Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Will there be justice for Syria?

The war in Syria has wreaked havoc on the lives of the Syrian people, and affected many others. Since the war begin in March 2011, several hundred thousand people have been killed. Some 13.5 million people require humanitarian assistance, and over 10 million people have fled their homes – with 4 million fleeing Syria altogether.

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Slaves to the rhythm

I met up with Russell Foster in 1996 when I was writing a book on the social impact of the 24 hour society. I wanted to know what effect working nights had on human biology and health. At the time Russell was Reader at Imperial College. Since then he has become professor of circadian neuroscience at Oxford University; a Fellow of the Royal Society; and he has a shelf full of medals from scientific societies around the world.

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Johnny had Parkinson’s…and music helped him walk

One day we stumbled upon something that would end up helping Johnny on this twice daily haul. Given our shared history as musicians, it’ll come as no surprise that Johnny and I often talked about music. As Johnny was prepping to take the first step, we joked about singing a march so he could march his way down the hall. It was Johnny’s idea to use Sousa’s Stars and Stripes, a march he liked.

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Heartthrobs and happy endings

Popular romance is often written to a formula. Our heroine falls for the attractions of the hero. Stuff gets in the way. They get through this and marry. We assume that they are happy thereafter. Most of the books published by Mills and Boon or Harlequin have some variation on this kind of narrative, centring on heartthrobs and happy endings.

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The unprecedented difficulty of B(e)

A dictionary is in indeed a collection of stories and each word entry has a unique tale to tell. If we choose the verb ‘be’, we encounter a special insight into English, and into the society and thought that has shaped it over the past 1,500 years.

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Two posts on “sin”: a sequel

The colleague who wrote me a letter is a specialist in Turkic and a proponent of Nostratic linguistics. He mentioned the Turkic root syn-, which, according to him, can mean “to test, prove; compete; prophesy; observe; body, image, outward appearance,” and wondered whether, within the framework of Nostratic linguistics, this root can be compared with the root of Engl. sin.

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Brando, Obama, and The Brando

Just days before Marlon Brando’s 93rd birthday on 3 April, Barack Obama announced that he will write his presidential memoirs at an exotic South Pacific hideaway once owned by Brando. Thirty miles north of Tahiti and accessible only by boat or small aircraft, the island of Tetiaroa was transformed into a high-end resort after Brando […]

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Britain votes…again: three crucial questions

Last month, Prime Minister Theresa May announced that Britain would hold a general election on 8 June. The election raises three crucial questions. First, why did the Prime Minister call an election now? Under British law, she could have remained in office without facing the voters until 2020 and, in fact, had promised on multiple occasions that she would not call early elections.

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Mary Wollstonecraft, our contemporary

Since the political earthquake of Trump’s election, preceded by the earth tremor of Brexit, the commentariat has been awash with declarations of the end of eras—of globalisation, of neoliberalism, of the post-World War II epoch of political stability and economic prosperity. As though to orientate ourselves in this brave new world, the search has been on for historical analogies, through whose lenses we might understand our present moment.

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What are ‘political’ black churches?

Much attention has been given to white evangelical congregations and parachurch groups in studies of so-called “political churches” and politically active Christians. While studies of such white evangelical congregations have been at the forefront of scholarly attention to religious politics, the historic participation (and debate over the participation) of black churches in the civil rights era of the 1950s and 60s…

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The critical role of race in John Cassavetes’ first film

Shadows is the first film John Cassavetes directed and, regarding the version he released in 1959, it is the only film he created that distinctly explores themes of Blackness and Black identity in an American urban landscape. Too Late Blues, A Woman Under the Influence, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, and Love Streams all depict identity and race in different and attention-worthy ways as well, but none of Cassavetes’ directorial work after 1959 engages with these topics to the same degree or with the same immediacy.

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Addressing rare, toxic downside of immunotherapy

The American Society of Clinical Oncology and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network announced in mid-February their intent to issue day-to-day guidelines for physicians managing severe side effects from immune checkpoint inhibitors—a type of immunotherapy that works with a patient’s own immune system to attack cancer. They hope to release a document by the end of the year.

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Can green entrepreneurs save our planet?

Less than a year after the governments of the world came together to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change, the United States has inaugurated a new president, Donald Trump, who denounces the whole idea as a Chinese hoax. How did we get here?

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Ellington’s A Drum Is a Woman turns 60

Recent research on African-American jazz icon Duke Ellington (1899-1974) has increasingly focused on the composer-pianist-bandleader’s post-World War II achievements: a torrent of creativity across film, theater, and dance perhaps unrivaled in American music. But the unleashing of Ellington’s “late career” genius was not a foregone conclusion. It would take an ambitious — if not a […]

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Celebrate Mother Goose Day and tell us your favorite fairy tale!

Come celebrate Mother Goose Day with us! On this holiday, which originated in the year 1987, we honor Mother Goose, the fictional author of a number of nursery rhymes and fairy tales. Even though she’s an imaginary character, her societal impact is not. Through her fantastical stories, she’s reminded us of the moral implications of […]

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