Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Life lessons from Shakespeare and Marcus Aurelius

William Shakespeare and Marcus Aurelius (the great stoic philosopher and emperor) have more in common than you might think. They share a recorded birth-date, with Shakespeare baptized on 26 April 1564, and Marcus Aurelius born on 26 April 161 (Shakespeare’s actual birth date remains unknown, although he was baptised on 26 April 1564. His birth is traditionally observed and celebrated on 23 April, Saint George’s Day).

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So, you think you know Darwin?

Charles Darwin, the English naturalist, geologist, and biologist is known the world over for his contributions to the science of evolution, and his theory of natural selection. Described as one of the most influential figures in human history, his ideas have invited as much controversy as they have scientific debate, with religious, social, and cultural ramifications.

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Intercultural communication and considering a different perspective

With the ever-increasing rise of globalization, the need to communicate more effectively across cultures becomes all the more important. In a hyper-connected world, we need to learn how to better understand the perspectives of others, and how to make accommodations in conversations that support both parties being on the same page. Simply put, different cultures see things differently.

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Robert Penn Warren, Democracy and Poetry, and America after 2016

Born in 1905, Robert Penn Warren’s life spanned most of the twentieth century, and his work made him America’s foremost person of letters before his death in 1989. His literary prowess is evidenced by his many awards and honors that include three Pulitzer Prizes, one for fiction and two for poetry, so that Warren remains the only writer to have won them in these two major categories.

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The separation of church and state in the US

While contradictory in many respects, the principles of separation of church and state, cooperation between sacred and secular, religious equality in the treatment of religion, and the integration of religion and politics combine to provide unique but important contributions to American life. In the following excerpt, Derek H. Davis examines the relationship between law and religion in the United States.

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Earth Day 2017: reading for environmental & climate literacy

Earth Day is celebrated globally on 22 April in support of environmental protection. The theme for 2017’s Earth Day is “Environmental & Climate Literacy” – and we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate knowledge of the environment and climate than with a reading list. These books, chapters, and articles can add to your understanding of Earth through topics such as climate change, natural phenomena, and what practical steps are being taken to help protect our planet.

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Why do we love our pets so much?

Since time immemorial, humans have kept animals for companions. Pets are known to provide physical and emotional benefits, not only in terms of companionship, but also in terms of outdoor adventure, exercise, and socializing with other pet owners. As Sigmund Feud once said, “Time spent with cats is never wasted.” Dogs and cats have been particular favourites throughout the ages, with cats commonly thought to have been domesticated in ancient Egypt, and dogs from the time of the hunter-gatherers.

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The mountains are calling and we must act

Muir knew that the wilds surrounding him not only fed his soul but sustain us all. Too many of our current elected officials have forgotten his lesson. They seek to sell off our public lands throughout my western home to view them as little more than sources of oil and gas, and to strip federal oversight that has kept these lands there for all of us, generation after generation.

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The international protection of diplomatic and consular agents

On Monday 19 December 2016, President Vladimir Putin had made plans to attend Woe from Wit, a satirical comedy on post-Napoleonic Moscow. It was written in 1823, six years before its author – poet and diplomat Alexander Griboyedov – was murdered by a crowd of Islamic religious fanatics, when Ambassador to Persia.

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The modern marvel of medicine

So, where does the future lie in the specialty of anaesthesia? Equipment and monitoring will become more sophisticated with the ultimate aim to minimise harm to patients. It is likely that robotics will be integrated within the patient’s surgical pathway to reduce human error and optimise efficiency of care. Newer drugs will be synthesized with fewer adverse effects and complications.

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French hovels, slave cabins, and the limits of Jefferson’s eyes

Thomas Jefferson was a deliberate man and nothing escaped his attention. Jefferson’s eyes were powerful, lively, and penetrating. Testimonies swore that his eyes were nothing short of “the eye of an eagle.” He wore spectacles occasionally, especially for reading, but his eyes stood the test of time despite physiological decline.

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23 treaties of Utrecht that changed European history forever

11 April marks the 304th anniversary of the signing of the Peace of Utrecht by most of the representatives at the congress that convened to negotiate the terms that would end the War of the Spanish Succession. Or perhaps it should be 12 April. A few contemporaries alleged that the documents were backdated so that the ceremony would not fall on 1 April, or Fools’ Day, according to the old calendar.

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Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History

How simple, rural products changed Argentina’s history

With globalization and industrialization came both freedom and dependency, as Argentina shed the persistent stereotype that the country was simply a collection of farms and ranches. Rural and urban life blurred into a hybrid culture that thrived on export commodities and domestic consumption. To further illustrate how the urbanization of simple rural products shaped the culture and history of Argentina, we compiled some facts that help demonstrate how globalization had such an impact on Argentina from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th.

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How has Mexico influenced the United States economically?

While the current US administration is re-examining the North American Free Trade Agreement and finding issues with the trade deficit, it is worth considering the impact of trade between the United States and Mexico and examining the history between these two nations. In the following excerpt from the forthcoming 2nd edition of Mexico: What Everyone Needs to Know, Roderic Ai Camp explores how Mexico has contributed to the US economy in recent years.

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What if Peter Pan’s arch-enemy was a woman?

J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan; or The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up has exercised the popular imagination since its first performance in 1904. Yet not everyone is aware of Peter Pan’s stage history or the darker currents that underlie the apparently escapist story of Wendy Darling and her brothers flying away from their nursery to the “Never Land”, a fantasy world of make-believe and adventures with Captain Hook and his pirates.

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National Beer Day – who said what? [quiz]

National Beer Day is celebrated every year in the United States, on 7 April. It marks the day that the Cullen-Harrison Act came into force, after being signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 22 March 1933. Take this quiz to see how much you know about beer.

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