Category Archives: Author Posts

Articles written by OBP authors on their books. Accessible and interesting these posts are well worth a read for those wishing to understand more about the great range of subjects we work with.

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From George Romero to The Walking Dead: The Meaning of the Zombie

A few weeks ago, filmmaker George Romero passed away in Toronto. Across the city and elsewhere, remembrance vigils were held for him. It was the kind of treatment usually reserved for great musicians, artists who bared some cardinal human aspect in their work that was hitherto unexplored. In the case of Romero, the artistic reflection was a grotesque one, but estimably more profound than most people realized.

People have called him the father of the modern zombie movie, and deservedly. His innovations in the genre formed the most iconic prototype of the undead walker. A similar version is still featured in shows like The Walking Dead (set to return for its eight season in October), which presides somewhere near the crown of modern broadcasting success stories. The popularity of the genre has reached its crest in the 2000s, and has become more pervasive than its progenitors could have ever predicted. Much of the credit for this must surely go to Mr. Romero. Continue reading

L’idée de l’Europe au Siècle des Lumières

This blog post was originally posted as an article on the Adventures on the Bookshelf blog – you can read it here.

In 1813, Germaine de Staël published a seminal work called De l’Allemagne, which offered a wide-ranging introduction to German romantic literature and philosophy. She had long been an advocate of learning from one’s neighbours and had a particular admiration for the British political system. She had also written Corinne ou l’Italie, a novel which suggested that Italy, at the time a fragmented series of little duchies, principalities and papal States, could unite around its common cultural heritage. She was very interested in what languages and reading foreign texts or those written in the past can teach us: Continue reading

‘Ye shall know them by their fruits’

Read and download Just Managing? for free here.

“If you’re one of those families, if you’re just managing, I want to address you directly.” (Theresa May; 13 July 2016)

Words are tricky things, and we can all agree that ‘talk is cheap’. It’s not what you say that counts, but what you do. But words can be seductive, and their artful use by the silver-tongued can lead us astray. This is an old warning; very old. Continue reading

Ownership and Cultural Heritage

This free to read book grew out of discussions about how multimedia technologies afforded scholars new ways of sharing documentation and scientific knowledge with the cultural owners of these collected oral genres. Funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), the project had two distinct and overarching goals: Continue reading

Strengthening Democracy Through Open Education

This blog post was originally published by Patrick Blessinger as an article on University World News – you can access it here.

Open Education: International Perspectives in Higher Education can be read and downloaded for free here.

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Security in a small nation? Events, dear boy, events…

I’m not sure if it’s apocryphal or not, but Harold Macmillan supposedly once claimed that what politicians in government fear most is “events, dear boy, events”. For the academic, the publication of a long-gestated project can hold similar trepidation. The ‘thing’ that you set out to study can, in the rear view mirror, seem distant and irrelevant; overtaken by the ‘next big thing’. Security in a Small Nation does not suffer from such problems. On the day that I sat to write this blog a debate in the Scottish Parliament on a second independence referendum was cut short due to a terrorist attack on the Westminster Parliament and the surrounding area. That Security in a Small Nation, published only days earlier, is sub-titled Scotland, Democracy, Politics, seemed eerily and entirely relevant in this context. Continue reading

Behaviour, Development and Evolution – an Introductory Blog (1/3)

The Appearance of Design

My book touches on many aspects of human nature.  However, I regard the nature/nurture dichotomy as false.  Nature refers to the end products of development and nurture to how they got there.  The innate/learned, robust/plastic, hard-wired/soft-wired, and genetic/environmental dichotomies all incorrectly imply that human characteristics come in two forms.  Continue reading

Behaviour, Development and Evolution – an Introductory Blog (2/3)

The Importance of Adaptation

From an early stage in its life each individual has to deal with many challenges.  When young its ecology may be very different from that of the adult, in which case it may have special adaptations to deal with those conditions. Continue reading

Behaviour, Development and Evolution – an Introductory Blog (3/3)

A Perspective on Humans

My central academic interests have been with the development and evolution of behaviour and I have long been concerned with the relevance of my work to humans.  Continue reading

Behaviour, Development and Evolution – A Q&A with Sir Patrick Bateson

Q: What would you say is the central concern of Behaviour, Development and Evolution?

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