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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Transcending Dystopia

Digging into the vaults of the unknown: the “Transcending Dystopia” research diaries

Research for Transcending Dystopia over the course of almost a decade was truly a journey, piecing together disparate snippets that have been transmitted in different repositories to gain insight into the musical practices and lives of Jews in postwar Germany. Among the 26 archives and private collections I consulted, two experiences stand out—the first being somewhat unusual, the second being quite extraordinary.

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This Land Is My Land

Republicans at a crossroads? Probably not

How did the Republican Party arrive at such a confused and divided state that Sen. John Thune had to ask whether it wanted “to be the party of limited government and fiscal responsibility, free markets, peace through strength and pro-life” or “the party of conspiracy theories and QAnon”? In reality, the party is both, and it has been so for some time.

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Introducing SHAPE: Q&A with Sophie Goldsworthy and Julia Black (part one)

OUP is excited to support the newly created SHAPE initiative—Social Sciences, Humanities, and the Arts for People and the Economy. SHAPE has been coined to enable us to clearly communicate the value that these disciplines bring to not only enriching the world in which we live, but also enhancing our understanding of it. In the first instalment this two-part Q&A, we spoke to Sophie Goldsworthy and Professor Julia Black to find out more about SHAPE and what it means to them.

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Defending God in Sixteenth-Century India

Beyond polemics: debating God in early modern India

The early modern period in India (roughly from 1550 to 1750) has been increasingly understood as a time of heightened religious self-awareness—the fertile soil from which Hinduism emerged as a unified world religion. Yet it was also a tumultuous period of intense rivalry across scholarly and religious communities.

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Zoological Journal

Darwin’s queer plots in The Descent of Man

This year, LGBT+ History Month coincides with the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s momentous sexological work The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, originally published on 24 February 1871. The occasion prompts reflection on Darwin’s highly equivocal handling of sex variations in the natural world, including intersexualities (“hermaphroditism”), transformations of sex, and non-reproductive sexual behaviours.

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Darwin's Psychology

Darwin’s theory of agency: back to the future in evolutionary science?

Was Darwin a one-trick pony? The scientists who most laud him typically cite just one of his ideas: natural selection. Do any know that his theory of evolution—like his take on psychology—was drawn from a comprehensive analysis of organisms as agents? This fact has long been eclipsed by the “gene’s-eye view” of adaptation which gained a strangle-hold over biology during the twentieth century—and hence over sociobiology and today’s “evolutionary” psychology.

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The Louvre and its environs

What is the origin of the name Louvre? Dictionaries and websites say unanimously that the sought-for etymology is unknown or uncertain. Perhaps so, but we will see.

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Black History Month square

Ten empowering books to read in celebration of Black History Month

In observance of Black History Month, we are celebrating our prize-winning authors and empowering scholarship spanning a variety of topics across African American history, the civil rights movement, Black Lives Matter, the Harlem Renaissance, jazz, and more. Explore our reading list and update your bookshelf with the most recent titles from these eminent authors.

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Live after gravity

Isaac Newton’s London life: a quiz

Isaac Newton is known as the scientist who discovered gravity, but less well-known are the many years he spent in metropolitan London, and what precisely he got up to in that time…

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The skin of etymological teeth

Is English “skin” related to Greek “skēnē”? The story of “skin” and some other words, partly synonymous with it, is worthy of attention.

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