Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

9780190228705

It’s time to talk about power, part I

Immediately after the 2016 election, defenders of the Electoral College repeated the standard laudatory claims about its value everywhere. In these arguments, the Electoral College is one of the many features of our Constitution that effectively neutralizes power by balancing the rights of the minority against those of the majority. But this conventional view is simply wrong.

Read More
9780198790990

Lord Mansfield, the transvestite Chevalier d’Eon, and privacy

It is elementary that judges must adjudicate fairly between the litigants making and defending a claim. For this judges are helped by the litigants and their advocates. But judges must also be fair to witnesses, and to third parties who may be affected by a trial, even if they are not present. For this judges are on their own. Aggrieved litigants have clear rights of appeal. If witnesses or third parties are aggrieved, it may be much more difficult for judges, first to appreciate that fact in good time, and then, to find a remedy.

Read More
9780190468903

How to write dialogue

I’m sitting at my computer early in the morning and my wife walks in. “Good morning,” she says. “Is there any more coffee?” I nod. “Do you want some?” I answer. “I’ll get it,” she says. “What are you working on?” “A blog post on dialogue,” I reply sleepily. “Good luck,” she laughs, heading for the kitchen. That’s pretty bad dialogue. It has no apparent purpose and too many words: adverbs like sleepily, redundant dialogue tags like answer, reply, and laughs, and nothing that really advances a plot or develops a character.

Read More
9780198714750

The nature of addictive disorders

What are addictive disorders? Are they indeed disorders? The nature of problematic psychoactive substance use continues to be a matter of controversy among the public and politicians; even among health professionals there is little consensus. Some have a view that repeated use of a substance (or gambling or gaming) represents personal choice (a “free-will decision”) even when problems are occurring.

Read More
libraries

Spice up your readers’ advisory with “Blind Date with a Book”

Readers’ advisory librarians are the ultimate literary matchmakers. We listen to our patrons, get to know their interests, set them up with a book, and hope they hit it off. If we do our jobs effectively, our patrons will fall in love with multiple partners. And they’ll keep coming back for more. “Blind Date with a Book” offers librarians the perfect way to showcase our readers’ advisory services.

Read More
9780190620295

Deconstructing pseudoscience

Can magicians (illusionists) really levitate themselves and others or bend spoons using only the power of their mind? No. Emphatically no. But they surely make it seem as if they can. Enjoy being fooled? Then you’ll love watching really good magic shows that allow people the opportunity to suspend their disbelief momentarily. But don’t let this suspension become permanent.

Read More
9780198744450_450

The curious tale of Roman emperors as judges

The first dynasty of Roman emperors, collectively known as the Julio-Claudians, knew how to make headlines. From the frequent accounts by contemporary and later writers of their use of torture, rape, and murder to the more recherché ways of humiliation and abuse such as seeking to appoint a horse as consul (as the historian Cassius Dio says of Caligula), there is little to suggest that the administration of justice was very high on their agenda.

Read More
9780190640446

Creative destruction and corporate becoming: how important is a CEO?

While today’s business media (and business schools) are much enamored with Silicon Valley-style start-up entrepreneurship, only those startups able to grow into large, complex enterprises (e.g., Google, Facebook, Linkedin, Netflix) materially impact the evolution of the global industrial system. The average lifespan of such large, complex enterprises, however, is on the decline.

Read More
9780198728689_450

What is new about Roman law?

Aside from the field of history itself, few disciplines routinely reach out to texts dating back several millennia to reassess fundamental issues. Theology is one, for obvious reasons. Another is philosophy, where the texts of Plato or Aristotle, not to mention more obscure writers, routinely warrants attention. In legal scholarship, a similar foundational position is held by Roman law.

Read More
Communication in Oncology and Palliative Care

Communication in cancer care

Ask anyone about their experience with their own or a loved one’s cancer, and the response will likely include a story or remark about an oncologist, surgeon, nurse, or other health care provider. These are often positive stories: the oncologist who remembered a child’s birthday, the nurse who stayed after his shift to wait with an elderly patient until her daughter arrived to pick her up, or the surgeon who attended a husband’s funeral.

Read More
Image copyright Oxford University Press / J Butson

Uncovering the story of Percy Grainger’s wine glasses

It is a curious fact that hidden away in the sheet music archive here in Oxford, we have a set of three wine glasses dating back to the 1930s stored in a dusty old suitcase with luggage tags attached, that rarely sees the light of day. We did some research to uncover the history behind the glasses.

Read More
9780198789291_450

The European Left’s legacy of nationalism

Since the end of the Second World War, it’s been difficult to talk about nationalism in Europe as a force of progress. Nationalism, which seemed to reach its logical conclusion in violent fascism, has appeared anathema to liberalism, socialism, and other ideologies rooted in the Enlightenment. It’s been seen as the natural enemy of tolerance, multiculturalism, and internationalism.

Read More
Kenny

After Brexit: the English question surfaces?

“Will the Prime Minister provide a commitment today that no part of the great repeal bill will be subject to English votes for English laws?” This seemingly technical query – will have reminded Theresa May that, amidst the turmoil and drama of the current political moment, a powerful English question is now salient in British politics. But these questions of parliamentary procedure and tactics are really the tip of the iceberg.

Read More
9780195387070

Face to face with brash: part 2

James Murray showed great caution in his discussion of the Modern English words spelled and pronounced as brash (see Part I of this essay). It remains unclear how many of them are related. One of the homonyms seems to go back to French, but even that word is of Germanic origin.

Read More
9780190239855

Is God on Facebook? [excerpt]

From the moment Jennifer sits down for our interview, I know I’m in for a treat. She’s a bright, bubbly senior at a conservative, southern, Christian university. A pretty redhead with freckles, she talks enthusiastically about all the things she loves about her studies, her experience at college (she’s made two “lifelong friends,” she immediately tells me), and how, during her four years here, she’s been “pushed in the best of ways.”

Read More
9780190608866

A desperate gamble

“It’s a joke as far as I’m concerned.” George Carney paused to sip his beer. It was early in the afternoon on 3 August, 2016, at the Rock Island Boat Club, a little tavern behind a levee on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River. The election was still three months away and the displaced factory worker, a two-time Obama voter, was mulling his options. “Hillary is a compulsive liar and Trump thinks this is a game show.”

Read More