Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

A mild case of etymological calf love

As far as I can judge, the origin of “calf”, the animal, contains relatively few riddles, and in this blog, I prefer not to repeat what can be found in solid dictionaries and on reliable websites. But there is a hitch in relation to the frolicsome calf, the lower leg. That is why I decided to give calf a chance…

Read More
The Changing Energy Mix

The economic and environmental case for electric vehicles

Electricity generation comes from many energy sources, including fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal, nuclear energy, and a variety of renewable sources such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, and biomass. For the transportation sector, however, energy comes primarily from crude oil.

Read More
Oxford African American Studies Center

Women & Literature: Maya Angelou

Angelou’s creative talent and genius cut across many arenas. One of the most celebrated authors in the United States, Angelou wrote with an honesty and grace that captured the specificity of growing up a young black girl in the rural South.

Read More

Understanding un-

Recently I had occasion to use the word unsaid, as in what goes unsaid. Looking at that phrase later, I began to ponder the related verb unsay, which means something different.

Read More
Oxford African American Studies Center

Women & Literature: Zora Neale Hurston

Susan Butterworth discusses the life and legacy of Zora Neale Hurston. A vibrant figure of the Harlem Renaissance, a fertile interpreter of black folklore, and a lyrical writer – Hurston had a fascinating career. By the time of her death however, she had sadly disappeared into poverty and obscurity.

Read More
What Everyone Needs to Know

What everyone needs to know about 2020

Across the globe, 2020 has proved to be one of the most tumultuous years in recent memory. From COVID-19 to the US Election, gain insight into some of the many events of 2020 with our curated reading list from the What Everyone Needs to Know® series.

Read More
Oxford African American Studies Center

Women & Literature: Alice Walker

Like all of her heroines, Alice Walker is herself an agent of change. Walker once said that the best role model is someone who is always changing. Instead of desiring a long shelf life, Walker asserts that she wants to remain fresh. This commitment to fluidity and evolution characterizes both her life and her work.

Read More
Oxford African American Studies Center

Women & Literature: Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison occupies a central place in the literature of twentieth-century America. Her epic themes and characters, her unique and sophisticated style of storytelling, and her ability to recreate urgent, long-silenced voices have expanded what readers know about African American history and what they understand about the complex, often confusing relationships between race and gender in contemporary society.

Read More
Women and Gender in the Qur'an

The Qur’an on Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and the Nativity

A mention of the infant Jesus’s birth would likely not, for most Muslims, conjure up manger scenes, a shining star, or visits from shepherds. Instead, a more likely image would be of Mary alone and in labor at the foot of a palm. Rather than a swaddled infant resting in the hay among manger animals, the Qur’an describes mother and child resting next to a spring.

Read More
John Donne & the Conway Papers

Finding the Melford Hall Manuscript

The Melford Hall Manuscript is a large, expensively bound manuscript volume containing previously unknown witnesses of nearly 140 poems by John Donne (1572-1631), one of the most outstandingly significant poets and preachers of the early modern period. Discovered by Gabriel Heaton of Sotheby’s during a routine survey of Melford Hall in Suffolk, and restored by sale by the prestigious […]

Read More
IAFFAI

Biotechnology: the Pentagon’s next big thing

Biotechnology has long been an important field of scientific research. But until recently, it has never been formally considered by any military as a significant technological investment opportunity, or a technology that could revolutionize the conduct of war.

Read More

The ubiquitous whelp

Two types of hypotheses compete in etymology. One is learned and the other disconcertingly simple, so that an impartial observer is sometimes hard put to it to choose between them. English whelp resembles the verb yelp, obviously a sound-imitative word, like yap and yawp. Is it possible that such is the origin of whelp?

Read More