Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

What kind of encore do you want?

The bonus years of extended life expectancy are not coming at the end of life, adding to years of disability and decline, but rather, in the expanding period of health and vitality around the 60s and 70s, but coming earlier or later for some. The new longevity is advantageous to individuals, but costly to society. It is distinct from both full-time career employment and full-time retirement leisure.

Read More

At bay: where is that bay?

To keep somebody or something at bay means “to keep a dangerous opponent at a distance; to hold off, ward off a disaster, etc.” The very first interpreters of this idiom guessed its origin correctly. They stated that bay here means “to bark” and that at bay refers to hunting.

Read More

Is child poverty in rich countries exacerbated by the economic crisis?

The 2008 financial crisis triggered the first contraction of the world economy in the post-war era. Amid falling wages and increasing unemployment, government capacity to address worsening social conditions was often constrained by mounting deficits, with social protection systems under threat when they were most needed. Children and young people, already at a greater risk of poverty than the population as a whole.

Read More

What the WannaCry attack means for all of us

As the aftershocks of last week’s big “WannaCry” cyberattack reverberate, it’s worth taking a moment to think about what it all means. First, ransomware is a growing menace, and this may be the case that gets it global attention. The idea behind ransomware is simple: no one is willing to pay as much as you for your data. Instead of copying critical data and trying to sell it to others, ransomware authors will simply deny their target access until payment is made.

Read More

Friends with benefits?

Before Theresa May decided to go to the country, the election result many observers of UK politics were most looking forward to was the outcome of ‘super-union’ Unite’s bitter leadership contest between the incumbent, Len McCluskey, and his challenger, Gerard Coyne – a contest which, rightly or wrongly, had been viewed through the prism of its potential impact on the Labour Party.

Read More

The mixed messages teens hear about sex and how they matter

Although they start having sex at similar ages to teens in many other developed countries, US teens’ rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), pregnancies, abortions, and births are unusually high. Besides high levels of socioeconomic inequality, a major reason is their inconsistent use of contraceptive methods and low uptake of highly effective contraception.

Read More

How does international human rights law apply during armed conflict?

The Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) is the law (by treaty or custom) that regulates the means and methods used in the conduct of armed hostilities. In this video, Daragh Murray, editor of the Practitioners’ Guide to Human Rights Law in Armed Conflict, talks about international human rights law in armed conflict.

Read More

Photographer Helen Muspratt through the eyes of her daughter

Helen Muspratt (1905–2001) was a pioneering photographer. Her unique techniques with different forms of exposure made her a driving force in naturalistic portraiture and social documentation. Throughout her illustrious career, Helen photographed the likes of Dorothy Hodgkin, Nobel Prize winning chemist; Roger Fry and Julian Bell of the Bloomsbury Group; painter Paul Nash; journalist Alistair Cooke; and many others.

Read More

The role of women in the life of Frederick Douglass

Although Frederick Douglass captures his journey into freedom and political influence in his autobiographies, he reveals little about his private life. Douglass’s carefully crafted public persona concealed a man whose life was more complicated than he would have liked us to think. Women played key roles in guiding him throughout his turbulent life—from helping him escape slavery to solidifying his role as an abolitionist and suffragist.

Read More

George Washington: the great mind behind early America

Throughout history, George Washington has been highly regarded for his common sense and military fortitude. When it comes to the Founding Fathers, his intellectual pursuits have been overshadowed by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton—who are conventionally considered the great minds of early America. Despite his relative lack of formal education, Washington remained an avid reader throughout his life.

Read More

Ottonian queenship: powerful women in early medieval Germany

In 2008, archaeologists working on the cathedral at Magdeburg, in eastern Germany, opened an ancient tomb and rediscovered the bones of an Anglo-Saxon princess called Edith. She had died in the year 946, aged only about 30. Her remains were brought across the North Sea for scientific tests which verified the identification via tests on her tooth enamel, indicating that the bones belonged to someone who had grown up drinking water from the chalky landscapes of southern Britain.

Read More

American healthcare: are you an expert? [Quiz]

As technology and education become more broadly accessible, people are being exposed to more information than ever before. It’s easier than ever to choose convenience over reliability or accuracy—to search for symptoms on WebMD instead of asking a doctor, or consult Wikipedia for definitive answers to every question. All this newly accessible yet unreliable information has produced a wave of ill-informed and angry citizens.

Read More

Punishing Peccadilloes? Illicit sex at the early Stuart courts

At the Tudor and early Stuart royal courts, the careers of influential politicians and courtiers often depended on the preferences of the monarchs: being in the king’s good graces often mattered as much or more for advancements than ability and training. The personality and quirks of the rulers affected many aspects of a courtier’s life, including what today might be considered the most private: their sex lives.

Read More

What to do with a simple-minded ruler: a medieval solution

The thirteenth century saw the reigns of several rulers ill-equipped for the task of government, decried not as tyrants but incompetents. Sancho II of Portugal (1223–48), his critics said, let his kingdom fall to ruin on account of his “idleness,” “timidity of spirit,” and “simplicity”. The last term, simplex, could mean straightforward, but here it meant only simple-minded, foolish, stupid.

Read More

Which fictional detective are you?

The classic Golden Age of Detective Fiction in the 1920s and 30s brought us such legendary characters as Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, and detective stories on page and screen have kept audiences guessing ever since.

Read More