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

TORCH Newsletter Michaelmas Term

Weeks 2 - 3 (17 - 30 October 2016)

Term has started and we have welcomed the new cohort of Postdoctoral Research Fellows. We can't wait to tell you all about the exciting events TORCH have planned for Michaelmas Term, including closing the nationwide Being Human festival with our FRIGHTFriday on the 25 November in collaboration with the Ashmolean Museum. Being Human is a lively national forum for public engagement with humanities research, and FRIGHTFriday will involve performances, slideshows, dressing-up, choirs, and bite-size talks with academics from across the humanities.

We are incredibly pleased and proud to announce that we have just been awarded a substantial grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support activity related to our 2017 Headline Series 'Humanities & Identities'. The series is also supported by the Vice-Chancellor's Diversity Fund. We welcome innovative ideas for projects from researchers on all areas that link to diversity and inclusivity. We invite the University community to keep a close look out for announcements relating to 'Humanities & Identities'.

We look forward to our new Book at Lunchtime series, which includes a dynamic lunchtime discussion with Professor Lyndal Roper (History) on her book Martin Luther - Renegade and Prophet. Join us at St Luke's Chapel on 26 October.

Wishing you all an enjoyable start to the term, and hoping to see you at one of our many events!

Highlighted Events

Martin Luther - Renegade and Prophet a 'Book at Lunchtime' event

12:30-14:00, Wednesday 26 October, St Luke's Chapel, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter.

To celebrate the publication of Lyndal Roper's new book, Martin Luther - Renegade and Prophet, she will be joined by Laura Marcus (English), Simeon Zahl (Theology, University of Nottingham), and Jas Elsner (Classics) to discuss the often contradictory psychological forces that drove Luther forward.


Please click here for more information and to book your place

News and Blogs

Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation Week 0 Updates

The Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation, a TORCH and St Anne's programme, announce their upcoming events, including a launch of Matthew Reynolds' (English) book 'Translation: A Very Short Introduction', and call for contributors in the first of their weekly blogs. Read more here.

Global Pursuit of Equality Conference 26-27 September 2016

Imaobong Umoren (History) reflects on the international Global Pursuit of Equality Conference that took place at Radcliffe Humanities Building on the 26-27 September 2016, following a workshop on the same theme held in May 2016. Both the workshop and conference explored how networks have shaped women's equality since 1800. Read more here.


Opus Anglicanum: A Victoria and Albert Exhibition Review

Robin Whelan from the Oxford Medieval Studies programme reviews the latest exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum 'Opus Anglicanum: Masterpieces of English Medieval Embroidery'. The exhibition covers some of the exquisite medieval embroidery for which England was renowned between the 12th and 15th centuries. Read more here.

Review of Black Oxford: The Untold Story of Oxford University’s Black Scholars

JC Niala from the Race and Resistance programme reviews the book Black Oxford: The Untold Story of Oxford University’s Black Scholars, by Pamela Roberts (Signal Books, 2013) as part of the 'Voices Across Borders' blog series. Read more here.

Reminder: FRIGHTFriday - the art and science of Hope & Fear

We are looking forward to FRIGHTFriday, a diverse and dynamic national Festival Finale of the Being Human Festival, supported by the Wellcome Trust. The festival is led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the AHRC and the British Academy. Tickets are free! For more information, please click here.

New Opportunities

New Network Scheme
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. Deadline: midday, Friday 11 November. 

Humanities Innovation Challenge Competition
You are invited to propose innovative ideas which can lead to entrepreneurial activity, social impact or enterprise. Although the Challenge is open to individuals, we would also like to encourage cross-disciplinary team-work, in which case at least one member of the team should come from the Humanities Division. First deadline for submitting a summary of your idea: Friday 4th November.

Oxford Medieval Studies 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 scholars at postgraduate (whether MSt or DPhil) and/or early career postdoctoral level from across the Humanities Division at the University of Oxford. The closing date for applications is Friday of Week 4 of Michaelmas Term 2016 (4 November).

'Humanities & Identities' Headline Series 2017

With funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Vice-Chancellor's Diversity Fund, 'Humanities & Identities' will focus on multiple research areas relating to diversity. It will bring together researchers, practitioners, policy-makers, creative thinkers and wider communities interested in forms of self-identity past, present, and future. We are particularly excited about the Mellon Global South Visiting Professorships and Fellowships which we will be advertising in the new year.

We welcome innovative ideas for projects from researchers on all areas that link to diversity and inclusivity. The Headline Series include a launch event on 25th January 2017.


Upcoming Events

Inaugural Ertegun Director's Seminar

Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 2:00pm. Ertegun House, 37a St Giles.

A conversation with Wole Soyinka

Poet, playwright, novelist, Nobel Laureate

All welcome but advance registration is essential

To register, contact for more information, visit

Please click here for more information

Black History Month Annual Lecture

Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm. The Pichette Auditorium, Pembroke College.

The University of Oxford, together with the Black and Minority Ethnic Staff Network, host an annual Black History Month lecture. This year, the lecture will be delivered by Baroness Doreen Lawrence of Clarendon OBE.

Refreshments at 5pm, lecture 5:30pm - 7.00pm

Please click here for more information

What Does Neuroscience Tell Us About Freedom of the Will?

Monday, October 24, 2016 - 4:00pm to 6:30pm. Seminar Room, Radcliffe Humanities Building.

Philosophers have long struggled with the problem of free will. In recent years neuroscientists have claimed to be able to speak in fresh ways to this longstanding problem. Adina Roskies reviews some of the new work in neuroscience that purports to bear on the problem of free will, and argues that although neuroscience can contribute to our understanding, it cannot resolve the problem of free will without recourse to philosophy.


Please click here for more information and to book your free place

Cognitive Scaffolding and Literary Reading

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - 5:15pm to 7:15pm. Seminar Room, Radcliffe Humanities Building.


TORCH Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation programme are hosting 'The Fiction and Other Minds' seminar on the topic 'Material Culture, Cognitive Scaffolding, and the Problem of Other Minds'. The speakers are Joel Krueger (Philosophy) and Ben Morgan (Modern Languages). The seminar will be chaired by Naomi Rokotnitz.


Please click here for more information and to book your free place

Looking back on 2015-16

As we being an exciting new academic year, we look back at some of our highlights from 2015-16. 

Are the Humanities More Digital than the Sciences?

A panel discussion with Howard Hotson (History), Andrew Prescott (Digital Humanities), Dave De Roure (Oxford e-Research Centre) and Heather Viles (Head of School of Geography and the Environment), chaired by Kathryn Eccles (Oxford Internet Institute). The presumption is often that the relationship between the humanities and sciences will be one-way, and that it will be the humanities learning from sciences. But what can sciences learn from the way that the humanities are using digital output for their research? Part of the Humanities and the Digital Age Series.

Watch here

Tom Stoppard Q&A

Award-winning playwright and screenwriter Tom Stoppard talks to his biographer Professor Hermione Lee (President of Wolfson College). Here you can catch up with their conversation about his past and memories of his working life. The event was part of his Humanitas Visiting Professorship in Drama 2015-16.

Watch here

Events Calendar, Weeks 2-3

Monday 17 October

12:00-13:00 | Black History Month Roundtable

A discussion of the value of Black History Month and multiculturalism

14:00-15:00 | Coffee Talk

Hosted by TORCH Network #SocialHumanities

17:30 | At the Frontlines of Change: Feminist Leadership Transforming Lives

 Devaki Jain Lecture with Noeleen Heyzer


Wednesday 19 October

17:15-18:30 | Gender and Authority Seminar

Speakers: Sahba Shayani (University of Oxford) and Victoria Van Hyning (University of Oxford)

17:30-19:00 | Have ye ever seen a child clemmed to death?

Elizabeth Gaskell and the Physiology of Starvation

17:30 | A dialogue between choreography and visual arts

Speakers: Siobhan Davies and Jeremy Millar. With dancer Helka Kaski

18:45 | Inspiration and the Weather

Part of 'The Muse: A six-part series on the creative spark'


Thursday 20 October

14:00-15:30 |  Leadership & the Media: Gendered Framings of Julia Gillard’s ‘Sexism & Misogyny’ Speech

Part of the Gender and Leadership in a Volatile World seminar series

14:00-15:00 | Inaugural Ertegun Director’s Seminar

A conversation with Wole Soyinka

16:00 | Learning to Move on the Parade Ground in the British Army 1914-1918

Speaker: Jean-Philippe Miller-Tremblay (Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales)

16:00-18:00 | Good enough lives? A disability challenge to procreative beneficence

Seminar hosted by Uehiro Centre for Practial Ethics

17:00 | Research Brief Encounters

Event hosted by The Centre for Gender, Identity, and Subjectivity

17:00 | Materiality and Mobility: Political Geographies of Caribbean Art

A History of Art Research Seminar

17:30-19:00 | Black History Month Annual Lecture 2016

Speaker: Baroness Doreen Lawrence


Monday 24 October

13:30-16:00 | Schumann's Song Cycle

Part of The Schumann Project

16:00-18:30 | What does neuroscience tell us about freedom of the will?

A Lecture by Prof. Adina Roskies, Department of Philosophy, Dartmouth College


Tuesday 25 October

17:00 | Climate and History Redux

Research Notes on the Coupling of Scientific Data and Historical Method

17:30-19:00 | The Truth in Fiction

Oxford Centre for Life-Writing (OCLW) event


Wednesday 26 October

12:30-14:00 | Martin Luther- Renegade and Prophet

A Book at Lunchtime event with Lyndal Roper, Laura Marcus and Simeon Zahl. Chaired by Almut M.V. Suerbaum. 

17:15-19:15 | Cognitive Scaffolding and Literary Reading

Part of the Fiction and Other Minds series

17:30-19:00 | Malaria and the Indus Civilisation

Part of the Ancient Medicine Seminar series

18:00 – 21:30 | Heritage and Research

The eighth Heritage Alliance debate

18:45 | Bringing Children's Fiction to Life

Part of 'The Muse: A six-part series on the creative spark'


Thursday 27 October

14:00-15:30 | 'Banning Bossy’ and ‘Leaning In’: Girls’ mediated ideas of leadership

Part of the Gender and Leadership in a Volatile World seminar series

16:00 | Tabriz Under Two Rival Empires: Ottomans and Russians During the Great War

Speaker: Fatemeh Masjedi (Zentrum Moderner Orient)

17:00 | Behind the Mask: WW1, Plastic Surgery, and the Modern Beauty Revolution

A History of Art Research Seminar

17:00-19:00 | Human Rights, Global Ethics and the Ordinary Virtues

Seminar hosted by Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics

17:15-19:00 | Karrie Fransman: 'The Power and Potential of Comics'

A Comics and Graphic Novels: The Politics of Form event


Friday 28 October

12:30 – 14:00 | A life in the past: finding your way round the archives and libraries of France in a pre-digital age

Part of the Researching the Eighteenth Century seminar series

12:45- 14:00 | Some Lessons from the National Conference of Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education, San Francisco 2016

Speaker: Dr Machilu Zimba (Equality and Diversity Unit, University of Oxford)

17:00 | Devotional Culture in Late Medieval Strasbourg

Seminar hosted by the TORCH Oxford Medieval Studies Programme


Friday 28 October & Saturday 29 October

All Day | Late Style and Legacy

Part of The Schumann Project