Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Soul searching, or the inscrutable word “soul” (part one)

If we expect someone to save our souls, this person won’t be an etymologist, because no language historian knows the origin of the word soul, and without a convincing etymology, how can anyone save the intangible substance it denotes? Yet nothing prevents us from looking at the main attempts to decipher the mysterious word.

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Corporate Governance in Contention

Shared governance—not shareholder governance

The intellectual basis for shareholder control of firms is that what is good for shareholders is good for everyone. In turn that is rationalized by the claim that only shareholders bear risks that are not compensated by contracts.

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Music Therapy Perspectives

Managing the power of music to foster safety and avoid harm

Pulitzer Prize recipient and American playwright Lynn Nottage shared in a recent interview, “What music can do is get to the emotion with incredible economy and efficiency.” This capacity that music holds to reach in and connect to the wide range of emotions we experience as human beings can be a wonderful asset as it accesses those feelings we want to revisit and are ready to express. This becomes challenging and potentially harmful when it relates to unexpressed or unresolved emotions and experiences.

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Dreams of Love: Playing the Romantic Pianist

The Piano meets The Power of the Dog

In Jane Campion’s 1993 film “The Piano”, and her new film, “The Power of the Dog”, the grand piano serves as more than the emblematic instrument of feminine domestic music-making and of European bourgeois culture transported to the hinterlands of the nation or empire; it also functions as a gender technology because it regulates the metaphorical sound-body of the woman who plays it.

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Five books to celebrate British Science Week

To celebrate British Science Week, join in the conversation and keep abreast of the latest in science by delving into our reading list. It contains five of our latest books on evolutionary biology, the magic of mathematics, artificial intelligence, and more.

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Manhattan Phoenix: The Great Fire of 1835 and the Emergence of Modern New York by Daniel S. Levy

New York City: the streams and waterways of Manhattan

We think of New York as an island packed with buildings, a place of concrete sidewalks and tarmacked avenues, a city that as Frank Sinatra sang, “doesn’t sleep.” But Manhattan at the turn of the 19th century—in the years before its street grid was laid out and decades before the Great Fire of 1835 which would accelerate the city’s northward growth—was a very different sort of place. New York City back then was a sleepy town just on the island of Manhattan.

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Magnificat by Tawnie Olson

Tawnie Olson: re-imagining the Magnificat

Several years ago, a choir in which I sang premiered a piece by a successful male composer. The music and text combined to suggest a Blessed Virgin who was inoffensively meek, sweet, and… small. I was not the only singer who found this composer’s vision unsatisfying. After one rehearsal, a normally-reserved alto walked up to me and fumed, “Tawnie, you have to compose a feminist Magnificat!”

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When Money Talks: A History of Coins and Numismatics

A silver thread through history [video]

With a history spanning back over 2,000 years, coins are much more than just money. They are also a means of storing and communicating information, resembling tiny discs of information technology that convey images and text across vast swatches of time and territory. Coins are the first world wide web linking us together. While they […]

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Letting foregones be bygones

I was reading a column in a chess magazine when I came across the description of a game’s finish as a bygone conclusion. “That’s really weird,” I thought, “It should have said foregone conclusion.”

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Dissenting Daughters: Reformed Women in the Dutch Republic, 1572-1725

Ten new books to read this Women’s History Month [reading list]

Since 1987, Women’s History Month has been observed in the US annually each March as an opportunity to highlight the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. This month, we’re sharing some of the latest history titles covering a range of eras and regions but all charting the lives of women and the impact they made, whether noticed at the time or from the shadows.

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Manhattan Phoenix: The Great Fire of 1835 and the Emergence of Modern New York by Daniel S. Levy

New York City: the life and times of the Bowery Theater

In the mid 1820s, New York had three theaters:, the Park, the Chatham, and the Lafayette. Some citizens felt there should be more, and in October 1825, the New York Association started work on a new house. They chose a site between the Bowery and Elizabeth Street just south of Canal Street, and Mayor Philip Hone officiated at the laying of the cornerstone. “This spot which a few years since was surrounded by cultivated fields,” he told the gathered, “where the husbandman was employed in reaping the generous harvest, and cattle grazed for the use of the city, then afar off, has now become the centre of a compact population.”

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The Art of Conversation in Cancer Care

Healing conversation in medical care

Every day thousands of people have conversations with healthcare providers (HCPs) about their medical condition. Such meetings can be profoundly comforting or extremely distressing to the patient and caregiver.

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