Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Why do girls outperform boys on reading tests around the world?

All around the world, girls outperform boys on reading tests. Why is this? In and outside of academia, people have been concerned about girls’ under-performance in math, or more generally: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). There have been fewer academic studies and media coverage about boys’ under-performance in reading. This is surprising, since it might offer an explanation for boys’ lagging educational attainment today.

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Three big threats to wildlife in 2019

Our Planet, Netflix’s new nature documentary voiced by David Attenborough, arrives on the online streaming platform today. The series explores the wonders of the natural world, focusing on iconic species and stunning wildlife spectacles.

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Does gender bias influence how people assess children’s pain?

A recently published paper in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology has attracted much media attention for its analysis of a subject that has long been debated: how do our beliefs about male-female differences influence our decision-making? Specifically, do our beliefs about the pain expressions of boys and girls influence our assessment of their pain experience? The authors found that when adult […]

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Perchance to dream? Ay, there’s the rub

It turned out that the melancholy idiom send one to Coventry may not have anything to do with that town. To reinforce this unexpected conclusion, I’ll relate another story. At one time, the phrase up at Harwich existed; perhaps it is still known in the eastern counties.

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How to really build a better economy

Through our tax and spending policies, we can expand our economy or let it wither; make society more equal, or less; expand opportunity or continue to let tens of millions of struggling families fend for themselves. There is a way to pay for the government that people want, and shape that government and the economy in ways that serve us all.

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What can we learn from meme culture?

If you go on-line, the chances are that you have encountered memes. What exactly is a meme? Some people take memes to be simply images with added text. The artist Barbara Kruger is often cited as a pre-internet forerunner of this practice.

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From orientalism to ornamentalism

Recently, the Metropolitan Museum of Art hosted an exhibit called China Through the Looking Glass. The exhibition’s spectacular and unabashed display of Orientalist commodification and appropriation charmed many and repelled others. The exhibition, extended months beyond its original schedule due to its enormous popularity, reminds us how enduring the so-called Asian fetish still is in western culture and how […]

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New ways to think about Autism and why it matters

What’s wrong with using the word “spectrum” to describe autism? Perhaps some would suggest that the precise terminology used for referring to these medical conditions is relatively unimportant. In fact, the current terminology facilitates views that distort or oversimplify reality and may be causing harm.

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Celebrating notable women in philosophy: Philippa Foot

This March, in honour of Women’s History Month, and in celebration of the achievements and contributions of women to the field of philosophy, the OUP philosophy team honours Philippa Foot (1920–2010) as its Philosopher of the Month. Philippa Foot is widely regarded as one of the most distinctive and influential moral philosophers of the twentieth-century.

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What Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel tells us about women’s music

Everyone loves a good plot twist. And what better plot twist than finding out that a work of art, scientific discovery, or other creation was the achievement not of a well-known man, but rather a woman? Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel was a talented composer of the early 19th century who worked mostly in private. As an upper-class woman with […]

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Perchance to dream? Part 1

It turned out that the melancholy idiom send one to Coventry may not have anything to do with that town. To reinforce this unexpected conclusion, I’ll relate another story. At one time, the phrase up at Harwich existed; perhaps it is still known in the eastern counties.

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Social Work

The myth of a color-blind justice system in America

Ever wonder why Lady Justice looks the way she does? She is modeled after the Roman goddess Iustitia and is an allegorical personification of the justice system. She is usually depicted with a scale in one hand, a sword in the other, and wearing a blindfold. Why? Well, she is to use the scale to weigh the evidence.

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