Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Subtopics

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt’s religious tolerance

Theodore Roosevelt is everywhere. Most famously, his stone face stares out from South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore. One of the most important but least recognized aspects of Roosevelt’s life are his ecumenical convictions and his promotion of marginalized religious groups. Through Roosevelt’s influence, Jews, Mormons, Catholics, and Unitarians moved a little closer toward the American religious mainstream.

Read More

Wallowing deeper and deeper in the garbage can (part three)

In the series on “trash” and its synonyms, I called attention to Spitzer’s hypothesis on the origin of English “rubbish” and now I have unearthed Verdam’s idea that Dutch “karwei” may have something in common with English “garbage.” Resuscitating valuable ideas buried in the depths of old journals is an important part of etymologists’ work. Convincing refutation is as valuable as agreement.

Read More
Beer: A Global Journey through the Past and Present

Ten refreshing books to read for National Beer Day [reading list]

Beer is one of the world’s oldest produced alcoholic beverages and since its invention some 13,000 years ago, people across the globe have been brewing, consuming, and even worshiping this amber nectar. Whether you prefer a pale ale, wheat beer, stout, or lager, from the cask or a humble bottle, beer enthusiasts can agree that the topic of beer is as complex as its taste.

Read More
Rivers of the Sultan

Seven new books on environmental history [reading list]

The reciprocal relationship between humanity and nature may define the future of our life on this planet, but it is also an inescapable force in our history. To discover how the natural world has impacted the course of history, explore these seven new titles on environmental history.

Read More
American History

Anti-Asian violence: the racist use of COVID-19

The recent spate of discrimination, harassment, and violence against Asian Americans has erupted amidst a campaign of fearmongering and disinformation that blames Asian people for the COVID-19 crisis. Rather than being a new phenomenon, the portrayal of Asian Americans as vectors of disease harkens back to a long, sordid, and violent history of anti-Asian racism and nativism.

Read More
Margaret Mead: A Twentieth-Century Faith

Margaret Mead by the numbers

The life of anthropologist Margaret Mead (1901-1978) spanned decades, continents, and academic conversations. Fellow anthropologist Clifford Geertz compared the task of summarizing her to “trying to inscribe the Bible—or perhaps the Odyssey—on the head of a pin.

Read More
MNRAS Jan 2021

Extreme collision of stellar winds at the heart of Apep, the cosmic serpent

Apep is a stellar system named after the Egyptian god of chaos due to the spiral pattern of dust generated by its two member stars. Now, astronomers have looked at Apep’s heart with the highest resolution available. They have revealed the strongest shock produced by the collision of the extreme winds of the two stars in our Galaxy.

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

From “trash” to “rubbish” and back to “trash” (part two)

In the beginning, words for things wasted or thrown away tend to denote some concrete refuse and only later acquire a generic meaning. Yet, when several synonyms share the field, they are seldom fully interchangeable. Thus, trash, rubbish, junk, offal, and garbage either refer to different kinds of discarded objects or have different stylistic overtones. One also notices with some surprise that in Modern English, all such words are borrowings.

Read More
The Hidden History of Coined Words

Do you know the hidden histories of these words? [Quiz]

Successful word-coinages—those that stay in lingual currency for a good, long time—tend to conceal their beginnings. In “The Hidden History of Coined Words,” author and word sleuth Ralph Keyes explores the etymological underworld of terms and expressions and uncovers plenty of hidden gems. Take our quiz and see how many hidden histories you know!

Read More
MNRAS Letters

Giant hidden black hole discovered only 1.4 billion years after the Big Bang

Black holes are some of the most bizarre objects in the Universe but their existence is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity of Albert Einstein. Scientists have known for some time that much larger black holes with mass billions of times that of the sun existed as early as a few hundred million years after the Big Bang. An international team of astrophysicists have discovered such a hidden giant black hole.

Read More
Animal Frontiers

Swine fevers: how to prevent and control the spread [infographic]

With the world’s attention set on the COVID-19 pandemic, concerns have been growing over the lack of concentrated efforts in preventing the current spread of swine fevers. Both Classical Swine Fever and African Swine Fever cause high mortality in pigs but are the result of two unrelated viruses and, if safe and efficacious prevention methods are not present, can cause significant socioeconomic impacts in endemic countries.

Read More