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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

The Chinese Lady: Afong May in Early America by Nancy E. Davis

Afong Moy on the 21st century stage

The story of Afong Moy, the first known Chinese woman on American soil, and the first Chinese person to come face to face with American audiences across the country has been told recently by both the historian Nancy Davis as well as the playwright LLoyd Suh. Davis explores Afong Moy’s life and the different lessons that can be learned through research as well as fictionalization.

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Twinkle, twinkle, or stars and sparks

Nothing is known about the origin of the phrase “Milky Way.” By contrast, the origin of the word “star” is not hopelessly obscure, which is good, because stars and obscurity have little in common.

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The Right of Sovereignty by Daniel Lee

The sovereign duties of humanity: re-examining Bodin’s theory

Sovereignty is the grand prize of statehood in public international law, the touchstone of political independence. Its value derives from the monopoly it confers upon its holder, empowering it to do things that no else can—making and unmaking law, declaring war, signing treaties, establishing courts, laying taxes.

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Oxford Music

A history of the Carols for Choirs angel [gallery]

A blog taking us through the many iterations of the iconic Carols for Choirs cover design, from the first version in 1961 through to the current design. The thread throughout all of the covers is an illustrated angel, which can be found on every cover version, in various shapes and sizes!

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The Oxford Book of Carols

Christmas with Ralph Vaughan Williams and The Oxford Book of Carols

The inter-war Oxford Book of Carols (published in 1928) was the brainchild of Reverend Percy Dearmer—a socialist, high church Anglican liturgist who believed that music should be at the core of Christian worship. Today the OBC is a world-renowned publication that shines as as a beacon of experimentation within tradition: a visionary musico-poetic collection of the most profoundly partisan nature.

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The wiles of folk etymology

Words, as linguistics tells us, are conventional signs. Some natural phenomenon is called rain or snow, and, if you don’t know what those words mean, you will never guess. But everything in our consciousness militates against such a rupture between word and thing.

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The Women Are Up to Something

Knowing one’s opinion is worth hearing

Mary Midgley muses that the dearth of men in Oxford during WW2 helped her and her friends Elizabeth Anscombe, Philippa Foot, and Iris Murdoch find their way into philosophy. But each of them took years to find her voice—Midgley longest of all. What held them back and what provoked them to finally speak up?

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Winter etymology gleanings

Both “thank” and “give” deserve our attention! And it is those two outwardly unexciting words that I’ll offer today as part of our etymological feast.

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V.S. Naipaul, Caribbean Writing, and Caribbean Thought by William Ghosh

Homi K. Bhabha on V.S. Naipaul: in conversation with William Ghosh

“Literature, we’re told, is the immortality of speech, but in fact reputations fade quickly.” In this OUPblog, read foundational figure in postcolonial theory, Homi K. Bhabha, in conversation with William Ghosh, author of V.S. Naipaul, Caribbean Writing, and Caribbean Thought (Oxford 2020).

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A Concise Guide to Communication in Science and Engineering

How research abstracts succeed and fail

The abstract of a research article has a simple remit: to faithfully summarize the reported research. After the title, it’s the most read section of the article. Crucially, it makes the case to the reader for reading the article in full. Alas, not all abstracts succeed.

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International Law

Mapping international law

The map highlights some fascinating examples of international law in action; examples across the globe examining how the law can, or cannot, be enforced across sovereign states.

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From Halloween to Thanksgiving

Both “thank” and “give” deserve our attention! And it is those two outwardly unexciting words that I’ll offer today as part of our etymological feast.

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Freedom girls: Voicing Femininity in 1960s British Pop

Voicing 1960s femininity: not just a “girl singer” [playlist]

“The disc charts cannot stand many girls, no matter how gorgeous they look,” claimed Beatles manager Brian Epstein in A Cellarful of Noise, his memoir of the 1960s. He was explaining why he’d only ever represented one female performer—Cilla Black. His justification falls back on the then-conventional wisdom that girl singers were an anomaly, were each other’s competitors, and that there wasn’t an audience for their work.

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Smashing the Liquor Machine

20 people you didn’t know were Prohibitionists

The full story of prohibition—one you’ve probably never been told—is perhaps one of the most broad-based and successful transnational social movements of the modern era. Discover 20 key figures from history that you didn’t know were prohibitionists.

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