Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

What’s in the message?

Once upon a time, it could be believed that each advance in communications technology brought with it the probability, if not the certainty, of increased global harmony. The more that messages could be sent and received, the more the peoples of the world would understand each other. Innovators have not been slow to advance comprehensive claims for their achievements. Marconi, for example, selected 1912 as a year in which to suggest that radio, in apparently making war ridiculous, made it impossible.

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Warfare as the creator and destroyer of nations

There are at least four ways in which warfare in its changing forms has been formative in the rise and transformation of national collectivities. First, warfare has been central for much nation-state formation. Most nation-states that came into existence before the mid-20th century were created by war or had their boundaries defined by wars or internal violence.

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Jane Austen and the Voice of Insurrection

Mark Twain was notoriously unimpressed. “I often want to criticise Jane Austen,” he fumed with flamboyant but heartfelt irritation. “Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone!”

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Wonder Woman and the realities of World War I

Wonder Woman takes place in an alternative universe, yet the new film of the same name is set in a recognizable historical context: the First World War. For historians, this provides a chance to compare myth to reality. Putting aside the obvious and deliberate alterations—Erich von Ludendorff’s depiction in the story—the film touches on several of the themes that scholars still debate today regarding war and gender.

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Radio telescopes to detect gravitational waves

Sensationally detected for the first time by the LIGO instrument in 2015, gravitational waves are ripples in space-time – the continuum of the universe – that propagate outward from astrophysical systems. The question is: can we find more of these gravitational waves and do it regularly? Some years ago we have devised a method of finding far more of them, and from weaker sources, than is possible with present techniques with the help of radio telescopes and natural astrophysical masers.

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Queen’s University Belfast win the OUP and BPP National Mooting Competition 2017

Congratulations to the Queen’s University Belfast team represented by Darren Finnegan and Conor Lockhart, who were crowned champions of the OUP and BPP National Mooting Competition 2016-2017, which took place at BPP Law School, Holborn on 22 June 2017. We send our thanks to all the participants who took part this year, together with the mooting co-ordinators and academics who train and coach their students.

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Who needs quantum key distribution?

Chinese scientists have recently announced the use of a satellite to transfer quantum entangled light particles between two ground stations over 1,000 kilometres apart. This has been heralded as the dawn of a new secure internet. Should we be impressed? Yes – scientific breakthroughs are great things. Does this revolutionise the future of cyber security? No – sadly, almost certainly not.

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Let your soul escape: send a postcard this summer

‘The politics of postcards’ is not a common topic of conversation or academic study but as the summer approaches, my mind is turning to how I can continue to write about politics from the seaside, campsite, or dreary ‘Bed & Breakfast’ hotel. Could the humble postcard possibly offer a yet under recognized outlet for political expression?

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The human microbiome and endangered bacteria

Each and every part of us harbours its own microbial ecosystem. This ecosystem carries some 100 billion cells, known as the microbiota. They started inhabiting our bodies 200,000 years ago, and since then we have evolved side by side to configure a balanced system in which microbes can survive in perfect harmony, provided no perturbations occur.

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Fighting cyber crime [timeline]

The Blackstone’s Police team will soon be attending the 10th International Conference on Evidence Based Policing and 2nd Cybercrime Conference in Cambridge. In advance of the event, take a look through the timeline below to learn more about some of the key events in the recent history of cyber crime. Don’t forget to come to the Oxford University Press stand and say hello if you’re attending the conference!

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“The lover”– an extract from Love, Madness, and Scandal

The high society of Stuart England found Frances Coke Villiers, Viscountess Purbeck (1602-1645) an exasperating woman. She lived at a time when women were expected to be obedient, silent, and chaste, but Frances displayed none of these qualities. The following extract looks Frances’ affair with Sir Robert Howard.

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Hearing to heal

At the 2014 OHA Annual Meeting, the African American Oral History Program at Story For All received the prestigious Vox Populi Award, one of the highest honors in the oral history world.

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Why ‘tropical disease’ is a global problem

In 2015, the United Nations agreed upon Sustainable Development Goals which set seventeen ambitious targets for the next two decades focusing on tackling poverty, reducing disease, protecting the environment, and driving forward an international community based on sustained commitments to – and improvements in – education, health, human rights, and equity.

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Marc Chagall, religious artist

One hundred thirty years after the birth of Moishe Shagall, as he was known in his small Hasidic neighborhood on the outskirts of Vitebsk, and thirty-two years after the death of Marc Chagall, as he came to be known in the modern art world, we are starting to understand his vision.

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How to measure social pain

Against the grain of much twentieth-century research on the nature and function of pain in humans, which tended to focus on injury and the bodily mechanics of pain signalling, recent neuroscientific research has opened a new front in the study of social and emotional pain.

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