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Results 1 - 12 of 12
1. Strip Them Naked, or The Robber Disrobed


By Anatoly Liberman

This is a story of the naked but not necessarily the dead. Traveling through time, we notice the same grim custom: a defeated enemy or a prisoner of war may be killed or stripped of everything he wears before (and sometimes instead of) being murdered. Reports gloat over the details. Marauders search for good clothes and valuables on the battlefield and care little for the indignity with which they are treating corpses, but it was the ability to humiliate the survivors that gave the greatest joy to the winning party. The shame of being left naked clung to the victim forever, and it was worse than death. With amazing regularity the languages of the world show that the similarity between robber and robe is not fortuitous, that those words are indeed related. (more…)

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2. Monthly Gleanings


By Anatoly Liberman

First I would like to respond to the comments on my discussion of spelling reform. I was aware of the continuing efforts by some groups to simplify English spelling, but I think their chances of success are slim, because there is no public awareness of the damage done by our erratic spelling system. We need respelling bins, similar to the now ubiquitous recycling bins. (more…)

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3. Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by R.L. LaFevers

 ***Theodosia Throckmorton (Theo for short), the young daughter of the curator of the Museum of Legends and Antiquities in London, is very busy these days. The year is 1906, and the world’s western powers are busily excavating the treasure

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4. Are Woman Good Public Speakers? A Case in Point: Hillary Clinton

The Myth of Mars and Venus: Do men and women really speak different languages? by Deborah Cameron, Rupert Murdoch Professor of Language and Communication at Oxford University, argues that gender needs to be viewed in more complex ways than the prevailing myths and stereotypes allow. In the article below Cameron looks at historical stereotypes of female orators and reflects on Hillary Clinton’s primary run.

After Hillary Clinton lost to Barack Obama in Iowa, the London Times columnist David Aaronovitch suggested that part of Mrs. Clinton’s problem might lie in our contradictory attitudes to women’s public speech. If their style is assertive they are labeled “shrill” and “strident”; if it is softer and more conciliatory, that casts doubt on their ability to lead. However she speaks, it seems a woman cannot win. (more…)

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5. The Candidates Go With God to South Carolina

David Domke is Professor of Communication and Head of Journalism at the University of Washington. Kevin Coe is a doctoral candidate in Speech Communication at the University of Illinois. They are authors of the The God Strategy: How Religion Became a Political Weapon in America. To learn more about the book check out their handy website here, to read more posts by them click here. In the article below Domke and Coe look ahead to the South Carolina primaries.

From the Motor City in Michigan to Sin City in Nevada, the 2008 presidential campaign is going national. But with all respect to voters in these states, the road to the White House—and for American politics generally—in the next few weeks goes through South Carolina. That’s because the Palmetto state is ground zero in today’s religious politics. (more…)

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6. Historically Black Colleges: Anecdote Doesn’t Equal Evidence

aanb.jpgAfter a decade of work, on February 4th Oxford University Press and the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute will publish the African American National Biography(AANB). The AANB is the largest repository of black life stories ever assembled with more than 4,000 biographies. To celebrate this monumental achievement we have invited the contributors to this 8 volume set to share some of their knowledge with the OUPBlog. Over the next couple of months we will have the honor of sharing their thoughts, reflections and opinions with you.

To kick things off we have AANB contributor Dr. Marybeth Gasman, an Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Gasman’s has published several books, including Charles S. Johnson: Leadership beyond the Veil in the Age of Jim Crow, Supporting Alma Mater: Successful Strategies for Securing Funds from Black College Alumni, and Uplifting a People: African American Philanthropy and Education. In addition to these works, Dr. Gasman recently finished a book entitled Envisioning Black Colleges: A History of the United Negro College Fund (Johns Hopkins University Press). Recently Dr. Gasman was awarded the Promising Scholar/Early Career Award by the Association for the Study of Higher Education for her body of scholarship.  In the article below Gasman looks at criticism of Historically Black Colleges.

Public discussions of Black colleges’ troubles are often distorted by the tendency to attribute one institution’s shortcomings to the entire group. Furthermore, I have noticed that critics often base their critique on anecdote rather than evidence. As someone who works with and studies Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) on a daily basis, I find this practice to be deeply troubling. Let me offer a few examples. (more…)

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7. Huiricuta Ecological and Cultural Protected Area, Mexico


Huiricuta Ecological and Cultural Protected Area, Mexico

Coordinates: 23 42 N 100 54 W

Approximate Area: 285 sq. miles (738 sq. km)

Pilgrimages have long been a part of religious practice for many faiths around the world, and while the purpose and destination of each journey is predictably quite different, a common element among them all seems to be distance. In the case of the Huichol people of western Mexico, their route spans roughly 400 miles to a sacred mountain at the southern limits of the Chihuahuan Desert. (more…)

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8. Hamish X and the Cheese Pirates of the Arctic by Sean Cullen

Life is looking pretty dreary for the orphans of the Windcity orphanage and cheese factory. They work excruciating shifts producing the most foul cheese on the earth (2 ounces make you hallucinate. 3 ounces will kill you) and to top it all of they mu

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9. Halloween: The Sugar-Coated Holiday

Andrew Smith, editor of the Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink, wants to make sure you know what you are getting into this Halloween. In the post below Smith helps us understand the history of the holiday which inspires both cute bunny and naughty nurse costumes.

On the evening of October 31, an estimated 41 million children aged 14 and under, dress in costumes, and go house-to-house yelling, “Trick or treat.” Halloween derived from a Celtic holiday called Samhain, which celebrated the end of summer. Christianity established November 1 as All Saints Day, and its “eve” was celebrated the night. Halloween traditions were brought to American by Irish immigrants in the mid to late nineteenth century. (more…)

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10. The Real First Thanksgiving

Andrew Smith, editor of the Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink has written a piece for us which helps us truly understand the origins of Thanksgiving. Despite its solemn origins we hope you have a truly wonderful (and apple pie filled) holiday.

Every American knows the story of the First Thanksgiving: Seeking religious freedom, the Pilgrims established a colony at Plymouth, Massachusetts. Native Americans taught them how to plant corn and hunt. When the crops were harvested, the Indians joined the Pilgrims at the First Thanksgiving by jointly gobbling up turkeys, saucing cranberries, mashing corn, and squashing pumpkins to make pies. It was such a memorable event that Americans have honored this day ever since, or so goes the story.

No one would be more surprised at this modern day story than would the Pilgrims. (more…)

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11. Favorites: Part Four Christine Duplessis

To celebrate the holidays we asked some of our favorite people in publishing what their favorite book was. Let us know in the comments what your favorite book is and be sure to check back throughout the week for more “favorites”.

Christine Duplessis is a Marketing Manager at Simon and Schuster.

I say that my favorite book is Pride and Prejudice. And it really is brilliant—great characters, great story, writing that has held up for all these years. I can still remember reading it for the first time and how it made me feel. But deep down I know that my favorite book is really a historical romance, The Prize by Julie Garwood, because that’s the book I go back and reread whenever I’m sad or sick or stressed out. But shh. Don’t tell.

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12. Favorites: Part FiveAndrew DeSio

To celebrate the holidays we asked some of our favorite people in publishing what their favorite book was. Let us know in the comments what your favorite book is and be sure to check back throughout the week for more “favorites”.

Andrew DeSio is the Director of Publicity at Princeton University Press.

If I had to pick a favorite book I’d go with Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Raoul Duke’s romp, along with his trusty attorney Dr. Gonzo, through the desert in search of that unattainable state of euphoria, all the while experiencing American culture at its best and worst, is as pertinent now as it was in 1972.

Thompson is known for his heroic drug binges but his choppy yet flowing prose is often overlooked by his dirty deeds. The fact that he can remember so vividly his exploits in the book while being under the influence is testament to his great mind. He’s one of America’s eminent satirists and humorists, and will be sorely missed.

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