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

TORCH Newsletter Hilary Term

Weeks 1 & 2 (13th January – 27th January 2018)

Welcome to Hilary Term at TORCH where we are looking forward to an array of thought provoking events, as well as enjoying a whole host of fascinating blogs exploring a wide range of interdisciplinary humanities research at Oxford. There are also videos of past discussions for those of you who want to revisit them. 

Next week's event on Imagining the Divine: Art and the Rise of World Religions with Mary Beard and Neil MacGregor is now sold out however we will be live-streaming the event. Details on how to are below.

We'd also like to draw your attention to a new opportunity for an early career researcher to work on 'Muralism and Public Art in the Global South'. This is a three-year post funded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation, and is part of TORCH's 'Humanities & Identities' project. Please see further details below.

Our Networks and Programmes also bring you events and opportunities to get involved. Keep an eye on the TORCH website and our Twitter and Facebook pages for more updates.  

Highlighted Event

Ethnicised Religion and Sacralised Ethnicity in the Past & the Present

Monday, January 22, 2018 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm
Seminar Room, Radcliffe Humanities, Oxford OX2 6GG

The commonly invoked phrase ‘Islam is not a race’ forms a ubiquitous racist trope that represents Islamophobia as a legitimate political critique of religious ideology, rather than a form of ethnic and religious prejudice. Yet in spite of such rhetorical acrobatics, it is clear that we are observing an ‘ethnicisation’ of Islam in ‘the West’ – the hegemonic transformation of hugely diverse ‘Muslim’ populations into an allegedly singular community, defined in essentialising racist terms. Hidden behind the language of a binary between ‘Muslim’ and ‘British’/‘European’/’Western’ ‘culture’ and ‘values’ – viewing these as fixed communal essences, rather than endlessly variable phenomena reproduced in the material practices of everyday life – this ethnoreligious essentialism-come-racism has gained ever-increasing acceptance in mainstream political discourse. Islam forms a particularly salient example today, but the ethnicisation of religious identifications is a phenomenon with a much broader transtemporal and global history. So at this round table on 'Ethnicised Religion and Sacralised Ethnicity in the Past & the Present', we will discuss this phenomenon, focusing especially on the nexus of religious, ethnic and national identifications in colonial, anticolonial and postcolonial settings from Ireland to South Asia.

An expert panel comes together to discuss: 

Elisabeth Bolorinos Allard, (Magdalen College, University of Oxford)

Faisal Devji, (Reader in Modern South Asian History, University of Oxford)

Peter Leary, (Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL)

This event will be chaired by Ilya Afanasyev (BRIHC Research Fellow, University of Birmingham)

Lunch available from 12.30pm. Discussion from 1-2pm. 

Booking is essential. Please register here.

This event is part of the Humanities & Identities series.

Please click here for more information

News and Blogs

TORCH Annual Review 2016-17

Each year the TORCH Annual Review provides an opportunity to look back at our highlights, successes and achievements as well as providing a glimpse into what lies in store. In the 2016-17 review, you'll find an array of fascinating events, our Networks and Programmes, profiles on some of our Early Career Researchers, books featured in our Book at Lunchtime series, and more on what TORCH's Annual Headline Series Humanities & Identities has shone a spotlight on. 

You can read the Annual Review here

Innovation Photography Competition

Congratulations to Sarah Griffin (DPhil student in History of Art) for winning the 'In the Field' category of this year's Innovation Photography Competition.

The judges said of Sarah's entry 'We really liked the combination of the quiet atmosphere of the Bodleian with the sleek Apple MacBook and how the image nicely captures how technological advances are extremely useful for accessing old knowledge!'

See Sarah's and the other winning entries here.

Video: Unlocking the Church

The Victorians built tens of thousands of churches in the hundred years between 1800 and 1900. Wherever you might be in the English-speaking world, you will be close to a Victorian built or remodelled ecclesiastical building. Contemporary experience of church buildings is almost entirely down to the zeal of Victorians such as John Henry Newman, Samuel Wilberforce and Augustus Pugin, and their ideas about the role of architecture in our spiritual life and well-being.

In this Book at Lunchtime discussion on Unlocking the Church, William Whyte explored a forgotten revolution in social and architectural history and in the history of the Church.

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

Dan Hicks (Archeology, University of Oxford)

Julia Smith (History, University of Oxford)

Watch the video here.

Global and Comparative Feminisms in the Long Nineteenth Century: New Perspectives

In January 2017, TORCH, in collaboration with the Centre for Gender, Identity and Subjectivity and the Centre for Global History hosted a symposium on ‘Global and comparative feminisms in the long nineteenth century: new perspectives’. This event, organised by Marilyn Booth, Kathryn Gleadle and Zoë Thomas, sought to explore how best to categorise the movements of female empowerment that began to crystallise and cluster across the globe during the c. 1870–1930 period.

The fruits of these discussions have now been published in Women’s History Review in an article authored by Kathryn Gleadle and Zoë Thomas, ‘Global Feminisms, c.1870–1930: vocabularies and concepts - a comparative approach.’

Read more here.

New Opportunities

Mellon Early Career Research Fellow

The Ruskin School of Art seeks to appoint to this 3-year postdoctoral research fellowship, for research in the field of 'Muralism and Public Art in the Global South'. 

The position is funded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation, and is part of TORCH's 'Humanities and Identities' project. The postholder will develop and deliver a research project in the field of 'Muralism and Public Art in the Global South', working with Professor Anthony Gardner and other scholars at the Ruskin School of Art. He/she will be expected to publish research of an internationally excellent standard, and to participate fully in the research and intellectual life of the Ruskin School of Art, TORCH, and Wadham College.

The closing date for applications is 12.00 noon on Monday 5 February 2018. 

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 2018.

Oxford–Weidenfeld Translation Prize 2018

The Oxford–Weidenfeld Prize is for book-length literary translations into English from any living European language. It aims to honour the craft of translation, and to recognise its cultural importance. It was founded by Lord Weidenfeld and is supported by New College, The Queen's College and St Anne's College, Oxford. 

The shortlist will be announced in May 2018. The prize of £2000 will be awarded at Oxford Translation Day, at St Anne’s College on Saturday 9 June 2018. Oxford Translation Day will feature talks, seminars and workshops, and will give all shortlisted translators the opportunity to read from and discuss their work.

The closing date for entries is 31 January 2018.

For more information, click here.

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

Upcoming Events

A History of Algeria

Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm
Seminar Room, Radcliffe Humanities, Oxford OX2 6GG

Covering a period of five hundred years, from the arrival of the Ottomans to the aftermath of the Arab uprisings, James McDougall presents an expansive new account of the modern history of Africa's largest country. Drawing on substantial new scholarship and over a decade of research, McDougall places Algerian society at the centre of the story, tracing the continuities and the resilience of Algeria's people and their cultures through the dramatic changes and crises that have marked the country. Whether examining the emergence of the Ottoman viceroyalty in the early modern Mediterranean, the 130 years of French colonial rule and the revolutionary war of independence, the Third World nation-building of the 1960s and 1970s, or the terrible violence of the 1990s, this book will appeal to a wide variety of readers in African and Middle Eastern history and politics, as well as those concerned with the wider affairs of the Mediterranean.

Author James McDougall (History, University of Oxford) joins an expert panel to discuss the book and its themes. James is joined by: 

Eugene Rogan (Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History, University of Oxford)

Laleh Khalili (Professor of Middle East Politics, SOAS) 

This event is chaired by Robert Gildea (Professor of Modern History, University of Oxford). 

Lunch will be provided at 12.30pm. Discussion from 1-2pm. 

Booking is essential. Please 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

Conceptualising Homophobia, Lesbian Classical Reception and Masculinity in Joyce's Dubliners

Monday, January 22, 2018 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm
The Mure Room, Merton College, Merton St, Oxford OX1 4JD 

Professor Dan Healey (History and Russian) will discuss conceptualizing homophobia in different social science and humanities disciplines. Mara Gold (DPhil Classics) will discuss lesbian classical reception during the late 19th and early 20th centuries and the place of classics in the formation of lesbian identities, relationships and networks. Lloyd (Meadhbh) Houston (DPhil English) will discuss how queer theory can be used to unpack Joyce's interrogation of Irish masculinity in Dubliners.

A sandwich lunch will be provided.

This event is organised by the Queer Studies Network.

Please click here for more information

Livestream: Imagining the Divine: Art and the Rise of World Religions

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 - 6:00pm

The Ashmolean MuseumEmpires of Faith, and TORCH are hosting a public lecture on Imagining the Divine: Art and the Rise of World Religions with Professor Mary Beard (University of Cambridge) and Neil MacGregor (Humboldt Forum).

Can we speak about ancient forms of worship in relation to modern religion? Join two of the UK’s most prominent historians, Professor Mary Beard and Neil MacGregor, in conversation discussing how contemporary religions developed during the transition between the ancient and medieval worlds across Eurasia and Africa, and what relevance this has today.

This event has sold out however, you can watch the live stream here

Please click here for more information

Metaphors, Linguistic Diversity and Foreign Language Learning

Thursday, February 8, 2018 -12:30pm to 2:00pm
Jesus College, Turl St, Oxford, OX1 3DW

Anyone who has learned a foreign language knows that some words are more difficult to master than others. This seems to be particularly true for words with multiple meanings, and specifically words that can be used metaphorically.

But why? Metaphoric expressions vary greatly across languages, and they are often soaked in cultural habits and beliefs. For example, while English lovers have ‘butterflies in their stomach’ Chinese ones have ‘a little deer jumping in their heart’.

The following questions arise: What do metaphoric expressions reveal about the underlying language and related culture? What types of difficulty do foreign learners have when they encounter such expressions? How can these metaphors be taught effectively?

These questions will be explored in a discussion with Professor Jeannette Littlemore and Dr Linda Fisher (chaired by Dr Marianna Bolognesi).

This event is organised by Creative Multilingualism.

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. 

Fascism, Fake News, and the Nature of Social Extremophilia

The TORCH Crisis, Extremes, and Apocalypse network hosted a talk on 'Fascism, Fake News, and the Nature of Social Extremophilia' with Luciano Floridi (Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information, University of Oxford). Fascism is like an animal that lives at the edge of social environments. The harsher the conditions the more it becomes the only organism fit to survive. The difference, in this analogy, is that Fascism is like an extremophile that is also able to generate the toxic conditions under which it can live, thus becoming the fittest in such an environment.

Listen here

Land, Outdoors, and Nature

Trusted Source hosted this lecture on 'Land, Outdoors, and Nature'. Peter Nixon and Professor Heather Viles discussed the challenges and opportunities we face today in caring for and studying the natural environment.

Watch here

Events Calendar, Weeks 1-2

Friday 12 January

All day | ¡BUENOS DÍAS DICTADOR!

Exhibition at the Old Fire Station

Monday 15 January

5:00pm | JULIE DE LESPINASSE AND THE ‘PHILOSOPHICAL’ SALON: A DATA-DRIVEN APPROACH

Part of the Besterman Enlightenment workshop series

5:45pm to 7:00pm | ACADEMIC SPEED-DATING NETWORK DRINKS

Keyword 'Family'

Tuesday 16 January

4:00pm to 5:30pm | EXCLUSIVE REGISTERS: GENDERED CITIZENSHIP AND BUREAUCRATIC AMBIGUITY IN JORDAN

Seminar by Eda Pepi

Wednesday 17 January

5:00pm to 6:45pm | GANDHI’S INSPIRATION

Speakers: Ruth Harris, Kajal Sheth and Richard Sorabji

6:00pm | IMAGINING THE DIVINE: ART AND THE RISE OF WORLD RELIGIONS

With Professor Mary Beard (University of Cambridge) and Neil MacGregor

Thursday 18 January

10:30am | MORE THAN THE SPORT OF KINGS: HOW HORSE RACING MADE THE MODERN WORLD

Speaker: Dr Oliver Cox (Trusted Source)

1:00pm to 2:00pm | A HISTORY OF ALGERIA

Book at Lunchtime with James McDougall

4:00pm | WHEN THE WAR IS OVER: BURYING THE WAR DEAD IN 1919

Speaker: Dr. Romain Fathi (Flinders University / Centre d'Histoire de Sciences Po)

5:30pm to 7:00pm | JON STALLWORTHY POETRY PRIZE 2018

The third Jon Stallworthy Poetry Prize for Oxford postgraduate students

Friday 19 January

2:00pm to 4:30pm |LECTURE AND SEMINAR ON THE THEORIES AND WORK OF PAUL B. PRECIADO

Queer Studies Research Network

Monday 22 January

12:30pm to 1:30pm | QUEER THEORY RESEARCH LUNCH

Conceptualising homophobia, lesbian classical reception and masculinity in Joyce’s Dubliners

1:00pm to 2:00pm | ETHNICISED RELIGION

Humanities & Identities seminar

5:00pm | LIFE AND (LOVE) LETTERS: LOOKING IN ON WINCKELMANN’S CORRESPONDENCE

Part of the Besterman Enlightenment workshop series

Wednesday 24 January

2:00pm to 3:30pm | THE RELATION OF LITERATURE AND LEARNING TO SOCIAL HIERARCHY IN EARLY MODERN EUROPE

5:30pm to 7:00pm | WRITING WOMEN: THE FOURTH GENERATION

Part of The Weinrebe Lectures in Life-Writing: ‘Women’s Changing Lives’ series

Thursday 25 January

4:00pm | THE HEALTH OF NATION: INFLUENZA AND NATIONHOOD IN AUSTRALIA AT THE END OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR

Speaker: Hannah Mawdsley (Queen Mary University London / Imperial War Museum)

5:00pm | RACE AND NATION IN DETENTION

Speaker: Mary Bosworth (Oxford)

Friday 26 January

1:00pm to 4:00pm | MAKING THE MOST OF DIGITIZED IMAGES: A IIIF WORKSHOP

Saturday 27 January

6:00pm | POETRY READING

By Michael Krüger and Paul Muldoon

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