Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Reflections on the Teflon king, Charlemagne

Few historical figures have been as universally acclaimed as Charlemagne. Born on 2 April, probably in 748, he became sole king of the Franks in 771 and Emperor in 800. Charlemagne was always very careful to polish his own image. Official writing, like the Royal Frankish Annals, omits or misrepresents delicate events and glosses over military defeats.

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Ten facts about children’s literature

Most of us have a favourite story, or selection of stories, from our childhood. Perhaps they were read to us as we drifted off to sleep, or they were read aloud to the family in front of an open fire, or maybe we read them ourselves by the light of a torch when we were supposed to be sleeping. No matter where you read them, or who read them to you, the characters (and their stories) often stick with you forever.

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César Chávez would oppose Trump’s border policies

Donald Trump ran for the US presidency on the backs of undocumented immigrants, particularly those from Mexico, calling them criminals and promising to build a border wall across the entire length of the United States-Mexico border to keep them out. As Trump issues executive orders and unveils his Congressional proposals for immigration enforcement as an integral part of his initial “100-day action plan,” that timeline intersects with what would have been the 90th birthday of labor rights champion César Chávez on 31 March 2017.

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Self-portraits of the playwright as an aging man [part three]

In the late 1970s, Tennessee Williams frequently visited London, feeling that European stages were more catholic than New York’s and thus open to producing his plays at a time when America was growing less tolerant of his brand of theatre. While in London, Williams would often visit celebrity painter Michael Garady and swap writing for painting lessons.

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Self-portraits of the playwright as a middle-aged man [part two]

When Tennessee Williams swapped his pen for a paintbrush, his tendency to use his lived experiences as source material did not alter much. He often painted places he’d seen, people he knew, or compositions he conjured up in the limekiln of his imagination. Although Williams painted more frequently later in life, precisely as a creative outlet when his brand of theatre was no longer in vogue, he had started sketching and painting from a very early age. To follow his career as a painter is, to a large extent, to trace his life’s alterations, physically, of course, but also emotionally.

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The significance of the Russian Revolution for the 21st century

The year 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, one of seminal events of the 20th century. The Russian Revolution “shook the world,” as the radical American journalist John Reed so aptly put it, because it led to the establishment of the Soviet Union, the world’s first socialist and totalitarian society.

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Self-portraits of the playwright as a young man [part one]

Are today’s selfies simply yesterday’s self-portraits? Is there really that vast of an epistemological chasm between Kim Kardashian’s photos of herself on a bloated Instagram account and the numerous self-portraits of Rembrandt or Van Gogh hanging in art museums and galleries around the world? Aren’t they all really just products of their respective eras’ “Je selfie, donc je suis” culture, with perhaps only technological advances (and, admittedly, talent) separating them?

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J. L. Austin, “Other Minds,” and the goldfinch

J. L. Austin was born on 26 March 1911. He was twenty-eight when the Second World War began, and served in the British Intelligence Corps. It has been said that, “he more than anybody was responsible for the life-saving accuracy of the D-Day intelligence” (Warnock 1963: 9). He was honoured for his intelligence work with an Order of the British Empire, the French Croix de Guerre, and the U.S. Officer of the Legion of Merit.

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Encyclopedia of Social Work

What is social justice?

Notions of social justice generally embrace values such as the equal worth of all citizens, their equal right to meet their basic needs, the need to spread opportunity and life chances as widely as possible, and finally, the requirement that we reduce and, where possible, eliminate unjustified inequalities. The following excerpt explores the meanings and principles of social justice from a political, philosophical, and social worker perspective.

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Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication

Hofstede’s cultural dimensions and differences across cultures

Geert Hofstede, in his pioneer study looking at differences in culture across modern nations, identified four dimensions of cultural values: individualism-collectivism, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, and masculinity-femininity. Working with researcher Michael Bond, Hofstede later added a fifth dimension with called dynamic Confucianism, or long-term orientation. Utilizing these interpretative frameworks leads to a greater understanding of ourselves and others.

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Facts about sanitation and wastewater management

After oxygen, fresh, clean water is the most basic requirement for the majority of life on Earth in order to survive. However, this is a true luxury that isn’t accessible for many millions of people around the world. Today hundreds of thousands of people die every year from these types of waterborne diseases, and even though these numbers are declining there is still work to be done.

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S. M. Lipset and the fragility of democracy

Seymour Martin Lipset passed away eleven years ago. If he had lived, he would have celebrated his 95th birthday on 18 March. Today, his prolific scholarship remains as timely and influential as when he was an actively engaged author. Google Scholar reports 13,808 citations between 2012 and the beginning of 2017. All of Lipset’s papers have been collected at the Library of Congress and soon will be available to researchers.

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Trump in Wonderland

Four days after Donald Trump’s inauguration, an unlikely novel reached the top of Amazon’s bestseller list. It was not the latest potboiler by John Grisham, Stephen King, or any other likely suspect. Topping the list on 24 January was 1984, George Orwell’s 68-year-old masterpiece about a dystopian society in which the ruling authorities routinely alter the meanings of words and facts to suit their own purposes.

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Celebrating and learning from Philip Roth’s America

n March 19th, Philip Roth will celebrate his 84th birthday. Although Roth retired from publishing new writing as of late 2012 (and retired from all interviews and public appearances in May 2014), the legacy of his more than fifty-year career remains vibrant and vital. And indeed, celebrating Roth’s works and achievements can also remind us of the many lessons his literary vision of America has to offer our 21st century national community and future.

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Test your general knowledge about sleep

Sleep is defined as “a periodic state of muscular relaxation, reduced metabolic rate, and suspended consciousness in which a person is largely unresponsive to events in the environment”. It comes easily to some, and much harder (sometimes impossible) to others, but we all need it in order to function day-to-day. Not only is it required to stay healthy, it also allows a space for our brains to think out problems whilst we doze.

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