Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

The Rules of Rescue

When can you refuse to rescue?

At what point are you morally permitted to refuse to rescue distant strangers? How much must you give over the course of your life? Theron Pummer explores these extremely difficult questions.

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Leonardo's Salvator Mundi and the Collecting of Leonardo in the Stuart Courts

Salvator Mundi: poor picture, poor Leonardo

What does “SM” stand for in the context of Leonardo da Vinci? Our visual engagement with the painting has been skewed by fictionalised stories, lurid journalism, and attributional vitriol. For me, SM now stands for “Sensationalised Mess.” How the painting actually works as a devotional image, what it means, and how it embodies Leonardo’s science and art have become lost.

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Word Origins

In one’s stockinged feet

One does not need to be an etymologist to suggest that stocking consists of “stock-” and “-ing”. The trouble is that though “-ing” occurs in some nouns, it looks odd in stocking. Few English words have more seemingly incompatible senses than stock.

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Publishing 101

Is publishing sustainable?

The shift from print publishing toward digital publishing brings environmental benefits that will help to reduce publishing’s contribution to the climate and nature emergencies.

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Emperors and Usurpers in the Later Roman Empire

Civil war and the end of the Roman Empire

Adrastos Omissi argues that the collapse of the West Roman Empire in the fifth century AD was caused not, primarily, by invasions of external “barbarians” from Germanic Europe, but was rather a product of the endemic civil wars that sprang up in the Roman Empire from the third century AD onwards.

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Gobal Tantra

Modern tantra and the global history of religion

For good reasons, tantra often stands at the center of debates about cultural appropriation and the commodification of religious practices. Through nineteenth-century orientalist studies and missionary polemics, it became associated with sexual licentiousness and abhorrent rituals before it was refashioned as a way to sexual liberation and individual freedom.

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The Virgin of the Seven Daggers and Other Stories by Vernon Lee

Vernon Lee, history, and horror

Some of the most acclaimed films to come out of the horror mini-boom of the past decade mix history and horror in disconcerting ways. Of course, these are not the first scary movies or stories do this. But when, and how, did horror first get historical?

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LGBT Victorians: Sexuality and Gender in the Nineteenth-Century Archives

LGBTQ+ Victorians in the archives

The first challenge that confronts researching LGBTQ+ Victorians in the archives is the question: where to look? Simon Joyce explores how to access more accurate, reliable information about LGBTQ+ Victorians.

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Mussolini in Myth and Memory

The March on Rome: commemoration or celebration?

Throughout Europe reaction to the March on Rome was, inevitably, mixed, with some appalled by the violence and the total disregard the fascists showed for parliamentary politics, while others—such as those among British conservative opinion—thought that the fascist government would bring much-needed “order” to what they condescendingly saw as typically Mediterranean chaos. Many right-wing European politicians looked on Mussolini and to his mode of achieving power with admiration. One man in particular was greatly impressed by the March on Rome and even hoped to emulate it. This was Adolf Hitler.

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Oxford Academic

Transparency in open access at OUP

As a not-for-profit university press which publishes over 75% of its journals on behalf of scholarly societies and other organisations, OUP is committed to a transparent approach to OA. The transition to OA can appear opaque, steeped in jargon and complexity, and we see a major part of our role in the move to OA as being as open and clear as possible.

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The neuroscience of consciousness by the Oxford Comment podcast

Egyptology at the turn of the century [podcast]

On November 1, 1922 Egyptologist Howard Carter and his team of excavators began digging in a previously undisturbed plot of land in the Valley of the Kings. For decades, archaeologists had searched for the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun with no success, and that November was to be Carter’s final attempt to locate the lost treasures. What Carter ultimately discovered—the iconic sarcophagus, the mummy that inspired whispers of a curse, and the thousands of precious artifacts—would shape Egyptian politics, the field of archaeology, and how museums honor the past for years to come.

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The London Restaurant, 1840-1914

COVID-19 and the London restaurant: a Victorian perspective

The last two years have proved the restaurant business is nothing if not adaptable. In my residential London neighbourhood, a popular Indian restaurant quickly moved to take-away meals once the first wave of the pandemic hit, a pattern many other businesses followed in a fight for survival. Theirs is a small-scale, family operation; factors that […]

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Orwell & Empire

The Mahatma and the Policeman: how did George Orwell view Gandhi?

George Orwell served for five years in the 1920s as an officer in the Imperial Police in Burma, at that time part of the British Raj. He was to write about the Empire as an unjustifiable despotism. Mahatma Gandhi did more than anyone else to bring about the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947, the first step in the dismantling of the Empire. Orwell should have seen Gandhi as a comrade in arms, a fellow anti-imperialist, even a hero. Instead he speaks of Gandhi with suspicion, hostility, irritation, and ” sort of aesthetic distaste.” Why?

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