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

TORCH Newsletter Michaelmas Term

Weeks 1 & 2 (7 October – 21 October 2017)

Welcome to Michaelmas Term here at TORCH where we have a fresh term of interdisciplinary humanities events, news, and opportunities. 

We start by welcoming Philip Ross Bullock as the new TORCH Director. Philip is Professor of Russian Literature and Music as well as co-convenor of the TORCH Oxford Song Network. Philip takes over from Elleke Boehmer who has led TORCH for the last two years and to whom we are very grateful. We are also pleased that Elleke will continue to be a key part of TORCH working on the Humanities & Identities theme, and Race and Resistance Programme.

Philip joins us at an exciting time as we continue with Humanities & Identities and as humanities research at Oxford has received further recognition for the quality of its scholarship. The Times Higher Education World Rankings have placed the University of Oxford first in the UK and fourth globally (after Stanford University, MIT - Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University) for its research in the arts and humanities. You can read more about this great news here

On Friday 29 September, the University of Oxford held its largest ever public engagement event called Curiosity Carnival. Funded through a European Commission grant, the event saw humanities DPhil students, researchers and senior academics lead talks, performances and activities across the University's museums, gardens and libraries. Oxford's heritage buildings including Radcliffe Humanities, were also lit up as part of Night of Heritage Light. We hope those of you who joined us on the night enjoyed the event and getting curious! 

We have a fresh line-up of Book at Lunchtime discussions coming up and we will be continuing our Disability and Curriculum Diversity series. Do take a look below and on our website for further information and details on how to register. There are also a range of events and activities taking place through our Networks and Programmes, some of which are new to TORCH. We welcome the Migration and Mobility Network and Diplomacy in Early Modern Europe 1400-1800 Network.

Highlighted Events

Hidden Beneath the Surface: Untold Tales of Neurodivergence and Mental Difference in Oxford

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm
Lecture Theatre, Pitt Rivers Museum, South Parks Road, Oxford

Oxford can be a place where those who are neurodivergent or have mental ill health can often go unseen and unheard. This event on 'Hidden Beneath the Surface: Untold Tales of Neurodivergence and Mental Difference in Oxford' brings together a panel of students, staff, and researchers to address this in two ways. Miranda Reilly will share her experience of creating a Disability Trail for Oxford's museums, helping to bring some of those hidden stories to light. Sonia Boué has undertaken groundbreaking work with the Arts Council to make the mechanisms that fund research accessible so that those stories can make themselves heard. Dan Holloway will talk about the business case for institutions such as Oxford both enabling and supporting individuals in the workforce and removing barriers to recruitment and progression so that all of us can benefit from the value of a mentally diverse workplace.

This event will be chaired by Marie Tidball (Knowledge Exchange Fellow, TORCH, University of Oxford).

Lunch will be available from 12.30pm. Discussion from 1-2pm. Booking is essential. Please register here

This event marks World Mental Health Day 2017 and is part of the TORCH Humanities & Identities Series. 

Please click here for more information

News and Blogs

Digital Humanities Research, Teaching and Practice in the UK

Are you interested in Digital Humanities? Are you involved in digital humanities research and/or teaching? We welcome your co-operation in research that is taking place to:

·         Identify current and future digital humanities (DH) support needs; 

·         Explore demand for a national digital humanities network or association.

This is part of a project that the School of Advanced Study has commissioned, in collaboration with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Academy and the British Library.The research is being carried out by an independent research company, Marketwise Strategies Limited.

Please help us by taking part in a short survey that:

·         Asks about the digital humanities activity that you are aware of within your own institution;

·         Seeks your views on the role that a national digital humanities network or association might potentially play. 

Please do also forward this call to other colleagues within your institution involved in digital humanities research and/or teaching, or with an interest in DH so as to obtain maximum representation from academics involved in digital humanities in the UK.

Please click here to go to the survey.

For more information, please click here

Change and Decay: A History of Damage and Conservation in Balliol’s Medieval Manuscripts

A new exhibition of medieval manuscripts is open now and throughout Michaelmas Term (until 10 December 2017) at Balliol Historic Collections Centre, St Cross Church, Manor Road OX1 3UH.

The exhibition is curated by Balliol’s Archivist and Curator of Manuscripts, Anna Sander, and includes more than 20 of Balliol’s 300+ original medieval manuscript codices and a number of contemporary documents from the College records, and highlights a decade of work on the archives and manuscripts by the team of professional conservators at the Oxford Conservation Consortium, of which Balliol has been a member since 2006.

For more information, please click here

Video: Complexity in our Multiple Identities: the 2017 Disability Lecture

Disability is one among our many possible identities, but it is one that is often hidden, necessitating constant choices about whether and how to share information. Marie Tidball (Knowledge Exchange Fellow, TORCH), Dan Holloway (Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics) and Torø Graven (Department of Experimental Psychology), who all work for the University, share their individual approaches to disability in personal and professional spheres.

This event was chaired by Dr Rebecca Surender (Pro Vice-Chancellor and Advocate for Equality and Diversity, University of Oxford).

Watch the video here

This event was co-hosted by TORCH and the Equality and Diversity Unit and was part of the Humanities & Identities series. 

Call for Applications: Public Engagement with Research Seed Fund

The University’s PER Seed Fund is now open for applications. This University of Oxford small grants scheme provides funds for researchers to develop, deliver and evaluate Public Engagement with Research projects and activities.

For more information, details on how to apply and information on previously funded projects click here.

Deadline Friday 20th October.

New Opportunities

Africa- Oxford (AfOx) Travel Grants

Africa - Oxford (AfOx) travel grants support the establishment of new collaborations between Africa and Oxford for research or teaching. 

AfOx travel grants supports visits between potential collaborators in African institutions and their colleagues in Oxford, with a view to developing new collaborations around research or teaching. Applications are open to any discipline within the University.

The grant can be used to cover costs of travel (in either direction i.e. Oxford staff to an African institution or vice versa), accommodation and incidental expenses to a maximum of £5000 (it is anticipated that visits in general will be for periods between 1-8 weeks). Applications are made jointly between a member of staff at Oxford and a potential collaborator in an African institution (the travel award may cover more than two people and additional individuals should be named under purpose of the grant). The overarching aim of the scheme is to foster the development of new collaborations and the scheme is not intended to be used as alternative support for already established collaborations. The application will be reviewed and receive feedback within 7 days. 

For more information, please click here

Global Challenges Research Fund

The Global Challenges Research Fund supports interdisciplinary research excellence with impact in developing countries. Oxford has decades of experience and expertise conducting research in lower- and middle-income countries across all our divisions. Their case studies demonstrate the breadth of research and impact across the world, whilst their interactive map demonstrates the scale of research conducted by Oxford.

GCRF also provide a range of practical resources for researchers conducting or beginning to conduct research in developing countries. Please see the GCRF funding pages for calls and opportunities to support global challenges research – both GCRF and beyond.

For more information, please see the website.

Medieval Studies Grants 2017

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 April 2018. 

For more information, please click here

Deadline Friday 27 October 2017.

Mellon Humanities & Identities Conference and Workshop Funding 

£500-£1000 sums available for conferences and workshops.

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.

Applications should be no longer than 2 pages long and outline the research questions and areas covered by the workshop/conference, timeframe, indicative budget and academic leads, which should also include early career researchers.

For more information, please click here

The next deadline is midday Friday 10 November 2017.

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.

Each academic term The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities 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). 

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 10 November 2017.

Oxford Playhouse Spotlight Discussions

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

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 OP 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 2nd November: Driving Miss Daisy

• Thursday 16th November: As You Like It

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

For more information please click here.

Fellowship by Examination (JRF) 2018, Magdalen College

The College proposes to elect up to four Fellows by Examination (elsewhere known as Junior Research Fellows (JRF)).  The successful candidates will already have demonstrated outstanding promise in their research.

Each Fellowship is tenable for three years at a stipend currently starting at £22,091 per annum, subject to an annual cost of living award, and partnered accommodation in College free of charge or, alternatively, a taxable housing allowance currently set at £15,000 per annum.  During the first two years of appointment, the Fellow is a member of the Governing Body of the College, and for all three years of appointment is entitled to: free lunches and dinners in College and a research allowance.  Fellows by Examination are expected to live in the Oxford area, and their research base must be in Oxford.

Candidates should have an Honours degree or an equivalent qualification and have completed, or be near to completing a doctorate or other post-graduate research. 

For more information, please click here.

The closing date is UK time 12 noon on Thursday 12 October 2017.

Win an Oxford Sparks Animation

Oxford Sparks are offering one research group the chance to make an animation with them for free. Just fill out this simple form by 5pm Friday 17 November 2017.

What's included?

You'll get the full Oxford Sparks treatment, which includes: a two minute animation produced on your research in the Oxford Sparks style, a teaching resources pack designed for secondary science teachers related to the animation, and promotion of the animation via our social media channels (which could also include doing a Facebook live interview/event).

For more information, please click here.

Deadline 5pm Friday 17 November.

Upcoming Events

Book at Lunchtime: Representing the Dead

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm
Seminar Room, Radcliffe Humanities, Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6GG

Who am I when I am dead? Several late-medieval French writers used literary representation of the dead as a springboard for exploring the nature of human being. Death is a critical moment for identity definition: one is remembered, forgotten or, worse, misremembered. 

Author Helen J. Swift (Medieval and Modern Languages, University of Oxford) joins an expert panel to discuss the book and its themes. Joining Helen are: 

Jess Goodman (Medieval and Modern Languages, University of Oxford)

Michele Aaron (Film and Television Studies, University of Warwick)

Chairing: Neil Kenny (Medieval and Modern Languages, University of Oxford)

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

Booking is essential. Register for your seat here

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

Memoir and Memory: Aminatta Forna in Conversation with Elleke Boehmer

Friday, October 20, 2017 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm
Lecture Theatre 3, Andrew Wiles Building (Mathematical Institute), Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6GG

Aminatta Forna, OBE (novelist and memoirist, Lannan Visiting Professor of Poetics at Georgetown University) in conversation with Elleke Boehmer (Professor of World Literature in English, University of Oxford).

In this conversation, award-winning novelist and memoirist Aminatta Forna and Elleke Boehmer will discuss the ways in which Ms Forna’s work (which includes her novel The Memory of Love and memoir about Sierra Leone, The Devil That Danced on the Water) have portrayed situations of conflict and post-conflict, and how literature can offer new perspectives on commemoration, reconstruction and reconciliation.

This event is free but booking is essential. Please register here to reserve your place.

Please click here for more information

Fighting Words: Fifteen Books that Shaped the Postcolonial World

Friday, October 20, 2017 - 12:30pm to 1:45pm

The Race and Resistance Programme is delighted to celebrate the publication of the inaugural volume in its book series. Fighting Words: Fifteen Books that Shaped the Postcolonial World is edited by Dominic Davies, Erica Lombard and Benjamin Mountford.

Can a book change the world? Fighting Words examines how the book as a cultural form has fuelled resistance to empire in the long twentieth century. Through fifteen case studies (ranging from The Communist Manifesto to Long Walk to Freedom)  this collection explores the ways in which books have circulated anti-imperial ideas, as they themselves have circulated as objects and commodities within regional, national and transnational networks. What emerges is a complex portrait of the vital and multifaceted role played by the book in both the formation and the form of anticolonial resistance, and the development of the postcolonial world.

At this launch event, the editors - Dominic DaviesErica Lombard and Benjamin Mountford - will each speak briefly about the book. This will be followed by responses and discussion led by an expert panel: Wale Adebanwi (Rhodes Professor of Race Relations, African Studies, Oxford); Elleke Boehmer (Professor of World Literature in English, Oxford) and Asha Rogers (Lecturer in Contemporary Postcolonial Literature, University of Birmingham). Tessa Roynon (University of Oxford) will chair the event.

Copies of the book will be on sale.

Please click here for more information

Darwin's Beard - and Other Adventures in Victorian Facial Hair

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm
Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College, Linton Rd, Oxford OX2 6UD

The Oxford Centre for Life-Writing are hosting a seminar series on 'Fame and Shame'. This seminar is on 'Darwin's Beard - and Other Adventures in Victorian Facial Hair' with Kathryn Hughes. Kathryn, author of Victorians Undone, discusses the politics of facial hair in the nineteenth century and reveals that surprising stories of men and women behind some of the period's best known beards.

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. 

Dystopia Today

What does it mean to say, as so many now do, that we live in "dystopian" times? With widespread anxiety introduced by Brexit, the Trump presidency, and comparisons with Hitler, and the 1930s, and environmental catastrophe looming, are we on the cusp of a new dystopia? Gregory Claeys considers what dystopia means to us, how the literary tradition helps us to engage with it, and what to do about it. Greg Claeys is the author of the recently published Dystopia: A Natural History.

Listen here

Crime-Stopping Medicine: Swapping the Death Penalty for Drugs

What if, instead of killing criminals, we could simply make them better people – just by popping a pill? TORCH expert Dr David Birks talks to Oxplore, a University outreach project aimed at 11 to 18 year olds about the future of punishment and the possibility of a crime-stopping drug.

For more on this and other questions visit Oxplore.

Watch here

Events Calendar, Weeks 1-2

Thursday 5 October

12:30pm - 2:00pm | 'ACADEMIC SPEED-DATING' NETWORK LUNCH

Migration and Mobility Network lunch

Friday October 6, 2017

19:00 – 21:00 | SOUTH EAST EMERGING MUSEUMS PROFESSIONALS GROUP

Second meeting building networks, support, and guidance

Monday 9 October

16:30 – 18:00 | BIGOTRY AND RACISM, FROM THE GLOBAL TO THE LOCAL

A roundtable

19:15 – 20:00 | WELCOME DRINKS

Hosted by Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation Programme

19:15 – 20:00 | EAST EUROPEAN CROSSROADS IN ENGLISH TRANSLATION

Speakers: Żanna Słoniowska (Writer); Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Translator); Chair: Ania Ready (Publisher)

Tuesday 10 October

13:00 – 14:00 | HIDDEN BENEATH THE SURFACE: UNTOLD TALES OF NEURODIVERGENCE AND MENTAL DIFFERENCE IN OXFORD

World Mental Health Day 2017

17:00 | A BAROQUE JESUIT AND THE QUR`AN

Speaker: Dr Paul Shore (University of Regina)

18:30 – 20:00 | OXFORD MEDIEVAL SOCIETY

Invites you to its Michaelmas 2017 drinks party

Wednesday 11 October

11:00 | HONOUR AND CLASS IN THE POST-REFORM IMPERIAL RUSSIAN OFFICER CORPS (1861-1914)

Speaker: Alexander Morrison (New College, University of Oxford)

17:30 – 19:30 | APPARITIONS AT FATIMA, 1917-2017: A CENTURY AFTER THE “MIRACLE OF THE SUN”’

Speakers: Dr Manus Henry (University of Oxford) and Dr Patrick Houlihan (University of Oxford)

19:00 | MUSLIM VALUES AND END OF LIFE HEALTHCARE DECISION-MAKING

Part of the Islam and Biomedicine Seminar Series

Thursday 12 October

16:00 | HOW MANY BEGINNINGS?

Speaker: Professor John Horne (Trinity College Dublin & University of Oxford)

17:00 | THE INDIAN STORY: PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE

Speaker: HE Mr Y K Sinha (The High Commissioner of India)

17:00 | REVEALING RITUALS: EARLY MODERN SCULPTURE BEFORE UNVEILING

Speaker: Alison Wright (UCL)

17:15 – 18:45 | SEMINAR ON SIGMUND FREUD 'PARAPRAXES'

Part of the Making the Unconscious Conscious Series

Friday 13 October

17:00 – 18:30 | ANGLO-NORMAN READING GROUP MT 2017

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

Monday 16 October

12:45 – 14:00 | DISCUSSION GROUP

Hosted by the Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation Programme

14:00 – 16:00 | GENDER AND SUBJECTIVITY IN PERSONAL TESTIMONY WORKSHOP

Led by Professor Lynn Abrams 

Tuesday 17 October

14:00 – 16:00 | APPLIED ETHICS GRADUATE DISCUSSION GROUP

Session 1 of 4

17:00 | EARLY ISLAM AND THE BIRTH OF CAPITALISM

Speaker: Mr Benedikt Koehler

17:30 – 19:00 | DARWIN'S BEARD - AND OTHER ADVENTURES IN VICTORIAN FACIAL HAIR

Part of the Fame and Shame OCLW seminar series

Wednesday 18 October

11:00 | THE POSSIBILITY OF WITCHCRAFT

Speaker: Will Pooley (University of Bristol)

13:00 – 14:00 | REPRESENTING THE DEAD

Book at Lunchtime

 14:00 – 17:00 | FILM SCREENING: 'I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO'

In collaboration with Merton College and the Stuart Hall Foundation

19:00 | DREAMS AND THEIR INTERPRETATION

Part of the Islam and Biomedicine Seminar Series

19:30 – 20:30 | THEOLOGY: HOW TO BE SAVED IN 1517

Series of talks looking at cultural, legal, intellectual works from 1517

Thursday 19 October

16:00 | KNOW YOUR ENEMY

Speaker: Dr David Monger (University of Canterbury, New Zealand)

17:00 | ÉDOUARD VUILLARD: ART AND THE POLITICS OF DOMESTICITY

Speaker: Francesca Berry (University of Birmingham)

Friday 20 October

12:30 – 13:45 | FIGHTING WORDS: FIFTEEN BOOKS THAT SHAPED THE POSTCOLONIAL WORLD

Race and Resistance book series launch

17:30 – 19:00 | MEMOIR AND MEMORY: AMINATTA FORNA IN CONVERSATION WITH ELLEKE BOEHMER

Textual Commemoration: Mellon-Sawyer Seminar Series

Saturday 21 October

09:30 – 14:00 | POETRY AND LIFE-WRITING: PANEL-LED WORKSHOP 1

Textual commemoration: Mellon-Sawyer Seminar Series 

10:30 – 19:30 | 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF ORDINATION OF CONSTANCE COLTMAN

Public event hosted at Mansfield and Somerville Colleges

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The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities

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

01865 280101

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