Keeping you up to date with all the goings-on at TORCH

TORCH Newsletter Michaelmas Term

Weeks 7 & 8 (20 November – 3 December 2017)

Welcome to another bountiful TORCH Newsletter brimming with news, events and opportunities on interdisciplinary humanities research at Oxford.

First of all, TORCH would like to congratulate Sasha Rasmussen for being awarded the Women in Humanities Scholarship.

Sasha's current research is primarily focused on the display of the body in artistic contexts in the fin-de-siècle period, particularly in the cultural centres of Paris and St Petersburg. In her doctoral thesis, she plans to explore the often-fine line between the artistic and the indecent, and how concepts of theatricality, modernity, and spectatorship shaped the negotiation of this distinction in public discourse. Well done Sasha!

Congratulations also to Arturo Soto (Fine Art, Ruskin School of Art) for the launch of his photographic exhibition Those Who Follow. Those Who Follow confronts us with buildings we might pass everyday, that are part of our lives but that we don’t often pause to consider – affording us the opportunity to reflect on those that by contrast are prominent, distinctive, and immediately communicate ideas about faith. The exhibition is in part an artistic response to Imagining the Divine. 

This evening will see TORCH celebrate and showcase humanities research through its sold out late night event Lost Late - Night at the Museums, in collaboration with the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and Pitt Rivers Museum. This event is part of Being Human Festival 2017. We'll see you there! 

Lastly, we are hosting our final Book at Lunchtime event of the term on 29 November when we will be joined by Professor William Whyte to discuss his book Unlocking the Church. For more information and details on how to register, please see below. 

Highlighted Event

Me and My Beliefs: Challenges of Identity and Society

Tuesday, November 28, 2017 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm
L1, Mathematical Institute, Andrew Wiles Building, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, OX2 6GG

Bishop Libby Lane is Britain’s first woman bishop in the Church of England. In this talk Bishop Libby explores the pathway that brought her to this position and addresses an area of identity not always covered in diversity debates. A panel of prominent speakers joins her in discussing what it means to be a person of faith in Britain today and impacts on diversity.

On the panel:

Jas' Elsner (Professor of Late Antique Art, Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford and project lead on Empires of Faith)

Shaista Aziz (freelance journalist and writer. Founder of The Everyday Bigotry Project)

This event will be chaired by Elleke Boehmer (Professor in World Literatures in English, University of Oxford)

Booking is essential. Please register here for your seat. 

There will be a drinks reception following the discussion.

This event is part of the Humanities & Identities Series.  

Please click here for more information

News and Blogs

Poetry as Transitional Justice?

Poetry has long been a therapeutic medium through which traumatised survivors of war have attempted to process, explore, contain or escape painful yet life-affirming moments. The ambiguities of content and pattern integral to the practice make it uniquely suited to this task of amalgamating the incomprehensible. We think, perhaps, of the wild visions of Henry Vaughan’s post-civil war poems, the violent moral tensions of Milton’s post-English Commonwealth epics, the syncopation between traumatic memory and mythic fantasy in the post-WW1 work of David Jones, or the oscillation between combat realism and Catholic hymnal in the corpus of Sassoon. As Frost’s ‘Silken Tent’ moniker implies, poetry is a form which offers the weary traveller the hope of shelter without the threat of imprisonment.

But can poetry ever do more than merely console the shivering recluse?

On Saturday 21st October the Mellon-Sawyer Seminar Series made a courageous case for the affirmative. At one of the break-out session working groups, two Iraqi poets, one British poet, one British poetry academic, one British academic looking at Iraqi prose writing, and two British military veterans of the recent war in Iraq discussed the commemorative potential, if any, of poetry.

Read this blog post by Alex Donelly (DPhil candidate in Anthropology) in full here.

A Note from Mike and Evan, Race and Resistance's New Co-Directors

As historians, we know that we’re only a small part of a much longer story at Oxford. Most immediately, of course, we’re indebted to our predecessor, Tessa Roynon, and to those who established Race and Resistance in 2013. More broadly, however, we’re keen to acknowledge that anti-racism and activism have a long and distinguished history at the university. When we think about Oxford, we think about the Joint Action Committee Against Racial Intolerance, which mobilised thousands of students in the late 1950s and early 1960s around issues of race in Oxford and overseas; and we think about Stuart Hall, whose house on Richmond Road became an intellectual hub for students from the colonies, and for the founding members of the Universities and Left Review.

We want to offer another such space: a home in which academia and activism can come together to engage with questions of race and resistance in the present day.

As part of The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), and members of the international academic community, we take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of race and resistance on a global scale. We invite everyone - student, faculty, community, or visitor, with an interest in our programme or events - to join us and participate in our Friday seminars and discussion sessions.

Read Mike and Evan's note in full here

Elsa Gidlow: Pioneering Poet and San Franciscan Sappho

Born in Yorkshire in 1898, Elsa Gidlow settled in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1920s (via Quebec, New York and Paris). It was there that she found herself at the centre of a thriving circle of writers, artists, intellectuals, radicals and, of course, the lesbian social scene.  Described perfectly by her editor, Celeste West of Booklegger Press, Elsa was born avant garde: North American's first published writer of a lesbian poetry volume (1923); radical feminist of the "first wave;" protest-poet attacked by McCarthyites; member of San Francisco's bohemian, psychedelic, then New Age and women's spirituality circles. Elsa fought life-long against class privilege, organized religion, and sexism, while fighting for all varieties of love and beauty.

Read this first post in the Queer Studies Network blog here

Witness Literature as a Way of Mourning and Healing

In coming to terms with a difficult, often haunting past, what part can novels and memoirs play? How should we regard the role and positions of those who write them? Does it make a difference if an author refers to first-hand experiences and personal memories in their writing instead of being generationally, geographically, or culturally removed from the events? Can literary writing ever be adequate to the task of witnessing? These were some of the questions addressed at the launch event of the Mellon-Sawyer Seminar Series, Post-War: Commemoration, Reconstruction, Reconciliation, which took place on Friday 20 October in Oxford. During the event, acclaimed novelist and memoirist Aminatta Forna, OBE, engaged in an insightful conversation with Elleke Boehmer, Professor of World Literature at the University of Oxford.  

Their conversation oscillated between theoretical discussions of witness literature, Forna’s personal stories and narratives, and short readings from her four books, The Devil that Danced on the Water (2002), Ancestor Stones (2006), The Memory of Love (2010), and The Hired Man (2013). Hearing and contrasting extracts from her first and last books stimulated thought-provoking dialogue regarding the question of an author’s positionality and accountability, derived from whether they are telling their own or someone else’s story.

Read this blog post in full here

New Opportunities

Graduate Scholarship on World War One

One scholarship (2018-2021) is available for applicants who are ordinarily resident in the UK/EU/European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland and who are applying to a D.Phil. in History, specialising in the First World War.

The scholarship will provide at least £18,000 per annum to cover course fees, college fees and a grant for living costs. Awards are made for the full duration of fee liability for the course. The scholarship is funded by the Rothermere American Institute (RAI) in association with the Faculty of History’s Globalising and
Localising the Great War (GLGW) programme and Pembroke College, and is made possible thanks to a generous donation from the Rothermere Foundation.

For more information click here.

New Network Scheme

The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH) seeks to stimulate and support research activity that transcends disciplinary and institutional boundaries. To this end, the Centre invites applications from colleagues seeking to establish, or consolidate, multi- or interdisciplinary research networks to be based at the Radcliffe Humanities Building.

TORCH encourages imaginative cross-disciplinary applications, and will not sponsor research groups whose activities could be supported by a single college or faculty. Applications from cross-divisional research groups and from groups engaged with non-academic partners are also welcomed. Lead applicants must include postgraduates and postholders or early-career scholars from at least two faculties and colleges.

For more information please click here

The next deadline is midday Friday 16 February 2017.

Oxford Playhouse Spotlight Discussions

An opportunity for an Oxford humanities researcher to lead a Spotlight discussion event.  

Spotlight is for anyone aged 50 or over with an interest in theatre. Each session is a friendly and relaxed lunchtime meet-up to socialise and talk all things theatre.

Spotlight is led by a member of Oxford Playhouse staff, joined by a researcher to talk more about their role in the current show, or themes and issues explored in this season’s productions.

Researchers will be asked to give a short introduction of 10-15 minutes exploring themes in the play, the writer, significant historical productions, adaptations etc.

Event dates and details are as follows:

• Thursday 8 February: The Kite Runner

• Thursday 15 March: The Winslow Boy

• Thursday 19 April: The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk

All sessions run from 12:30pm - 14:00pm.

For more information please click here.

For the full list of current opportunities, please see our website

Upcoming Events

Unlocking the Church

Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm Seminar Room, Radcliffe Humanities, Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6GG

In Unlocking the Church, William Whyte explores a forgotten revolution in social and architectural history and in the history of the Church. He details the architectural and theological debates of the day, explaining how the Tractarians of Oxford and the Ecclesiologists of Cambridge were embroiled in the aesthetics of architecture, and how the Victorians profoundly changed the ways in which buildings were understood and experienced. No longer mere receptacles for worship, churches became active agents in their own rights, capable of conveying theological ideas and designed to shape people's emotions.

William Whyte (History, University of Oxford) joins an expert panel to discuss the book and its themes:

Dan Hicks (Archeology, University of Oxford)

Julia Smith (History, University of Oxford)

Chairing the event will be Mark Chapman (Theology, University of Oxford)

Lunch will be available from 12.30pm, the discussion will start at 1pm.

Booking is essential. Register here for your seat. 

Part of Book at Lunchtime, a fortnightly series of bite sized book discussions, with commentators from a range of disciplines.

Please click here for more information

LGBT Lives: Narratives and Representation

Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm Seminar Room, Radcliffe Humanities, Oxford OX2 6GG

This event brings together a panel of researchers and heritage professionals who have explored in their work LGBT narratives, identities and representation. The year 2017 is the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality and the year has been marked with celebrations in various media and formats to raise the profile of the 1967 sexual offences act. At this lunchtime discussion, the panel will talk about the representation and inclusion of LGBTQ+ narratives in museums and spaces, including the National Trust, theories of sexuality and gender, as well as the historical and current treatment of the LGBT community, particularly in modern Russia.

Speakers: Professor Richard Sandell (Professor of Museum Studies, Leicester University), Rachael Lennon (National Public Programme - Content and Research Manager at the National Trust), and Professor Dan Healey (Professor of Modern Russian History, University of Oxford)

This event will be chaired by Professor Philip Bullock (TORCH Director and Professor of Russian Language and Literature, and Music, University of Oxford)

Free and all welcome - booking required. Please register here.

This event is part of the Humanities & Identities series.

Please click here for more information

Recital of American Art-Song

Thursday, November 23, 2017 - 8:00pm
Holywell Music Room

Oxford Song Network presents a Recital of American Art-Song, presented by Chris Eaglin and Nicole Panizza. All are welcome, entrance is free entry.

Please click here for more information

Interracial Intimacies: Renegotiating the East African Asian Diaspora

Thursday, November 30, 2017 - 5:00pm
65 High Street, Stanford House, Oxford

As part of The Long History of Identity, Ethnicity and Nationhood Network, Saima Nasar (University of Bristol) will be presenting on "Interracial Intimacies: Renegotiating the East African Asian Diaspora"

All are welcome.

Please click here for more information

Looking back

As we move swiftly through the new academic year, we look back at some of our past highlights. 

Transforming the Operatic Voice

The Knowledge Exchange Project 'Transforming the Operatic Voice' participated in the Knowledge Exchange Showcase. In this talk they look at the relationship between philosophy and the creative practice of music.

Watch here

Everything in Everything

Everything in Everything interprets the key principles of Anaxagoras's philosophy, arguing for its soundness and for the explanatory value of Anaxagoras's innovative ideas in relation to the questions he had set out to address. The book places Anaxagoras's view in dialogue with current concerns in metaphysics, regarding the question of whether reality is atomless or not, displaying relevance to ancient philosophy scholars and contemporary philosophers alike. 

Author Anna Marmodoro (Philosophy, University of Oxford) discussed the book and its themes with: 

Simona Aimar (Philosophy, UCL) and

Naoya Iwata (Philosophy, Cambridge University). 

Watch here

Events Calendar, Weeks 7-8

Monday 20 November

10:00am to 11:00am | DEATH AND (RE)BIRTH OF J. S. BACH

Reconsidering the Musical Work- and Author-Concepts

1:30pm to 5:30pm | EARLY CAREER RESEARCHER AWAY DAY - MIGRATION AND MOBILITY NETWORK

Oxford Migration and Mobility Network

6:00pm | THE ODYSSEY

Speaker: Emily Wilson (University of Pennsylvania)

Tuesday 21 November

12:30pm to 2:00pm | SILENT WITNESSES: TREES IN BRITISH ART 1760-1870

Speaker: Professor Christiana Payne

5:30pm to 7:00pm | ACADEMIC SPEED-DATING NETWORK DRINKS ON KEYWORD 'EXILE'

Academic Speed-dating

5:30pm to 7:00pm | DECORATIVE SUPREMACY. FRENCH DIPLOMATIC GIFTS IN THE 18TH CENTURY

Speaker: Dr Helen Jacobsen (The Wallace Collection)

5:30pm to 7:00pm | INFECTIOUS IDEAS

Speaker: Professor Kirsten E Shepherd-Barr (University of Oxford)

5:30pm to 7:00pm | LIVES AND LETTERS

Part of the Fame and Shame OCLW seminar series

Wednesday 22 November

11:00am | JOHN, THE SOLDIER, JACK THE TAR

Speaker: Joanne Begiato (Oxford Brookes)

12:00pm to 1:00pm | INFORMATION SESSION FOR FEMALE RESEARCHERS

Speakers: Alison Trinder, Abby Evans, and Anne Miller

1:00pm to 2:00pm | LGBT LIVES: NARRATIVES AND REPRESENTATION

Part of the 'Humanities & Identities' Series

5:15pm to 7:15pm | COMPARATIVE HISTORY OF LITERATURES

This event has been cancelled

5:15pm | PHOTOGRAPHIC BOOKART

Maison Française d'Oxford seminar

7:00pm | LEGAL CONSTRUCTION OF SCIENCE IN LIGHT OF ISLAMIC BIOETHICAL DISCOURSES

Part of the Islam and Biomedicine seminar series

Thursday 23 November

1:00pm to 2:00pm | UK DISABILITY HISTORY MONTH EVENT: WORK, TIME AND STRESS: HISTORICAL AND CONTEMPORARY PERSPECTIVES

Speaker: Professor Sally Shuttleworth

4:00pm | CONFLICTING MEMORIES

Speaker: Dr Matthew Leonard (University of Bristol and Cirencester College)

5:00pm | PROMINENT CHINESE WOMEN PAINTERS IN MID-20TH CENTURY BRITAIN

Speaker: Michaelle Huang (Lingnan University)

5:15pm to 6:45pm | SEMINAR ON DAVID FINKELSTEIN 'ON THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN CONSCIOUS AND UNCONSCIOUS STATES OF MIND'

Part of the Making the Unconscious Conscious series

8:00pm | AN INTRODUCTION TO ST. GREGORY

Saints and Sinners: An Introduction to the Four Latin Fathers of the Church 

8:00pm | AN INTRODUCTION TO ST. GREGORY

Saints and Sinners: An Introduction to the Four Latin Fathers of the Church 

8:00pm | RECITAL OF AMERICAN ART-SONG

Presented by Chris Eaglin and Nicole Panizza

Friday 24 November

9:00am to 1:00pm | MEMORABLE OBJECTS: POSTGRADUATE TRAINING DAY

Textual Commemoration: Mellon-Sawyer Seminar Series 

5:00pm to 6:30pm | ANGLO-NORMAN READING GROUP MT 2017

A forum in which to read, translate, and discuss a wide variety of Anglo-Norman texts

Monday 27 November

ALL DAY | DISCOVERING COLLECTIONS, DISCOVERING COMMUNITIES

A conference of collaboration between the archive, library, museum and academic sectors.

12:00pm | SINGULIER PLURIEL - SPÉCIFICITÉ DES ÉCRITURES POUR LA SCÈNE THÉÂTRALE

Playwright: Enzo Cormann

12:45pm to 2:00pm | BORDERS AND BORDERING PRACTICES IN LITERATURE, MIND, POLITICS, AND MEMORY

Hosted by the Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation programme

7:15pm | THEATRE AND PERFORMANCE STUDIES READING GROUP

Critical reading group

Tuesday 28 November

ALL DAY | DISCOVERING COLLECTIONS, DISCOVERING COMMUNITIES

A conference of collaboration between the archive, library, museum and academic sectors.

12:30pm to 2:00pm | PROFESSOR DANIEL GRIMLEY: 'DELIUS IN THE GARDEN'

Lunchtime Talk

2:00pm to 4:00pm | APPLIED ETHICS GRADUATE DISCUSSION GROUP

Session 4 of 4

4:00pm to 5:30pm | WAR AS REVOLUTION, 1914-1923

Valedictory lecture as finale of Professor Horne's Leverhulme Visiting Professorship

5:00pm | 'BEORHTRE BOTE': BEOWULF AND THE SATISFACTIONS OF COIN AND FLESH

Speaker: Professor Katherine O'Brein O'Keeffe

5:30pm to 7:00pm | KNOWLEDGE FOR DECISION MAKERS: AUSTRIAN-HABSBURG FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE IN THE LATE SIXTEENTH CENTURY

Dr Tobias Graf (University of Oxford, Faculty of History) 

5:30pm to 7:00pm | OCLW DOCTORAL STUDENTS PANEL

Part of the Fame and Shame OCLW seminar series

5:30pm to 7:00pm | ME AND MY BELIEFS

Challenges of identity and society

Wednesday 29 November

All Day | DISCOVERING COLLECTIONS, DISCOVERING COMMUNITIES

A conference of collaboration between the archive, library, museum and academic sectors.

11:00am | THE ZOUAVE MOMENT

Speaker: Carol Harrison (South Carolina)

1:00pm to 2:00pm | INSTRUMENTS OF STATUS: THE FLUTE IN EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY SCOTLAND

Instruments of the Eighteenth Century Seminar Series

1:00pm to 2:00pm | UNLOCKING THE CHURCH

Book at Lunchtime

5:30pm | FROM NATURAL RESOURCES TO PACKAGING, AN INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDY OF SKINCARE PRODUCTS OVER TIME

Speakers: Dr Thibaut Deviese (Archaeology/RLAHA), Dr Szu Wong (Keele University), and Dr Jane Draycott (University of Glasgow)

6:30pm to 8:00pm | THE WISDOM OF THE CROWD

Professor Marcus du Sautoy OBE FRS for a night of interactive experiments

7:00pm | PROPHETIC MEDICINE

Part of the Islam and Biomedicine seminar series

Thursday 30 November

ALL DAY | ANGLO/BELGIAN RESEARCH EXCHANGE

Closed workshop

11:30am to 2:30pm | MAKING SENSE OF NEGOTIATED TEXT AT SCALE: A WORKSHOP

How do we evaluate the relationship between different iterations of ideas in text form?

3:00pm to 5:00pm | COMPTON VERNEY ART GALLERY AND PARK

Site visit

5:00pm | DICKENS NOIR

Speaker: Lynda Nead (Birbeck, University of London)

5:00pm | INTERRACIAL INTIMACIES: RENEGOTIATING THE EAST AFRICAN ASIAN DIASPORA

Speaker: Saima Nasar 

5:15pm | DR ROSA LUXEMBURG: INDOMITABLE CARTOON SUPERHERO!

Speaker: Kate Evans

8:00pm to 9:30pm | AN INTRODUCTION TO ST. AUGUSTINE

Saints and Sinners: An Introduction to the Four Latin Fathers of the Church

Friday 1 December

ALL DAY | ANGLO/BELGIAN RESEARCH EXCHANGE

Closed workshop

10:30am to 4:00pm | BREATH, BREATHING, AND BEING

Discussions on respiration, phenomenology, and identity

12:30pm to 2:00pm | STEERING GROUP MEETING

Hosted by the TORCH Race and Resistance programme

3:00pm to 6:00pm | PRESENTING THE EARLY MODERN PERIOD

Workshop

5:15pm | REBEL LINES: COMICS AND THE ANARCHIST IMAGINATION

Speaker: Frederik Byrn Kohlert, Ole Birk Laursen, and Matt Jones

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Radcliffe Humanities, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6GG

01865 280101

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