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

TORCH Newsletter Hilary Term

Weeks 9 & 10 (11th – 24th March 2018)

TORCH would like to welcome a new network to its thriving community of humanities researchers: the PastNet Network aims to foster cross-disciplinary exchange to push network research further. The historical disciplines can contribute new spatio-temporal approaches and datasets to network research, whereas the traditional network research disciplines will further stimulate the critical application of network approaches to the study of the human past. For more information on how to get involved, please click here.  

The Gender and Authority Network is calling for contributions to its edited volume Gender and Authority. For details click here.

Videos of recent events including Valuing Women with Disabilities: Infantilised, Medicalised, Pauperised?, James Joyce and the Phenomenology of Film, and Late Victorian Into Modern are available on our website.

This is our final newsletter of the term, however, the newsletter will be back in Trinity Term. You can check for updates on events, discussions and opportunities on our Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as our website in the meantime. 

Highlighted Event

Gendering Internationalism - Gendering Jewish Internationalism

Weston Library and Brasenose College, Oxford
Monday, March 12, 2018 - 2:00pm to Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 5:00pm

This workshop has two aims: first, to bring considerations of gender into international history; second, to reconceptualise international Jewish history as having a gendered dimension. This focus on the experience of a particular group of actors will allow for a more systematic engagement with the conceptual issues involved in gendering internationalism.

The workshop will explore how hierarchical relations between men and women, social and cultural constructions of masculinity/femininity, organizational structures and asymmetries, division of labor along gender lines, and relationships among activists vary according to certain gender dynamics, and how they interacted with a variety of internationalist commitments, ideologies, and causes. This could include secularism, spirituality, and religious commitments; liberalism and the habits of diasporic belonging; or socialism/Bundism, pacifism, nationalism/Zionism, trafficking, migration/refugees, and communism.

Speakers include Anne Summers, Rebecca Kobrin, Glenda Sluga, and Deborah Hertz

Organised by Dr. Jaclyn Granick and Professor Abigail Green, University of Oxford

Places are limited and registration essential.

This event is organised by the TORCH Women in Humanities programme.

Please click here for more information

News, Blogs and Calls for Papers

A Fresh Ear for Late Schumann

On 27 February 1854, the acclaimed composer Robert Schumann attempted suicide by jumping off a bridge into the Rhine. Although he was rescued by boatmen and brought home, he afterwards insisted on being placed in an asylum for his own and his family's good. He would spend the last two years of his life there, before dying of pneumonia at the age of 46.

For several years beforehand, he had been plagued by auditory hallucinations, erratic moods and depressive episodes — which historians speculate might have been the result of anything from bipolar disorder to syphilis or mercury poisoning. Despite these symptoms, he still experienced fits of creative energy, producing several pieces in this time, including the Maria Stuart songs and Lenau Lieder. Because of their radically different style to his earlier works, these have often been taken as a symptom of a tragic creative decline, the work of a man whose judgement was fatally impaired by the ravages of his illness.

But according to Laura Tunbridge, Professor in Oxford's Faculty of Music and Henfrey Fellow and Tutor at St Catherine's College, there is no reason to assume that.

Read this Artistic License blog in full here

Call for Papers: Post-War: Remembrance, Recollection, Reconciliation

This one-day interdisciplinary conference is the culmination of the Mellon-Sawyer Seminar Series Post-War: Commemoration, Reconstruction, Reconciliation. Over the course of the 2017-18 academic year, the Series has brought together academics, creative practitioners, field-workers and policy-makers to explore textual, monumental and aural commemoration and its role in reconciliation and peace-building. This conference provides an unprecedented opportunity for graduates to contribute to and profit from the Series’ findings. Postgraduate students and early career researchers from all disciplines are invited to share their original research in a conference interested in the purpose, practice, significance and consequences of commemorative acts which respond to and emerge from armed conflict. We are particularly interested in what the future of commemorative practice might look like, and how new technologies and social media are changing the ways in which people remember and heal.

Please send an abstract of 250 words for a 20-minute paper and a short biography (max. 150 words) in a single Word document to by Friday 23 March 2018.

For more information please click here.

Video: A Celebration of the Centenery of the Birth of Olive Gibbs

Olive Gibbs, born February 1918, was a Labour councillor on the City and County Councils. She saved Jericho from destruction and got the Cutteslowe wall demolished. She was also a founding member and the national chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). 


Bruce Kent (former general secretary, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament), Simon Gibbs (son of Olive Gibbs), Christine Simm (Oxford Deputy Lord Mayor), Liz Woolley (Oxford local historian,

Watch the video here.

This event was part of Oxford International Women's Festival, marked the centenary of partial women's suffrage and was part of the Humanities & Identities series. 6 February also marked the passing of the Representation of the People Act 1918.

Wagner 1900

Registration for ‘Wagner 1900’, an interdisciplinary conference hosted by Jesus College and the Faculty of Music at the University of Oxford on 9-11 April 2018, is open until 18 March 2018.

With a rich academic programme, Wagner 1900 will investigate the impact of Richard Wagner on fin-de-siècle Vienna in music, history, politics, the visual arts, theatre and German culture. The conference features an interview with singer Susan Bullock on her Wagnerian performances, as well as two performances:

Kokoschka’s Doll/The Art of Love (2017), Holywell Music Room, 10 April, 8.30pm

Kokoschka’s Doll, commissioned from John Casken by the ensemble Counterpoise, investigates the tempestuous love affair between Alma Mahler and Oskar Kokoschka. The singer/narrator will be the distinguished bass Sir John Tomlinson. The first half of the programme sets the scene with a sequence of music and text featuring the work of Gustav and Alma Mahler, Wagner and Zemlinsky, under the title The Art of Love: Alma Mahler’s Life and Music. The sequence, performed by the mezzo-soprano Rozanna Madylus, incorporates an unpublished song by Alma Mahler, previously unperformed in the UK.

Isolde (1903/2018), Sheldonian Theatre, 11 April, 8.30pm

Isolde combines a historical perspective on the landmark Mahler/Roller production of Tristan und Isolde in Vienna (1903) with a bold new interpretation of the opera, performed in an intimate chamber reduction, focusing on the character of Isolde. The performance will be conducted by John Warner with the ‘Wagner 1900’ orchestra, and directed by Cecilia Stinton, with Kirstin Sharpin (Isolde) and Mae Heydorn (Brangäne).

For details please click here.

New Opportunities

Comics and Graphic Novels Network: Call for Committee Members

The TORCH Network, 'Comics and Graphic Novels: The Politics of Form', which exists primarily to promote the academic study of comics and graphic novels at Oxford, is seeking a new committee member. The Network especially sets out to cultivate an open, democratic and inclusive environment where comics and other kinds of graphic and sequential-visual narrative can be considered as both literary and artistic forms, and their varying cultural, social and political implications discussed, debated and analysed by students and academics of all levels. Comprised of seminars with talks from visiting comics critics and practitioners throughout the Oxford term time, the network aims to facilitate a new interdisciplinary dialogue about a form that demands more comprehensive and ongoing critical analysis.

We therefore welcome expressions of interest from students and academics of any disciplinary background and career stage to join the network committee.

Please click here for more information.

Nature of replication: Natural History Museums & the circulation of casts and models

The UCL Institute of Archaeology, and the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (OUMNH) are pleased to announce the availability of a fully funded three-year doctoral grant 2018–21, to enable the exploration and reassessment of the history, significance and curatorial future of natural history cast collections.

This studentship is funded through the AHRC's Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) scheme. See

This project links to current research being undertaken by OUMNH in collaboration with Warwick Manufacturing Group (University of Warwick) to explore the use of the next generation of 3D visualisation and prototyping in museum spaces, together with the qualitative and quantitative evaluation of user experience.

Starting with examples from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, which holds the ‘Oxford dodo’, one of the most replicated museum objects in the world, alongside other examples of specimens which were and still are displayed and produced as casts and replicas, this project will piece together the history of cast production as way of sharing ideas as well as examining how museums can best record, promote and display these sometimes second class objects today.

Deadline 18 April 2018. 

For more information click here

Oxfordshire Science and Ideas Festival

The call to participate in this years’ Science and Ideas Festival is now open, and will close on Monday 30 April. The expression of interest form can be found here:

IF Oxford Science are keen to work with academics, researchers, businesses, charities and community groups to build an exciting, innovative, high quality programme of events based around science and technology, social science, arts and humanities and are particularly interested in events that will combine and cut across these disciplines.

There are three opportunities in March for you to meet the Festival team informally and discuss how you might choose to be involved. 

For more information click here

TORCH-Mellon Humanities & Identities Conference and Workshop Funding

We welcome proposals from Oxford researchers in the humanities or in collaboration with humanities scholars for workshops/conferences relating to the headline theme ‘Humanities & Identities’, funded by the VC Diversity Fund and the Andrew W Mellon Foundation.

There are £500-£1000 sums available. 

The series will focus on multiple research areas relating to diversity including race, gender, sexuality, disability, poverty, class, religion and inequality.

For full details click here

Deadline 1 June 2018. 

TORCH-Mellon Visiting 'Global South' Professorships and Mellon 'Global South' Fellowships

We are looking for applications from Oxford Humanities academics to host a visiting ‘Global South’ Professorship or Fellowship between 2017-2019.

These visiting professorships and fellowships cover bursary, travel, accommodation and hosting while the visiting speakers carry out a series of public events, seminars and drop-in discussions, also including, filming and live web-streaming.

The Mellon ‘Global South’ Visiting Professorships and Fellowships will run January-March, May-June, or October-November, that is to say, in term. We will welcome participation from Visitors in our TORCH networks and programmes, including ‘Women in the Humanities’, ‘Medical Humanities’, and ‘Race and Resistance’.

For more information click here

Deadline 1 June 2018.

TORCH 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 1 June 2018.

For a full list of current opportunities, please visit the website

Upcoming Events

Girls, Travel and Global Issues: Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 (All day)
Seminar West, Garden Building, Mansfield College, Oxford, OX1 3TF 

The Centre for Gender, Identity and Subjectivity are hosting a one-day workshop with the support of TORCH on 'Girls, Travel and Global Issues: Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives'.

This workshop provides an opportunity for scholars working in the social sciences, literature and history to compare methodologies and concepts for exploring girlhood mobility. Themes include travel, migration, displacement and networking across diverse global contexts.

Attendance is free and includes lunch and refreshments, but registration is essential. Click here to register.

Please click here for more information

Oxford University Innovation Friday Drop-In Session

Friday, March 16, 2018 -10:30am to 12:30pm
Weston Library foyer

Have you got an idea that you think people will be interested in? You know that it solves a problem but would like some advice on how to take it forward.

Oxford University Innovation is one of the many organisations around Oxford that can help. The idea could have come as a result of your research or it could be in a completely different field. Either way, we’re here to offer advice and support and to help you take it forward.

It could be an idea for a business, a social enterprise, an app, a new methodology, a more efficient way of doing things. Whatever it is (and at whatever stage your idea is at) pop along to see them for an informal chat.

Please click here for more information

Storytelling in Medicine

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 - 1:00pm to 5:30pm
Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole Street LONDON W1G 0AE

This day meeting will explore storytelling in medicine and the impact of the medical humanities, with medical authors providing an insight into their work.

Dr Sam Guglani, Consultant Clinical Oncologist, Cheltenham and Curator and Director, Medicine Unboxed, will discuss his new novel, Histories, a hypnotic portrait of life in one hospital, over one week. Book now to secure your place.

This event is organised by the TORCH Medical Humanities programme.

Please click here for more information

Oxford and Oxford Community and Engagement Workshops

Saturday, March 17, 2018 - 10:30am to 2:30pm
Pavillion Room, St Antony's College, Oxford, 62 Woodstock Road, OX2 6JF 

The gap between University and Community holds Oxford back from moving forwards in an equitable and fair manner. Communication between the two spheres must improve.

Oxford and Oxford hopes to begin a conversation to bridge this gap, to create a sustainable and mutually beneficial relationship amongst activists from the city's universities and its more local communities.

Forty individuals will have the opportunity to engage with four hugely experienced and inspiring community-based activists to learn more about their work: how it began, what it has achieved, and how it looks to progress in the future.


Shabnam Sabir, who is a passionate community activist who looks to bring people together from all walks of life. Specifically, Shabnam created the Oxford Homeless Project, which has been working closely alongside university activists to provide support to those who have been failed by the state and are currently homeless in the city. 

Junie James, who works through ACKHI, the "Afrikan, Caribbean Kultural Heritage Initiative" to promote and support events ongoing in Oxford. This year, events are particularly related to the 70th Anniversary of the HMT Empire Windrush's first journey transporting individuals from the West Indies to Britain. 

David Bailey, who works closely with Oxfordshire Refugee Solidarity, a group who provide much needed assistance to refugees both in the United Kingdom, and abroad, in Calais and Dunkirk. David helps organise a group every two months who go out to Calais to provide front-line support to the refugees still stranded. 

Jameelah Shodunke, who works with migrant and refugee women, offering spaces for socialising, and linking them to services which look to help them if they are experiencing physical, sexual, or emotional violence.

This event has been made possible due to the efforts of the Black and Minority Ethnic Officers at St Antony's College, the Antonian Fund, TORCH Race and Resistance Programme, and Common Ground.

Please click here for more information

Looking back

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

A Genre in Crisis: The Novel in 1940s France

The TORCH Crisis, Extremes, and Apocalypse network hosted a talk with Professor Ann Jefferson (French, University of Oxford) on 'A Genre in Crisis: The Novel in 1940s France'. The French novel has twice been deemed to be in crisis over the course of the 20th century, first from the 1890s to the 1920s and then during the 1940s. In this talk I shall be exploring what factors were at stake in this extreme-sounding diagnosis of a literary genre.

Listen here

Public Engagement Summer School 2016

Learn about our AHRC-TORCH workshops and training sessions for Post-Graduates and Early Career Researchers.

Watch here

Events Calendar, Weeks 9-10

Sunday 11 March


Oxford International Women's Festival 2018

7:30pm to 10:00pm | LET’S CELEBRATE….

Oxford International Women's Festival 2018

Monday 12 March


A workshop


Early Medieval Alans in the Kislovodsk Basin

Tuesday 13 March


Writing Technology /Technology of Writing


“L’écrit technique avant le XXe siècle” and “L’analogie dans les techniques”

Wednesday 14 March


One-day workshop


Medical Humanitites


Professor Colin Mayer (University of Oxford)

Thursday 15 March


Speakers: Cecilia Feila and Fiona McIntosh

Friday 16 March


Have you got an idea that you think people will be interested in?

Saturday 17 March


Two manuscripts of the Wycliffite Bible will be on display during the conference


A one day conference


Alinging the university and community 

Sunday 18 March


International Colloquium

Monday 19 March


The Study of Medieval Music Manuscript Fragments (ca. 800-1500)

Thursday 22 March


Early Career Workshop in Medieval Intellectual History

Friday 23 March


Have you got an idea that you think people will be interested in?

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The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities

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

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