Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

The best strategies to prevent cancer

February 4th marks World Cancer Day and this year, the launch of a new three year campaign called “I Am and I Will,” led by the Union for International Cancer Control. The focus lies on emphasising the importance of each person’s role in the fight against cancer, and reinforcing that everyone has the power to reduce the […]

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The Treaty of Versailles: A Very Short Introduction

National self-determination was supposed to be the answer to the so-called “ethnic problem” of the 19th century. The prewar, multi-ethnic Russian, German, and Austro-Hungarian empires, all on the wrong side of history, had disappeared at the end of the First World War never to return.

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Based on a true story [podcast]

In the world of film, members of the audience perceive what they see on screen as realistic, even if what they’re seeing is not actually real. The role and influence of academic consultants has been debated as the impact of historical films in the lens of educating a populous is in question. On this episode, […]

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Raising daughters changes fathers’ views on gender roles

Researchers who have looked into attitudes towards gender are divided. While some posit that attitudes can change over the life course, others argue that they are formed before adulthood and remain fairly stable thereafter. We explored this question in greater detail by studying the effect of raising daughters on parental attitudes.

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The last shot at “robin”

What else is there to say about robin? Should I mention the fact that “two Robin Redbreasts built their nest within a hollow tree” and raised a family there?

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The challenges of representing history in comic book form

When I wrote my first graphic history, based on the 1876 court transcript of a West African woman who was wrongfully enslaved and took her case to court, in 2012, I received a diverse and gratifying range of feedback from my fellow historians. Their response was overwhelmingly but not universally positive.

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Why terminology and naming is so important in the LGBTQ community

It is imperative that we explore the evolution of queer identity with regard to mental health, detail experiences that foster resilience and stress-related growth among people, and examine what comes after marginalized sexual orientation and gender identity status is disentangled from their historical association with the concept of mental illness.

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Are our fantasies immune from morality?

Immoral fantasies are not uncommon, nor are they necessarily unhealthy. Some are silly and unrealistic, though others can be genuinely disturbing. You might fantasize about kicking your boss in the shins, or having an affair with your best friend’s spouse, or planning the perfect murder.

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A possible humble origin of “robin”

Some syllables seem to do more work than they should. For example, if you look up cob and its phonetic variants (cab ~ cub) in English dictionaries, you will find references to all kinds of big and stout things, round masses (lumps), and “head/top.”

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Philosopher of The Month: William James (timeline)

This January the OUP Philosophy team honours William James (1842-1910) as their Philosopher of the Month. James was the founder of pragmatism, an influential Harvard philosopher and scholar on religion and was arguably considered one of the dominant figures in psychology of his day, before Sigmund Freud.

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The rightful heirs to the British crown: Wales and the sovereignty of Britain

The dating and chronology of the tales are problematic – they were probably written down sometime during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, against a background which saw the Welsh struggling to retain their independence in the face of the Anglo-Norman conquest. Although Wales had not developed into a single kingship, it certainly was developing a shared sense of the past, and pride in a common descent from the Britons.

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What can history tell us about the future of international relations?

According to Cicero, history is the teacher of life (historia magistra vitae). But it seems fair to say that history has not been the teacher of International Relations. The study of international relations was born 100 years ago to make sense of the European international system, which had just emerged from four years of warfare.

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The robin and the wren

In Surrey (a county bordering London), and not only there, people used to say: “The robin and the wren are God’s cock and hen” (as though the wren were the female of the robin, but then the wren is indeed Jenny). In Wales, the wren is also considered sacred.

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The tortures of adapting Samuel Richardson’s ‘Pamela’

The term “bestseller” is a bit of a stretch for the eighteenth century, when books were expensive (though widely shared), and information about print-runs is hard to come by. But if any early novel deserves the title, it’s Samuel Richardson’s Pamela, which on publication in 1740 rapidly caught the imagination of Britain, Europe, and indeed America (the Philadelphia printing by Benjamin Franklin was the first unabridged American edition of any novel).

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Music in history: overcoming historians’ reluctance to tackle music as a source

Music histories like these do not offer anything as technical as a musicological analysis, yet they treat music as much more than a soundtrack. They delve deeply into the stylistic attributes, technological production and commercial distribution of music, while situating it within broader contexts shaped by migration, empire, and war, as well as by racial, ethnic, and gender hierarchy.

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