Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Girls, women, and intellectual empowerment

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s nickname in law school was “Bitch.” Senator Elizabeth Warren was sanctioned by her GOP colleagues when “nevertheless, she persisted” in her questioning of soon-to-be Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Senator Kamala Harris reminded Vice President Mike Pence “I am speaking, I am speaking,” as he attempted to interrupt and speak over her in a recent vice presidential debate. CNN found it more important to report that two women won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry than to report the names of the women who won it.

Though we may wish to think it otherwise, women and girls are still routinely silenced and excluded from positions of power, expertise, leadership, and full participation in the public sphere.

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How did the passive voice get such a bad name?

Many grammatical superstitions and biases can be traced back to overreaching and misguided language critics: the prohibitions concerning sentence-final prepositions, split infinitives, beginning a sentence with a conjunction, or using contractions or the first person.

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Modern Brazil: A Very Short Introduction

A change in Brazil’s national populist government

As we approach 15 November, a national holiday marking the end of the Brazilian Empire and proclamation of the Brazilian Republic in 1889, and also a day of municipal elections, many Brazilians may be contemplating what has happened to their country and where it might be heading.

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Oxford Scholarship Online

Seven books for philosophical perspectives on politics [reading list]

2020 has come to be defined by widespread human tragedy, economic uncertainty, and increased public discourse surrounding how to address systemic racism. With such important issues at stake, political leadership has been under enormous scrutiny. As the US election approaches, we’re featuring a selection of important books exploring politics from different philosophical perspectives, ranging from interrogating the moral duty to vote, to how grandstanding impacts public discourse.

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Scientism, the coronavirus, and the death of the humanities

The cause of the humanities’ current crisis is far older than critics of postmodern relativism allow—and more baked into the heart of the modern American university. In fact, one must look back to very creation of the American universities in the late nineteenth century to see why their triumph precipitated the marginalization of the modern humanities. The scientizing of our higher education amounts to the root of the problem, and without a deep-seated revolt against this process, the humanities will continue to wither.

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Listening on the edge

Listen now before we choose to forget

Memory is pliable. How we remember the COVID-19 pandemic is continually being reshaped by the evolution of our own experience and by the influence of collective interpretations. The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC), where I have worked for over two decades, asked me to design an oral history response to document the pandemic in our area.

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A “baker’s dozen” and some idioms about food

I decided to write this post, because I have an idea about the origin of the idiom baker’s dozen, and ideas occur so seldom that I did not want this opportunity to be wasted. Perhaps our readers will find my suggestion reasonable or refute it. I’ll be pleased to hear from them.

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Voter fraud and election meddling [podcast]

The topic of voter fraud and electoral meddling has been at the forefront of many a conversation over the last four years. Are foreign powers trying to sway our election in 2020? Is mail-in-voting safe from meddling? Will fear of COVID-19 decrease voter turnout?

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Music Therapy Perspectives

The essential role of music therapy in medical assistance in dying

In Western society, we spend a lot of time celebrating and welcoming new life, but very few cultures celebrate when a person dies. While death is not as taboo as 50 years ago, death is still a topic that many individuals are not comfortable speaking about in conversations.

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Oxford Bibliographies

Is gerrymandering “poisoning the well” of democracy?

Every ten years, the federal government administers the Census to determine the size of the population as well as how that population is distributed within and across states. These figures are then used to allocates seats within the US House of Representatives. States that grow faster than the rest of the country typically gain seats, necessarily at the expense of states that have lost residents or have experienced the slowest growth.

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Oxford Research Encylopedias: Communications

The fight against fake news and electoral disinformation

Just as COVID-19 is a stress test of every nation’s health system, an election process is a stress test of a nation’s information and communication system. A week away from the US presidential election, the symptoms are not so promising. News reports about the spread of so-called “fake news,” disinformation, and conspiracy theories are thriving as they did in 2016.

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Disorienting Neoliberalism

What COVID-19 tells us about global supply chains

President Trump is not the only one bewildered by global supply chains today. Over the past 40 years, it has become normal for the production of many goods to be disaggregated and outsourced around the world. Transnational supply chains now represent 80% of global trade; they’re inextricable from our daily lives. Most people aren’t exactly surprised when their t-shirt comes from the other side of the globe or when their phone contains components from 43 countries, even if we can’t ever quite shake the feeling that there’s something uncanny about the contrast between these extraordinary distances and the ordinary purposes these goods serve.

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Oxford Handbooks Online

The politics of punk in the era of Trump

Trump is Punk! It’s a hashtag. It’s a slogan on t-shirts and trucker hats. It’s a click-bait headline. Milo Yiannopoulos, a former Breitbart editor, may have started this buzz with his speech (delivered in drag) at Louisiana State University on 22 September 2016, in which he claimed that “being a Donald Trump supporter is the new punk” because it would “piss off your teachers, piss off your parents, piss off your friends.” Then in October, The Atlantic published “Donald Trump, Sex Pistol: The Punk Rock Appeal of the GOP Nominee,” and after the election, the New York Post ran an opinion piece with the headline “Trump is the Punk-Rock President America Deserves” (9 November 2016). Despite social media protestations, “punk” became shorthand for Trump’s rule-breaking, anti-establishment campaign filled with unapologetic vulgarity and appeals to white male grievance.

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OUP Libraries

The socially distanced library: staying connected in a pandemic

The concept of a socially distanced library would be considered the ultimate antithesis of the modern-day library. The past two decades have witnessed the evolution of the library from a mostly traditional space of quiet study and research into a bustling collaborative, social space and technology center.

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