The University of Oxford is home to an impressive range and depth of research activities in the Humanities. TORCH | The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities is a major new initiative that seeks to build on this heritage and to stimulate and support research that transcends disciplinary and institutional boundaries. Here we feature some of the networks and programmes, as well as recordings of events, and offer insights into the research that they make possible.
The 2020 Besterman Lecture: Who were the French Revolutionaries?
TORCH Goes Digital! presents a series of weekly live events Big Tent - Live Events! Part of the Humanities Cultural Programme, one of the founding stones for the future Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities. In collaboration with the Voltaire Foundation, TORCH is delighted to support the Annual Besterman Lecture, 2020
Lecture by Professor William Doyle. Introduced by Karen O'Brien (Head of Humanities Division, Oxford University) and Gregory S. Brown (General Editor of Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment and Senior Research Fellow, Voltaire Foundation). Moderated by Professor Lauren Clay, Vanderbilt University.
When Napoleon in 1799 declared that the French Revolution was over, he said that was because it was now established on the principles with which it began. The implication was that much of what had happened over the preceding decade of upheaval had not been in accordance with those principles. Napoleon took care, of course, not to state what they were: his constitution was the first since 1789 not to contain a declaration of basic rights. Yet everyone during the Revolution claimed to be acting on revolutionary principles, or denounced their opponents for betraying them. Can we distinguish between those who held to and those who ignored or compromised revolutionary aspirations? This lecture will make the attempt, challenging some of the most enduring assumptions in revolutionary historiography.
Professor William Doyle
Professor William Doyle is Professor Emeritus of History and Senior Research Fellow, University of Bristol. Professor Doyle is a British historian, specialising in 18th-century France, and is most notable for his one-volume Oxford History of the French Revolution (1st edition, 1989; 2nd edition, 2002; 3rd edition, 2018). Professor Doyle one of the leading revisionist historians of the French Revolution, obtaining his doctorate from the University of Oxford with a thesis entitled The parlementaires of Bordeaux at the end of the eighteenth century, 1775-1790 - he is also the author of sixteen books on French and European history, five of which have been translated into Chinese. Professor Doyle is also a fellow of the British Academy and a co founder of the The Society for the Study of French History.
Karen O'Brien, Head of Humanities Division, Oxford University. Before taking on this role in 2018, Professor O’Brien was Vice Principal (Education) and Professor of English Literature at King’s College, London. At King’s she oversaw institutional strategy for all undergraduate and postgraduate students, the university Maths school, admissions and widening access, and the financing and implementation of student-facing capital projects. She implemented major changes in the areas of online degrees and digital learning, new classroom and clinical teaching spaces, careers and co-curricular learning. Prior to this, she was Pro-Vice Chancellor at Birmingham University and held academic posts at Warwick, Cardiff and Southampton Universities. Originally educated at Oxford, she held a Harkness fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania and a research fellowship at Peterhouse, Cambridge where she is now an Honorary Fellow. She is a trustee of the Rhodes Trust, a trustee of Chawton House, a member of Princeton University Press’s European advisory board and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
In addition to being Head of the Humanities Division, she is a professor in the Faculty of English at the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on the Enlightenment and eighteenth-century literature, particularly the historical writing and fiction of the period.
Professor Gregory S. Brown, Professor of History; University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Senior Research Fellow; Voltaire Foundation and general editor of OSE.
He is author, with Isser Woloch, of Eighteenth-Ce
Liz Woolley on 'Lord Nuffield and the city of Oxford'
Local historian, Liz Wooley, takes a closer look at the role Lord Nuffield played in changing the city of Oxford's physical and social landscape.
Dr Dexnell Peters on 'Politician Scholar: Dr Eric Williams'
Dr Dexnell Peters, Bennett Boskey Fellow in Atlantic History at Exeter College, reflects on the life and enduring legacy of eminent historian, Dr Eric Williams.
Dr Ben Grant on 'Richard Francis Burton
Dr Ben Grant, departmental lecturer in English and author of Postcolonialism, Psychoanalysis and Burton: Power Play of Empire (Routledge, 2009) reflects on Richard Francis Burton's sojourn in Oxford in the 1840s.
Dr Priya Atwal on 'Princesses Bamba and Catherine Duleep Singh at Oxford'
Historian, Dr Priya Atwal, takes a look at the lives of some of the University of Oxford's first Indian students.
Anna Atkins: Botanical Illustration and Photographic Innovation
This event is supported by TORCH as part of the Humanities Cultural Programme, one of the founding stones of the future Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities. Supported by TORCH through the Humanities Cultural Programme. Join us for an online in-conversation with Prof Geoffrey Batchen and Dr Lena Fritsch, discussing the work of pioneering British photographer and botanist Anna Atkins (1799-1871). Her innovative use of new photographic technologies linked art and science, and exemplified the potential of photography in books. Geoffrey Batchen is Professor of Art History at the University of Oxford and Dr Lena Fritsch is the Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford. This talk accompanies the 2020 Photo Oxford festival, Women and Photography: Ways of Seeing and Being Seen.
Geoffrey Batchen is professor of History of Art at the University of Oxford. His books include Burning with Desire: The Conception of Photography (1997), Each Wild Idea: Writing, Photography, History (2001), Emanations: The Art of the Cameraless Photograph (2016), and Apparitions: Photography and Dissemination (2018).
Dr Lena Fritsch is the Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford. Her monographs on photography include Ravens & Red Lipstick: Japanese Photography since 1945 (English version with Thames & Hudson / Japanese version with Seigensha 2018), The Body as a Screen: Japanese Art Photography of the 1990s (Georg Olms 2011), and Yasumasa Morimuras Self-Portrait as Actress: Überlegungen zur Identität (VdM 2008).