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

TORCH Newsletter

6 March 2015

This week we bring you a selection of interdisciplinary blogs and articles exploring issues ranging from transnational solidarity movements to the language of the first world war. Please get in touch if you are a blogger (or hope to start a blog) and would be interested in sharing your research through TORCH.

We are also pleased to announce that applications are now open for two DPhil studentships as part of an interdisciplinary project on the mental and material laboratory of the thirteenth century. There is also an opportunity for students at Oxford to apply for small grants to support collaborative research activity around Medieval Studies.

Next we week we look forward to examining the relationship between culture and technology in our last Humanities and Science: In Conversation event for this term, and to discussing Pedro Ferreira's The Perfect Theory: A Century of Geniuses and the Battle over General Relativity at Book at Lunchtime.


Doctoral Studentships

Applicants are now sought for two DPhil studentships as part of an interdisciplinary project on 'The mental and material laboratory of thirteenth century science'.

These studentships are part of TORCH's Humanities and Science programme, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Deadline: 7 April 2015

For more information please click here

Medieval Studies Grants

The Medieval Studies Network invites applications for small grants of up to £500 to support conferences, workshops, and other forms of collaborative research activity organised by students at postgraduate (whether MSt or DPhil) or postdoctoral level from across the Humanities Division at the University of Oxford.

Deadline: 1 May 2015

For more information please click here

Humanities Poster Competition 2015

A poster showcase and competition for early career academics (DPhils and postdoctoral researchers). Selected posters will be displayed in the Radcliffe Humanities building. A prize of £150 in book tokens will be offered for the winning poster, £100 for second place, and £50 for third place. Posters should be submitted electronically (preferably in portrait, pdf format, suitable for A1 printing) to by Friday 13th March.

For more information please click here

Highlighted blogs and articles

A selection of interdisciplinary blogs exploring activism, sexism, language in the first world war, and the narrative of science. Please visit the TORCH blog for more posts, and get in touch if you have a cross-disciplinary blog you would like to share through TORCH.

Ferguson: Transnational Activism and The Academy

Master's students Josh Aiken and Nicole Nfonoyim-Hara reflect on the relationship between their studies at Oxford, transnational solidarity movements, and their activism protesting the killing of Michael Brown in the latest Voices Across Borders blog post.

Tackling Everyday Sexism in University Life

Selina Todd, who co-leads the Women in the Humanities programme at TORCH, discusses sexism in academia in a piece on the Guardian website.

Cigarettes and Solace; Writing the Comforts of War

Cigarettes and smoking in WW1 can take on an interesting complex of values and associative meanings, which Lynda Mugglestone unpacks in her 'Words in War-Time' blog.

Creating a Constructive Cultural Narrative for Science

How can we understand the relation between science and narrative? Should we even try to? Tom McLeish reflects on the recent Book at Lunchtime discussion about his new book Faith and Wisdom in Science (video below) on the OUP blog.

Watch again

Humanities and Science: Randomness and Order

What role does randomness play in our history, music, and the nature of our world? An interdisciplinary discussion beginning with a presentation by Ian Walmsley (Hooke Professor of Experimental Physics) on quantum physics.

Please click here for the video.

Faith and Wisdom in Science

Tom McLeish (Professor of Physics, University of Durham) discusses his new book with scholars from English, History of Science, and Physics. They explore the stories behind science and its relationship to wisdom and the imagination.

Please click here for the video.

Featured events

All these events seek to bring together people from different disciplines who are interested in the same research area, and they actively welcome new people to come along. These are just a snapshot of the many fantastic events taking place, so please visit our events calendar for a full listing.

Please click here to visit our events calendar

Feminism and Modernism in Norway

Friday 6 March, 14:00

An Ibsen Phenomenon seminar with Janet Garton, “Amalie Skram: ‘A Woman Who Writes Like a Man’”, Eveliina Pulkki, “Women and modernity in Knut Hamsun’s Sult” & Kirsten Shepherd-Barr, “What Ibsen Really Said about Women”.

More information

Culture and Technology

Monday 9 March, 13:00 - 14:00 (lunch from 12:45)

An interdisciplinary discussion exploring culture’s interaction with technology, with an opening presentation by Maria Blanco (Associate Professor in Spanish) and responses from Lionel Tarassenko (Head of Engineering), Fritz Vollrath (Academic Research Leader, Zoology) & Andrew Wilson (Head of the School of Archaeology).

More information

Neuroscience and Dance

Tuesday 10 March, 17:30 - 19:00

Wayne McGregor (Resident Choreographer, The Royal Ballet; Director, Random Dance) talks about his choreographic practice with Phil Barnard (MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge) and Eckhard Thiemann (Arts Producer). Booking required.

More information

The Perfect Theory

Wednesday 11 March, 13:00 - 14:00 (lunch from 12:45)

Pedro Ferreira (Professor of Astrophysics) will discuss his book The Perfect Theory: A Century of Geniuses and the Battle over General Relativity with Javier Lezaun (Anthropology), Alex Butterworth (Historian), Harvey Brown (Philosophy of Physics) & Xenia de la Ossa (Mathematics).

More information

Latest news from the Humanitas Programme

Registration now open for Maya Lin

We are pleased to announce that registration will open for Maya Lin’s Contemporary Art series on Monday 9th March. Maya Lin has created a powerful and highly influential body of work that includes large scale site specific installations, intimate studio artworks, architectural works and memorials. A committed environmentalist, Maya’s latest project 'What is missing?' brings awareness to habitat and species loss. She will give a lecture entitled 'Between art and architecture' chaired by Paul Hobson (Director, Modern Art Oxford) on Tuesday 5th May.

More information

From the archive...

With the announcement of this year's Visiting Professor in Contemporary Art, Maya Lin, we look back at a lecture given by artist Vik Muniz, “Class dismissed… Art, Creativity and Education”.

Events Calendar, Weeks 7 - 8

Friday 6 March

Resisting Neoliberal Globalization: Local Struggles and Transnational Networks

Part of the "Critical theories and world politics" interdisciplinary student discussion group

12:30pm to 2:00pm

History of Capitalism Reading Group

"The Dawn of Green: Manchester, Thirlmere, and Modern Environmentalism", Harriet Ritvo

12:30pm to 2:00pm

Curriculum Diversity

Led by Ruby Seresin and CRAE (Campaign for Racial Awareness and Equality)

12:45pm to 2:00pm

Feminism and Modernism in Norway

An Ibsen Phenomenon seminar


Anglo-Norman Reading Group

This group provides a relaxed and collaborative forum in which to hear about, read, translate and comment upon a wide variety of Anglo-Norman texts.

5:00pm to 6:30pm

Feminism in Oxford

International Women's Day 2015


Monday 9 March

Early English Books Bodleian Hackday

A hackfest to celebrate the release of 25,000 texts from the Early English Books Online project into the public domain

10:00am to 5:00pm

90 Seconds, 5 Questions

With Katherine Fender, DPhil Candidate English Literature, University of Oxford.

12:15pm to 1:30pm

Culture and Technology

A "Humanities and Science: In Coversation" discussion with Maria Blanco Lionel Tarassenko, Fritz Vollrath, Andrew Wilson and Gregory Radick

1:00pm to 2:00pm

History of Medicine seminar series

Leonardo da Vinci’s anatomy atlas, in the context of pre-Vesalian anatomical books


Gwyneth Lewis (former National Poet of Wales) On Clytemnestra

An Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama event


Besterman Enlightenment Workshop

Laura Anna Macor (University of Oxford), ‘The Young Friedrich Schiller and the European Enlightenment. Anthropology, Religion, and Ethics’


Tuesday 10 March

Gender, Women and Culture Seminar

Matthew Stevens (University of Swansea) – ‘Married Women and the Law in Late Medieval Northern Europe’.

12:00pm to 1:00pm

Humanities and Science at the Ashmolean: Ideas and Objects

Culture and Technology

2:15pm to 3:30pm

‘"Sum quia pictura": The Garrulous Image in the Early Renaissance'

Dr Peter Dent, University of Bristol


Wayne McGregor: Neuroscience and Dance

The choreographer talks about his choreographic practice with Dr Phil Barnard, MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit (Cambridge) and Eckhard Thiemann (Arts Producer)

5:30pm to 7:00pm

Wednesday 11 March

Innovation in Healthcare Research

Free public exhibition looking at brain research at the University of Oxford and Oxford University Hospital NHS.

12:00pm to 6:00pm

The Perfect Theory: A Century of Geniuses and the Battle over General Relativity

A Book at Lunchtime discussion with Pedro Ferreira, Javier Lezaun, Alex Butterworth, Harvey Brown and Xenia de la Ossa

12:45pm to 1:45pm

Myth and the Senses

An interdisciplinary discussion group

1:15pm to 2:30pm

Research Brief Encounters

Presented by the Centre for Gender, Identity and Subjectivity


Misunderstanding prints

Part of the Slade lecture series on "The Print Before Photography: The European print in the age of the copper plate and wooden block"


War Crimes Trials and Investigations seminar series

Tim Thompson (Teesside University) "Do Anthropologists Give the Dead a Voice, Or Are They Just Ventriloquists...?"


Poetry Workshop: Rewriting History

Week 8: Sacred and Secular

7:00pm to 8:30pm

Thursday 12 March

Gender, Identity and Subjectivity

Graduate-led reading and discussion group

12:30pm to 1:30pm

Friday 13 March

History of Capitalism Reading Group

"Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America", Richard White

12:30pm to 2:00pm


Panel organised by Dominic Davies

12:45pm to 2:00pm

Other-worldly love, II: Violence and the Sacred

Object handling session at the Ashmolean Museum

3:00pm to 5:00pm

The Human Brain in Action

Free public tour looking at brain research at the University of Oxford and Oxford University Hospital NHS.

6:00pm to 7:00pm

Saturday 14 March

Diversity in 20th and 21st Century Greek Popular Culture(s) and Media

Workshops discussing Greek popular culture(s) and media.

9:30am to 6:30pm

Cognition and Rehabilitation

Free public demonstration and cognitive tesing.

Saturday, March 14, 2015 - 10:00am to Sunday, March 15, 2015 - 4:00pm

Heresy from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages

An interdisciplinary conference

11:00am to 5:00pm