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

TORCH Newsletter Trinity Term

Weeks 1 & 2 (23 April – 6 May 2017)

Welcome back after the break and the start of Trinity Term - here at TORCH, as always, there are many events, activities and projects to get involved with. The Networks and Programmes at TORCH are particularly busy this term, so be sure to check the listings in the Newsletter for the next two weeks and the website for the whole term. We are also thrilled to announce that in June we will be launching the Oxford city wide installation ‘The Gaps Between’ which includes images from people and groups of Oxford that challenge the perception of ‘what is Oxford?’ Look out for the 15 images up on famous Oxford buildings, including the Radcliffe Camera and Weston Library and for further information in the next newsletter. 

Highlighted Events

Volcanoes: Natural Disaster Narratives and the Environment in Caribbean Literature

Friday, May 5, 2017 - 12:30pm to 2:00pm

Lecture Theatre, Weston Library, Oxford

TORCH, The New Directions in Caribbean Studies Seminar, Race and Resistance Programme, the Fiction and Human Rights Network, and the Bodleian Library are hosting an event on 'Volcanoes: Natural Disaster Narratives and the Environment in Caribbean Literature'.

Please join us for a panel discussion where researchers on Caribbean literature reflect on the current Bodleian Volcanoes exhibition and explore more broadly how the theme of natural disaster narratives and the environment shape other aspects of Caribbean literature.

The exhibition explores a spectacular selection of eye witness accounts, scientific observations and artwork charting how our understanding of volcanoes has evolved over the past two millennia. More details can be found here.

A light lunch is available.

All welcome.

This event is free and open to the public. However, booking is recommended. Please click on the link to register for your free ticket.

Please click here for more information

News and Blogs

Video: Whither Death?

On 20 March 2017, Dr Helen Swift (Medieval and Modern Languages, University of Oxford) and Dr Jessica Goodman (Medieval and Modern Languages, University of Oxford) co-hosted a workshop on 'Whither Death?' In this TORCH Talk, they discuss why they focussed on this subject, what the workshop looked at and what it means for interdisciplinary humanities research. 

You can watch the video here.

This workshop was supported through the TORCH Annual Headline Series 2017 'Humanities & Identities'. 

Our Collections and their Audiences

In this Trusted Source blog post, The National Trust and University of Oxford muse on the challenges involved in showcasing their collections

You can read the post in full here

The Archive, the Canon, and C.L.R. James’s Dramas

In this Race and Resistance blog post, Anne Margaret Castro gives an overview of her current research on C.L.R.  James. Read the blog post in full here

Podcast: Walter Benjamin Meets the Cosmics

The “Cosmic Circle” was a Männerbund (society of men), anchored by the inimitable Stefan George, that prowled the Bohemian districts of fin-de-siècle Munich. Its members were committed aesthetes who celebrated matriarchy and hierarchy, engaged in séances and bacchanalia, and, during the late 1890s, hatched a improbable scheme to awaken a comatose Nietzsche through free form dance. They flirted with Ariosophy and contributed to Stefan George’s yearbook, Blätter für die Kunst, which unashamedly featured a swastika on its cover. Among its members were: Ludwig Klages, Alfred Schuler, and Karl Wolfskehl – the so-called “Jewish Cosmic.” Walter Benjamin eulogized the Cosmics: he corresponded with Klages and employed their ideas as the methodological cornerstone of his celebrated Arcades Project. Why did he revere their work, and why has the “Cosmic connection” been so little discussed in run-of-the-mill Benjamin scholarship?

Find out in this Crisis, Extremes and Apocalypse Network podcast

New Opportunities

New Network Scheme

TORCH invites applications from colleagues seeking to establish, or consolidate, multi- or interdisciplinary research networks to be based at the Radcliffe Humanities Building.

Each academic term The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH) will sponsor the creation and/or development of up to three multi- or interdisciplinary research networks by providing a venue, funding, a web presence and publicity. Funding will ordinarily be up to £2,500. Funding is for one year (renewable for a further year on application after first year). Applicants may also apply for funds from the John Fell Fund. The next deadline is midday Friday 26 May 2017.

Humanities Innovation Challenge Competition

Oxford University Innovation and TORCH are delighted to announce the launch of the second Humanities Innovation Challenge Competition. We are seeking innovative and entrepreneurial ideas from those whose research is based in a humanities discipline (affiliated to any department or faculty within the collegiate University) which they would like to bring to a wider audience. 

The challenge is to develop your best ideas by summarising them in 200 words. Entrants selected will be given mentoring to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges, in front of an audience, for a cash prize of £1,000 and for in-kind support worth over £5,000. The idea may come out of your academic work, or your other interests. Oxford University Innovation wants to support you in turning those ideas into opportunities. Perhaps you have a clever idea for a smart app such as the LIFE project , or educational interventions to support learning and development, or an innovative way of mounting lights – anything that can help others and be sustainable at the same time.

The teams will get the chance to pitch their idea to a judging panel of entrepreneurs, creative thinkers and innovation experts. All entries will be viewed by an expert at Oxford University Innovation and useful feedback provided.

For further details visit the website.

The deadline for entries is 8th May 2017.

AHRC-TORCH Public Engagement with Research Summer School

Applications are now being accepted from Humanities DPhil and Early Career Researchers at Oxford for this year’s AHRC-TORCH Public Engagement with Research Summer School, which will run from 10 - 14 July 2017. 

The school aims to introduce doctoral students and early career researchers to the idea and application of public engagement with research through experiential learning and to integrate public engagement into their research and professional identities of participating researchers. Deadline 28 April 2017.

Bowra Junior Research Fellowship in the Humanities

Wadham College proposes to elect a fixed-term non-stipendiary Junior Research Fellowship in the Humanities from 1st October 2017. The post is intended to provide a college attachment for a post-doctoral researcher in TORCH, and will be tenable for one year in the first instance and renewable for a further two years, or until the Faculty research post terminates, whichever is the sooner. 

The Fellowship is designed to support the post holder’s career development, primarily through the support of their research.

The College is an equal opportunities employer and applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in Oxford. Deadline 28 April 2017.

Call for Humanities Researchers to Celebrate Elias Ashmole's 400th Anniversary

The Ashmolean Museum is looking for Oxford scholars working on 17th Century research in the following areas: 

Civil War England
Royalists (17th C)
Elias Ashmole
History of Collecting

to take part in 15 minute lectures, workshops, and/or talks next to an Ashmolean object. This is part of the 400th anniversary celebration of Elias Ashmole through a Civil War Era party with re-enactors and a new painting by William Dobson. Deadline for expressions of interest is 1st May.

Hub Award: Call for Applications 2018-20 

The Hub Award brings researchers and creative professionals together at Wellcome Collection to work as a collaborative residency.

Wellcome is now accepting applications for a new group of residents in The Hub, beginning at the end of 2018. The grant supports an interdisciplinary group of researchers and creative minds to collaborate on a project of up to 2 years and £1m which explores the cultural and social contexts of health.

For more details about what the award is, who can apply, how to apply, deadlines and contact details please visit The Hub Award page.

Andrew W. Mellon 'Humanities & Identities' Workshop and Conference Funding

£500-£1000 sums available for conferences and workshops 

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

The series will focus on multiple research areas relating to diversity including race, gender, sexuality, disability, poverty, class, religion and inequality. Deadline 8 May 2017.

TORCH Oxford Medieval Studies Small Grants

The TORCH Oxford Medieval Studies Programme invites applications for small grants to support conferences, workshops, and other forms of collaborative research activity organised by students at postgraduate (whether MSt or DPhil) or early career level from across the Humanities Division at the University of Oxford.

The activity should take place in Oxford at any time between November 2017 and February 2018. The closing date for applications is Friday of Week 3 of Trinity Term (12 May 2017).

Upcoming Events

Book at Lunchtime: InHabit: People, Places and Possessions

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 - 12:30pm to 2:00pm

Seminar Room, Radcliffe Humanities, Oxford

Central to human life and experience, habitation forms a context for enquiry within many disciplines. Co-editors Dr Antony Buxton (Continuing Education, University of Oxford), Dr Linda Hulin (Archaeology, University of Oxford) and Dr Jane Anderson (Architecture, Oxford Brookes University) join this Book at Lunchtime event to discuss this collection. Bringing together perspectives on human habitation in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, social history, material culture, literature, art and design, and architecture, significant shared themes are the physical and social structuring of space, practice and agency, consumption and gender, and permanence and impermanence. Topics range from archaeological artefacts to architectural concepts, from Romano-British consumption to the 1950s Playboy apartment, from historical elite habitation to present-day homelessness, from dwelling "on the move" to the crisis of household dissolution, and from interior design to installation art. Not only is this volume a rich resource of varied aspects and contexts of habitation, it also provides compelling examples of the potential for interdisciplinary conversations around significant shared themes. 

Antony, Jane and Linda are joined by:

Dr Cathy Oakes (History of Art, University of Oxford)

Dr Oliver Cox (History, University of Oxford)

This event will be chaired by Professor William Whyte (History, University of Oxford). 

Lunch available from 12.30-13.00, discussion from 13.00-14.00. Free and all welcome.

Register here

Please click here for more information

An interactive workshop with Bill Kelly: Artist as Peacemaker

Sunday, April 30, 2017 -3:00pm to 8:00pm

The Ark T Centre, Crowell Rd, Oxford

Born in Buffalo, New York,  Kelly studied at Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the University of the Arts in Philadelphia USA. and at the National Gallery School, Melbourne., Australia. Having once called a park bench home, Kelly is a former steel worker, taxi driver, welder, Fulbright Scholar and former Dean at the Victorian Collage of the Arts , Melbourne.

Today Kelly is more notably recognised internationally as an artist and activist who works in many media though his past history resonates throughout his artistic enterprise which is characterised by a humanist approach and socially committed creative practice. Kelly lives and maintains a studio in a small bush town in rural Australia.

Join Bill Kelly, a committed humanist artist whose work strongly address the ideas and ideals of community and the power of art to contribute to cultural change.  Kelly is in Oxford for one day only so the ArkT Centre hopes you don't miss this opportunity to experience a innovative artist. 

All welcome. Email emmy@ark-t.org to reserve your ticket. 

Please click here for more information

TORCH Fiction and Human Rights Network Seminar

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 -12:30pm to 2:00pm

Seminar Room L, English Faculty, St Cross Building, Manor Road, Oxford

In Trinity Term the TORCH Fiction and Human Rights Network will host lunchtime seminars on the topic of Storytelling and the Law. Each seminar will bring together scholars from the Faculty of English (University of Oxford) and the Faculty of Law (University of Oxford) to discuss the narrative qualities of a notable legal speech or judgement.

This seminar will focus on Edward Carson’s opening speech for the defence in the famous case of Oscar Wilde v the Marquess of Queensberry. Discussion will be lead by Charles Foster (Law, Green Templeton), Peter McDonald (English, St Hugh’s), and Michèle Mendelssohn (English, Mansfield), and chaired by Michelle Kelly (English).

Please click here for more information

Pankaj Mishra: Age of Anger

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 - 5:00pm

Nissan Lecture Theatre, St Antony’s College, 62 Woodstock Rd, Oxford 

The TORCH Rethinking the Contemporary: The World since the Cold War network is hosting a conversation with Pankaj Mishra, Shruti Kapila and David Priestland. This will focus on the topic Nihilism in the the 21st Century.

Please click here for more information

Great Writers Inspire at Home: Kamila Shamsie

Thursday, May 4, 2017 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm

Seminar Room, Radcliffe Humanities, Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6GG

Kamila Shamsie is the acclaimed author of six novels. Born in Pakistan, she now lives in London. In conversation with TORCH Director Elleke Boehmer, she will read from her most recent novel, A God in Every Stone (2014). Mostly set in London and Peshawar in the first decades of the twentieth century, the novel explores ‘the communality [and] contradictions … of empire’ (Tabish Khair, Financial Times). In an opening session, reading groups who have read the novel will be able to offer responses to their experiences of reading it.

This workshop series on postcolonial reading will be hosted jointly by the Oxford English Faculty and TORCH as the Postcolonial Writing and Theory seminar series in Trinity 2017. The seminars will bring a number of contemporary British writers into conversation with readers to discuss how British postcolonial literature shapes our perceptions of the world today and our identities within it.

All welcome. Reserve your place here

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. 

Between Morality and the Marketplace

In this TORCH Oxford Celebrity Network event on 'Between Morality and the Marketplace: Literary Celebrity and the Transatlantic Anti-Slavery Movement' Simon Morgan (Leeds Beckett University) examined these tensions through the contrasting cases of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Beecher Stowe. The former trying to use his status as an ex-slave and anti-slavery orator to promote himself as an author, the latter using her status as international literary celebrity to claim authority as a spokeswoman against slavery. For both literature was an avenue through which they could intervene effectively in political debate and construct their public personae.

Listen here

Making Sense of Kurdish Identity Through the Middle Ages

In this TORCH Long History of Identity, Ethnicity and Nationhood event, Boris James focussed on two historical situations each one highlighting one factor that contributed to the shaping of Kurdish medieval identity.

Listen here

Events Calendar, Weeks 1-2

Monday 24 April

12:30 – 14:00 | LGBT+ 101

An information session

14:00 | FIELDS OF KNOWLEDGE: NATURAL HISTORY, ANTIQUARIANISM AND THE DISCOVERY OF THE ROMANTIC NORTH

Speaker: Dr Kim Simonsen

Tuesday 25 April

12:00 – 13:30 | EXTREME PIETY AND FUNDAMENTALISM

Lecture re-examining religious fundamentalism in today's world.

14:00 | MASTERCLASS IN CONCEPTUAL POETRY

With Dr Kim Simonsen

16:00 | THE NYE COMMISSION AND AMERICA'S ENTRY INTO WORLD WAR ONE

Speaker: Professor Christopher Capozzola (Massachusetts Institutre of Technology)

18:15 | SINGING THE PSALMS IN SIXTEENTH CENTURY GERMANY

Speaker: Professor Henrike Lähnemann

Wednesday 26 April

12:30 – 14:00 | TORCH FICTION AND HUMAN RIGHTS NETWORK

Storytelling and the Law

14:00 | RODERICK WILLIAMS (BARITONE)

Event hosted by The Oxford Song Network

17:00 – 19:00 | OXFORD PHENOMENOLOGY NETWORK SEMINAR

Seminar run by TORCH Oxford Phenomenology Network

17:00 | UNDERSTANDING BARBARIAN MIGRATIONS THROUGH GENOMIC RESEARCH

An interdisciplinary conversation between humanities and the sciences  

19:00 | THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN: AN AMERICAN PORTRAIT OF CZESŁAW MIŁOSZ

Screening and discussion

Thursday 27 April

9:30 | METHODOLOGICAL INNOVATION IN LATE MEDIEVAL STUDIES

MALMECC Inaugural Workshop

13:15 – 15:15 | DYSTOPIA TODAY

Speaker: Gregory Claeys (Royal Holloway, University of London)

17:00 – 19:00 | GREAT WRITERS INSPIRE AT HOME: READERS AND READINGS

Part of the Postcolonial Writing and Theory seminar series Trinity Term 2017

Friday 28 April

9:30 | METHODOLOGICAL INNOVATION IN LATE MEDIEVAL STUDIES

MALMECC Inaugural Workshop

13:00 – 14:00 | STEERING GROUP MEETING

TORCH Race and Resistance programme

13:00 – 14:30 | HEIDEGGER READING GROUP

Discussing "The Question Concerning Technology”

17:00 – 19:00 | ROBESPIERRE AND THE POLITICIANS’ TERROR

Marisa Linton (Kingston University) discusses Terror and the National Convention during the French Revolution

Monday 1 May

17:00 | WINGS

Part of the RAI Goes to the Movies series

Tuesday 2 May

17:15 | NOTES TOWARD A THEORY OF THE GLOBAL GRAPHIC PROTEST NOVEL

Speaker: Charlotta Salmi

18:15 | ‘“SO WILL I EVER SING PRAISES TO YOUR NAME” PSALMS IN CONTEMPORARY MUSIC’

Speaker: Bill Goodman

Wednesday 3 May

12:30 – 14:00 | INHABIT: PEOPLE, PLACES AND POSSESSIONS

Book at Lunchtime event

15:00 | BYZANTINISM, HELLENISM, AND ROMAN REPUBLICANISM: BYZANTINE IDENTITIES AS CONSTRUCTS OF EUROPEAN FANTASY AND WESTERN HEGEMONY?

Speaker: Yannis Stouraitis (University of Vienna)

17:00 | PANKAJ MISHRA: AGE OF ANGER

A Conversation with Pankaj Mishra, Shruti Kapila and David Priestland 

Tuesday 4 May

17:00 – 19:00 | GREAT WRITERS INSPIRE AT HOME: KAMILA SHAMSIE

Part of the Postcolonial Writing and Theory seminar series Trinity Term 2017

17:30 | HERITAGE AS BUSINESS

Part of the 'MOVING, TEACHING, INSPIRING: The National Trust & University of Oxford in the 21st Century' lecture series.

Friday 5 May

9:30 – 17:00 | CRITICAL VISUALIZATION ONE-DAY SYMPOSIUM

With presentations, demonstrations, and panel sessions across the disciplinary spectrum

12:30 – 14:00 | VOLCANOES

Natural Disaster Narratives and the Environment in Caribbean Literature 

13:00 – 14:30 | HEIDEGGER READING GROUP

Discussing "The Question Concerning Technology”

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