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A note of thanks, a dose of sanity

2016 has had far more than its share of horribleness. Many of us are ready to leave this year far behind, even as we’re terrified of what the coming years may bring. At a time when many people are being told that their voices and lives don’t matter, we think oral historians have a vital role to play in amplifying silenced voices and helping us all imagine a better future.

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Fostering friendly relations between Hitler’s Germany and Franco’s Spain through music

As the Wehrmacht launched its offensive on the USSR in summer 1941, a contingent of Spanish musicians and critics travelled to Bad Elster, on the border between Bavaria and Bohemia. In the spa town, they took part in the first of three Hispanic-German music festivals held during the Second World War aimed at fostering cultural and political understanding between both countries.

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9780198725862

Disease prevention: helping health professionals

A new controversy about “how to stay well” hits the media at least once a week. Recent examples include: disease prevention claims made for various “healthy foods;” proposed policies to tackle the obesity pandemic, such as sugar or soda taxes; the benefits versus risks of long-term statins in healthy persons; the value of prostate cancer screening; and the accuracy of new genetic tests to predict future disease.

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Combatting antibiotic resistance

Antibiotic resistance continues to pose a major threat to public health. Wrong or incorrect use of antibiotics may cause bacteria to become resistant to future antibiotic treatments, leading to the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance in European hospitals and communities. European Antibiotic Awareness Day is held on the 18 November each year

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Trump: An (im)probable victory

As Americans adjust to the idea of President Donald Trump, many are looking at the electoral process to ask how this result came about. The 2016 American presidential election has been characterized as like none other in the nation’s history. In some senses the election was unique; for instance, Donald Trump will be the first President to assume office without ever having held a public office or having served in the military.

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Translating Hobson City

Crossing the train track from the predominantly white Anniston into the historically black Hobson City, Alabama, I immediately noticed the significant changes in environment and people. It was not until I exited my car and physically inserted myself into the Hobson City community that I learned that there was much more to this small town than what initially met my eyes.

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Three centuries of the American presidency

The United States and its Constitution are now in their third century. The passage from each century to the next has been eventful. This review suggests an important lesson in considering the presidency in the twenty-first century: Events, the issues they generate, and the people who serve are normally more important than reforms in explaining change. Neustadt again: “The presidency nowadays [has] a different look.”

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The evolution of human memory

Like all biological traits, human memory reflects a long evolutionary history, most of it shared with other animals. Yet, with rare exceptions, evolution has either been overlooked in discussions of memory or treated in an outdated way. As a result, a simple idea about the cerebral cortex has reigned for more than a century: that its various areas specialize in functions characterized as memory, perception, the control of movement, or executive control (mainly decision-making).

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Making Connections at #OHA2016

In the words of our very own Troy Reeves, the OHA Annual Meeting offers a “yearly dose of sanity.” Whether you’re reading this while waiting for one of the panels to start, sitting this one out, or reflecting back on the excitement of the meeting later, we want to bring you a little taste of the fun. Below you can hear from a handful of oral historians on why they love the OHA Annual Meeting, as well as a look at social media activity during the conference.

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The different faces of Taliban jihad in Pakistan

All simplistic hypothesis about “what drives terrorists” falter when there is suddenly in front of you human faces and complex life stories. The tragedy of contemporary policies designed to handle or rather crush movements who employ terrorist tactics, are prone to embrace a singular explanation of the terrorist motivation, disregarding the fact that people can be in the very same movement for various reasons.

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Racing towards OHA2016 in Long Beach, the “International City”

As has become OHR tradition, we have enlisted the help of a local to serve as a guide to the upcoming OHA Annual meeting in beautiful Long Beach, California. Below, Mark Garcia shares some of the city’s fascinating history, as well as his personal recommendations for oral historians who want to venture out and see some of what the city has to offer.

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Why are Americans addicted to polls?

Before going into battle, Roman generals would donate a goat to their favorite god and ask their neighborhood temple priest to interpret a pile of pigeon poop to predict if they would take down the Greeks over on the next island. Americans in the nineteenth century had fortune tellers read their hands read and phrenologists check out the bumps on their heads. Statistics came along by the late 1800s, then “scientific polls” which did something similar.

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Video didn’t kill the radio star – she’s hosting a podcast

Podcasters P.J. Vogt, host of Reply All, and Starlee Kine, host of Mystery Show, addressed sold-out sessions at the Sydney Writers’ Festival last month, riding the wave of popularity engendered by Serial, the 2014 US true crime podcast series whose 100 million downloads galvanised the audio storytelling world.

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The profanity of disease

Over spring break, I spent a day in Tombstone, Arizona. This is the town where, if you don’t know the story, Wyatt Earp and his brothers, accompanied by their friend Doc Holliday, had a shootout with a group of cattle rustlers at the OK Corral. Though the Earp brothers wore the badges, when the tale is told the hero is usually Doc Holliday—noted gambler, crack shot, prodigious drinker

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