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

TORCH Newsletter Hilary Term

Weeks 9 & 10 (12th – 25th March 2017)

As we come to the end of Hilary Term, we are reflecting on the many exciting achievements and projects led by the TORCH community.

We began the term with this year’s Annual Headline Series Launch event looking at the question ‘What Does Diversity Mean to Me?’ Supported by the Vice-Chancellor’s Diversity Fund and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the event launched the ‘Humanities & Identities’ Series through which there are several research funding opportunities, events, discussions and projects.

Over the next 6 months, we will be launching the ‘Oxford Alternative Stories’ mobile app and in the summer, the ‘Gaps Between Display’ both of which will look at Oxford’s untold, alternative stories. You can read more here:

Throughout the term, there have also been many great events organised by TORCH networks and programmes, blog posts and podcasts and videos. Do read further below and take a look at the TORCH website for opportunities to join in.

Highlighted Events

Germs Revisited

Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 12:30pm to 2:30pm

St Luke's Chapel, Radcliffe Humanities, Oxford

The Diseases of Modern Life project - led by Professor Sally Shuttleworth - is hosting an event on 'Germs Revisited'.

Using past and present ideas drawn from medicine, fiction, and art, Dr Emilie Taylor-Brown (Faculty of English), Dr Jamie Lorimer (School of Geography and the Environment), and Dr Nicola Fawcett (Medical Sciences Division) come together to discuss new ways of thinking about human-microbe relationships in dialogue with developing trends in microbiome studies.

Bad germs? Friendly bacteria? Do we need to rethink our relationships with the microscopic world?

Join us for an interdisciplinary lunch time talk. All welcome. Lunch provided.

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

The Diseases of Modern Life project is supported by the European Research Council and this event is part of their 10 year anniversary celebrations.

Please click here for more information

News and Blogs

Video: What Does Diversity Mean to Me?

Introduced by the Vice-Chancellor Professor Louise Richardson, this opening event brought together a panel of experts from across the Humanities and the cultural and political sectors to discuss "What does diversity mean to me?". The panel examined how diversity and inclusivity has shaped, and will continue to shape, the human experience and identity. We were joined by Deborah Cameron (Professor of Language and Communication, University of Oxford), Ellah Wakatama Allfrey (Editor and literary critic), Maria Misra (Associate Professor in Modern History, University of Oxford), Jay Stewart (co-founder of ‘Gendered Intelligence’), Marvin Rees (Mayor of Bristol) and Miles Hewstone (Professor in Social Psychology, University of Oxford). The discussion was chaired by Elleke Boehmer (Professor of World Literature, University of Oxford and TORCH Director).

This video is fully signed in British Sign Language.

Watch the video here

Reflections on how the TORCH Critical Visualization network was established

In this Critical Visualization Network blog post, Ségolène Tarte reflects on how the network was formed, what shaped it and what is is about. 

You can read the post in full here

How to make writing in the humanities less lonely

Dr Alice Kelly (Harmsworth Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Rothermere American Institute) writes on the TORCH Academic Writing Group that she runs. Read the article here.

Land, Outdoors and Nature

In this Trusted Source blog post, Ben Kehoe talks about the second lecture in the newly launched ‘Moving Teaching Inspiring’ series. 

You can read the blog post in full here

Thomas Paine and Robespierre: the Terror of the Rights of man

On 2 March 2017, the TORCH Crisis, Extremes, and Apocalypse network hosted an event on "Thomas Paine and Robespierre: the Terror of the Rights of man". You can read a write-up of the lecture here

Video: Politics and Public Space in Contemporary Argentine Poetry

In this Book at Lunchtime event, Ben Bollig uses the concepts of “lyric” and “state” as twin coordinates for both an assessment of how Argentinian poets have conceived a political role for their work and how poems come to speak to us about politics.

Professor Ben Bollig (Medieval and Modern Languages, University of Oxford) explored the issues raised with:

Maria del Pilar Blanco (Professor in Spanish American Literature, University of Oxford)
Eduardo Posada-Carbo (Professor of History and Politics of Latin America, University of Oxford)
Leigh A. Payne (Professor of Sociology, University of Oxford)

The session was chaired by Bart van Es (Professor of English Literature, University of Oxford).

You can watch the video here

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.

Andrew W. Mellon 'Humanities & Identities'

TORCH and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation are pleased to announce four exciting new research funding opportunities as part of the 'Humanities & Identities' Headline Series. These include funding for a postdoctoral researcher, 'Global South' visiting professorships and fellowships, Knowledge Exchange fellowships, and conference and workshop funding. Please check the website for further details on deadlines.

Junior Research Fellowships

These posts are primarily research posts. Some carry limited teaching duties, but they provide an exciting opportunity to concentrate on your research while developing your scholarly career beyond your doctoral study. JRFs are prestigious posts, and many holders of such Fellowships have gone on to successful careers at top universities.

You must be at an early stage of your academic career, and be ready to embark on an independent research project. A competitive remuneration package and associated benefits are available for each Fellowship. Candidates are normally expected to have submitted their doctoral thesis before taking up the post, but at the moment of application can be doctoral students.

Application details: Please check the eligibility requirements of each Fellowship before making your application. Applications are particularly welcome from minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in Oxford. Check the website for information on deadlines.

Vice-Chancellor's Public Engagement with Research Awards

The Vice-Chancellor's Public Engagement with Research Awards recognise and reward those who undertake high-quality engagement activities and have contributed to building capacity in this area.

Winning entries receive recognition for their achievements at the Vice-Chancellor's Public Engagement with Research Awards Ceremony that will take place on 28 June 2017. One overall winner will also be announced at the ceremony and receive a cash prize of £1,500. Deadline 27 March 2017.

Upcoming Events

Medieval Intersectionality

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 12:00pm

Room 2, Taylor Institute, Oxford

Medievalists have been interested in diversity, marginality and alterity for some decades. Whole sub-disciplines exist for the study of elements of the medieval, mostly European, population: women, Jews, Muslims, heretics, pagans and other ‘others’, while there are also smaller bodies of work on disability, sexuality, childhood, old age, ethnicity, social class and poverty (poverty, that is, in practice, rather than as an ideology for the spiritual benefit of the wealthy). Priority seems to have been given in modern scholarship to the study of the groups most vehemently marginalized by medieval intellectuals.

This workshop asks speakers to reflects on ways that we might examine the multiple and complex interactions of these identities, experiences and labels, and how they shed light on the societies in which medieval people lived.

Places are limited, so registration is essential. To register, or if you have any questions, please e-mail the organisers. A sandwich lunch will be provided free of charge for attendees.

Please click here for more information

Ernst Kantorowicz on Methods and Postage Stamps

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm

Colin Matthew Room, History Faculty, George Street

The TORCH Crisis, Extremes, and Apocalypse network are hosting a talk on ''Ernst Kantorowicz on Methods and Postage Stamps' given by Professor Robert Lerner (Northwestern).

The talk will treat two unpublished sources: Kantorowicz's notes for his "Methods" course for graduate students at Berkeley, 1948-1950, and his paper, "Postal Stamps and the Historian." The notes give new insights into the nearly inebriating range of thought of a great historian and polymath; the paper displays the great historian at work in an unsuspected direction.

Professor Lerner will also be discussing his recent biography of Ernst Kantorowicz.

Please click here for more information

Doctor, Doctor: Global and Historical Perspectives on the Doctor-Patient Relationship

Friday, March 24, 2017 (All day)

St Anne's College, Woodstock Road, Oxford

The TORCH Medical Humanities programme is supporting a one-day symposium on 'Doctor, Doctor: Global and Historical Perspectives on the Doctor-Patient Relationship'. This symposium will explore how the doctor-patient relationship has been conceptualised across different cultural contexts throughout history.

At present, medical humanities tends to be rooted in the schools of History, Philosophy and English Literature and to focus on practices and experiences in the Anglophone world. We hope to encourage an interdisciplinary and international perspective on medicine. The practitioner-patient relationship is integral to experiences of medicine across the globe and is therefore a theme that resonates across the broad spectrum of medical humanities. We wish to create a diverse network of scholars working in the field and promote new avenues of research.

Medical Humanities will use the doctor-patient relationship as a springboard for debates about a wide range of socio-cultural phenomena, such as professionalisation, identity politics, globalisation, and the nature of medicine itself.

Please click here for more information

Whither Death?

Monday, March 20, 2017 - 1:30pm to 6:00pm

Seminar Room, Radcliffe Humanities, Woodstock Road, Oxford

A workshop led by Professor Helen Swift (Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages). 

Please click here for more information

The Indian Heroine in History, Art & Performance

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 9:00am to 5:00pm

Lecture Theatre, Weston Library

A one-day interdisciplinary symposium which seeks to explore the unfolding story of the female heroine, or nayika, in South Asian cultural history. Convened by Oxford students and alumni, Nisha Somasundaram and Tanvi Bhatia, and supported by the Balliol Interdisciplinary Institute and the Bodleian Library, the symposium features lectures and performances which examine striking textual, visual and dramaturgical representations of the heroine.

This event is free but places are limited so please complete the booking form to reserve tickets in advance.

Please click here for more information

Looking back on 2015-16

As we move swiftly through the new academic year, we look back at some of our highlights from 2015-16. 

Representation of Women and Women’s Cultural Interests

The TORCH Gender and Authority Research Network jointly funded by The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities and Balliol Interdisciplinary Institute hosted its third Seminar on 1st June at Somerville College, University of Oxford. The seminar focuses on the representations of women and women's cultural interests in popular outlets. We hear from Lyn Ellen Burkett (Western Carolina University) on ‘Teena and the Musical Canon: Music in Seventeen Magazine, 1944-1953′ and Alexis Brown (University of Oxford) on ‘Lady Lazarus: Textual Authority in Christine Jeff’s Sylvia (2003)’.

Watch here

The Prelude

Editor of a new edition of William Wordsworth's 'The Prelude' James Engell discusses the book with Professor Fiona Stafford (Professor of English Language and Literature, University of Oxford), Emily Knight (D.Phil candidate in HIstory of Art, University of Oxford), and Professor Steven Matthews (Professor in English Literature (Modernism), University of Reading). 

Watch here

Events Calendar, Weeks 9-10

Tuesday 14 March


Speaker: Professor Robert Lerner (Northwestern)

Wednesday 15 March


Oxford Medieval Studies Workshop

17:30 – 19:00 | STUDENT PAPERS

Part of the Ancient Medicine Seminar series

Thursday 16 March

12:30 – 14:30 | GERMS REVISITED

With Dr Emilie Taylor-Brown (Faculty of English), Dr Jamie Lorimer (School of Geography and the Environment), and Dr Nicola Fawcett (Medical Sciences Division)

Friday 17 March


International symposium at the V&A Museum

Monday 20 March

1:30 – 18:00 | WHITHER DEATH?

Workshop exploring death and dying within human culture

Tuesday 21 March


A variety of short, inspirational pieces, chosen in response to the audience

Wednesday 22 March


A one-day interdisciplinary symposium

Thursday 23 March


What is the role played by language in the conceptualisation and regulation of belonging in contexts of migration and global movement? 

Friday 24 March

9:00 – 17:00 | DOCTOR, DOCTOR

Global and historical perspectives on the doctor-patient relationship 


What is the role played by language in the conceptualisation and regulation of belonging in contexts of migration and global movement? 

Saturday 25 March


What is the role played by language in the conceptualisation and regulation of belonging in contexts of migration and global movement? 

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