Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Oral disease or random object? [quiz]

How can medical professionals tell whether individuals have a disease? The simple answer is that body tissues are examined under the microscope, but the long answer involves reams of research and hours of study and intense examination.

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The multifaceted art of lying

In 1882, Mark Twain gave a short speech titled “On the Decay of the Art of Lying,” not his best or wittiest. I assume that Oscar Wilde did not miss the published text of that speech, for seven years later, he brought out  a kind of treatise in the form of a dialogue with a similar title, namely, “The Decay of Lying—An Observation,” one of his most powerful and brilliant (as always, too brilliant) essays.  

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Democracy and political violence: the case of France

Does democratic politics eliminate political violence? Are citizens of a democracy prepared to resolve their political differences solely at the ballot box? The fighting at Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017 suggests that these are questions as relevant today as at the highpoint of European political confrontation during the interwar years.

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Editing The Scarlet Pimpernel

Baroness Orczy’s Scarlet Pimpernel (1905) is one of those popular novels that we tend to assume we already know without having read it. This tale of the French Revolution has been adapted many, many times, for the stage, small and large screens, and radio, and it has been frequently parodied over the decades, most famously, perhaps, by the Carry On team with Don’t Lose Your Head (aka Carry on Pimpernel).

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The Geneva Conventions and the minimum standards of humanity

On the occasion of World Humanitarian Day, it seems appropriate to look to the basic principles of humanitarian law, which show what is always unacceptable. Prior to 1949, there was little international humanitarian law applicable to non-international armed conflicts, although such conflicts were becoming increasingly prevalent and overtaking their international counterparts.

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The vocation of youth

We all benefit when young people understand their strengths and talents and use these to make the world a better place through direct action, service, and leadership. We use the idea of vocation to describe this process of them coming to understand their strengths and talents and how these can be applied to address issues they care about in their community.

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Seven myths about feigning

Defendants may feign psychiatric disorders to reduce their criminal responsibility. From its detection and prevalence, to its connections with psychopathy, this extract from Finding Truth in the Courtroom debunks seven common myths about feigning, and why people do it.  

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The shortest history of hatred: Part 1

It would be unwise to leave the topic of emotions (see the posts on anger, dread, and fear), without saying something about hate and hatred. Although hate refers to intense dislike, it is curious to observe how diluted the word has become: today we can hate orange juice, a noisy neighbor, even our own close relative, and of course we hate not finding the objects we have mislaid. For some reason, to dislike, have little regard for, and resent are not enough for expressing our dissatisfaction.

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Understanding academic impact: fear and failure, stealth and seeds

Failure is an unavoidable element of any academic career. For all but a small number of ‘superstar über-scholars’, most of the research papers we submit will be rejected, our most innovative book proposals will be politely rebuffed and our applications for grants, prizes and fellowships will fall foul of good fortune.

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The Little Red Book vs. the Big White Book

There are some similarities between former Chairman of the Communist Party of China Mao Zedong’s most famous book, Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong (“The Little Red Book”) and current General Secretary Xi Jinping’s The Governance of China (“Big White Book”)—the second installment of which came out last year, each volume the same cream color and featuring the same photograph of the author.

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Medical education and the good doctor

“Ahhhhh” moans a 16-year-old girl, her face contorted in pain as she lies on a stretcher in a busy emergency room corridor. Her distress is elicited by gentle prods to her abdomen by a young surgeon summoned by the ER staff.

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Why I Oppose the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact

Connecticut, where I live, is the most recent state to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. The Nutmeg State was wrong to join this Compact, designed to ensure that the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote also wins in the Electoral College.

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Studying law in the UK: Are you ready?

Your favourite club at school was the debating society, and you managed to negotiate an increase in pocket money as a teenager – it was obvious you were going to study law. But how much do you really know about studying for a law degree in the UK? How many people apply? And what pathways […]

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Celebrating Emily Brontë

Only one birthday is “celebrated” in Wuthering Heights. It doesn’t go well. The young Catherine Linton begins her 16th birthday with a modestly optimistic plan to buck the established family pattern of solitary mourning to mark the date when she came into the world (“a puny, seven months child”), but her mother died two hours later.

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Are you a forensic psych expert?

The moment a defendant walks into a courtroom, everyone is trying to get in their head to figure out if they actually committed the crime, and what could have driven them to the act. That’s why expert testimony from mental health experts can be critical for juries, especially in high-profile cases. Do you think you […]

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Etymology gleanings for July 2018

Work on a project for reformed spelling is underway (under way). Three comments and letters have come to my notice. Masha Bell called our attention to useful and useless double letters. No doubt, account and arrive do not need their cc and rr, and I am all for abolishing them. I won’t live long enough to see acquire spelled as akwire, but perhaps aquire will satisfy future generations?

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