideshow]

Today is World Philosophy Day! Introduced by UNESCO in 2002, World Philosophy Day aims to promote the global importance of philosophical thought. To celebrate, we’ve created a slideshow of philosophical puzzles from A Cabinet of Philosophical Curiosities: A Collection of Puzzles, Oddities, Riddles, and Dilemmas to test your thinking. Take a look at the slideshow below to see if you can answer these riddles from around the world.

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Brexit and the flow of personal data

At the moment the media, political parties and the legal establishment are all focussed on the big questions of Brexit. What happens to the Northern Ireland border? What does Brexit mean for farmers? And what does it mean for the future of the Nations and regions of the UK? However potentially the most problematic aspects of Brexit are not the big issues but the small technical details

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World Philosophy Day 2017: political philosophy across the globe [map]

The third Thursday in November marks World Philosophy Day, an event founded by UNESCO to emphasise the importance of philosophy in the development of human thought, for each culture and for each individual. This year, the OUP Philosophy team have decided to incorporate the Oxford Philosophy Festival theme of applying philosophy in politics to our World Philosophy Day content.

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What can we all do to tackle antibiotic resistance?

Welcome to the Oxford Journals guide to antibiotic resistance. 13th – 19th November marks World Antibiotic Awareness Week, an annual international campaign set up by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to combat the spread of antibiotic resistance, and raise awareness of the potential consequences. Even better, it’s not just scientists, politicians, and medical professionals who can work towards a solution

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