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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.

TORCH | The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities Oxford University

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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.

    • video
    Cyclone Amphan: Living through the Climate Crisis

    Cyclone Amphan: Living through the Climate Crisis

    In May 2020 a deadly tropical cyclone struck Eastern India and Bangladesh. Named ‘Amphan’ and classified as a ‘Super Cyclone’ this was almost certainly a climate change induced extreme event. This event was organised by the Climate Crisis Thinking in the Humanities and Social Sciences Network https://torch.ox.ac.uk/climate-crisis-thinking-in-the-humanities-and-social-sciences . The full scale of destruction caused by cyclone Amphan in India (the states of Odisha and West Bengal) and Bangladesh remains to be yet fully understood and tabulated. We bring together a panel of historians, geographers, and anthropologists who have longstanding research in the effected region of South Asia on related topics of ecology, climate change, human-animal relations, conservation, and the Anthropocene. This session is interested in probing the relationship between the climate crisis and the very specific history, politics, sociology, and ethnography of South Asia. As such it has two broad aims.
    Firstly, we try to shine light on the devastating effect of the climate crisis in South Asia. This is particularly important given the poor coverage the cyclone – its causes and the trail of devastation it has left in its wake – got globally and, even, regionally. As is the case with so much of the climate crisis there is a collective forgetting of its effects, especially when they take place in lands considered ‘Other’ or distant. This panel is but one small attempt to resist such collective forgetting.
    Secondly and Relatedly, as we note in the aims of our network, the academy is oftentimes too slow in responding to the climate crisis or does so in somewhat inaccessible forms. Through this discussion we get academics from across the Humanities and Social Sciences working on the environment and climate change to present their analyses to a global public. As such it constituted a demonstration of the ways in which careful Humanities and Social Science knowledge can contribute in a timely and engaged manner with what it means to live through the climate crisis.
    Panel
    Debjani Bhattacharyya (Drexel University)
    Jason Cons (UT Austin)
    Annu Jalais (National University of Singapore)
    Megnaa Mehtta (Sheffield University)
    Kasia Paprocki (The London School of Economics)

    • 1 ч. 59 мин.
    • video
    What’s beneath the words: a paper journey

    What’s beneath the words: a paper journey

    Presented in collaboration with the Bodleian Libraries Centre for the Study of the Book. Contemporary letterpress artist David Armes (Red Plate Press) and book conservator Andrew Honey (Bodleian Libraries) share their appreciation for paper and for the craft and art that goes into the making of books. Armes explains how he printed a new book on 'Oxford India Paper,' very thin but opaque paper used to print Bibles, encyclopaedias, and other lengthy works. The resulting work, Curses, exploits the paper's unique qualities. Find out how demanding this was, and hear about Armes's printing residency in Oxford, where he created the work 'Between Sun Turns,' a response to the environment and cityscape in and around the city. It has been thought that ‘Oxford India paper’ was locally produced at the Wolvercote Paper Mill; Andrew Honey discusses this idea, and reveals other historical paper research taking place at the Bodleian.

    Speaker Biographies:
    David Armes is an artist working with print, language and geography. His work is frequently site-specific and considers how sense and experience of place can be represented. He works primarily with letterpress printing on paper and, through using what was once an industrial process, he is interested in where the multiple meets the unique, where the ephemeral meets the archival. The final work varies in form and size from small chapbooks to large hanging scroll installations. He travels frequently for residencies and worked as artist-in-residence at Bodleian Libraries at University of Oxford (2019), Zygote Press fine art printmaking studio, Ohio (2018), BBC Radio Lancashire (2017) and Huddersfield Art Gallery (2016). He has recently shown work in the USA, UK and Germany, and was shortlisted for the 2017 Flourish Excellence in Printmaking award.

    Andrew Honey is a book conservator at the Bodleian Libraries with a teaching and research role. He has recently completed the conservation and rebinding of the Winchester Bible and is the conservation advisor to The Mappa Mundi Trust. He has wide interests in the materiality of rare books and manuscripts, and a particular interest in historic paper. His paper research has ranged from the writing papers used by Jane Austen (Jane Austen’s Fiction Manuscripts, Oxford 2018) to the faults found in the Shakespeare’s First Folio (‘Torn, wrinkled, stained, and otherwise naughty sheets’ – how should we interpret paper faults in seventeenth-century paper)

    • 59 мин.
    • video
    TORCH (en)coding Heritage Network Digital Launch - Exploring Ancient Rome through Immersive Technologies

    TORCH (en)coding Heritage Network Digital Launch - Exploring Ancient Rome through Immersive Technologies

    This digital event explores how 3D-modelling technologies and virtual reality can open new understandings of the past. Prof Matthew Nicholls describes the creation of a large-scale 3D model of Ancient Rome, exploring the use of computer modelling in the study of ancient structures. Richard Smith brings the technological perspective, discussing the tools which enable the exploration of such a model in virtual reality. The talk will focus particularly on the Theatre of Pompey, a Roman theatre complex, completed in 55 BCE, which no longer survives.

    Prof Matthew Nichols is Senior Tutor at St. John's College Oxford. He previously held a lectureship and then a chair in Classics at the University of Reading. There he developed a large scale 3D model of ancient Rome, which he has used extensively in teaching, research, outreach, and commercial work, winning several national awards for teaching and innovation.

    Richard Smith is Technology Support Officer at the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, where he provides technology support and 3D printing, advises on 3D modelling and AR/VR projects, and leads training courses on immersive technologies. He is also the co-founder of the Oxford X-Reality Hub, Oxford's central resource for virtual and augmented reality.

    Dr Lia Costiner – Merton College, hosted this event as founder of the (en)coding Heritage TORCH Network.

    • 48 мин.
    • video
    Imitating Authors

    Imitating Authors

    Book at Lunchtime: Imitating Authors Colin Burrow gives us an original literary history of imitation from an esteemed scholar and literary critic and a fascinating account of how authors from the earliest stages of Western literature to the present day have imitated each other. This book covers an impressive range of writers including Plato, Virgil, Lucretius, Petrarch, Cervantes, Ben Jonson, Milton, Pope, Wordsworth, Mary Shelley, and Kazuo Ishiguro. Burrow offers clear explanations of difficult concepts and complex histories and explains key concepts which enabled classical texts to have an influence on later writing and brings the discussion up to date by studying contemporary fictions about clones and imitation human beings and the future of imitation.

    • 54 мин.
    • video
    Humanities Light Night - Oxford Research Unwrapped! Full projection video

    Humanities Light Night - Oxford Research Unwrapped! Full projection video

    Full projection video as part of national Being Human Festival, a huge video projection onto the 3-storey Radcliffe humanities building, premiering SOURCE: CODE. As part of the national Being Human Festival, and Oxford's Christmas Light Festival, Humanities Light Night - Oxford Research Unwrapped! was a spectacular explosion of colour, sound and activity for all, including this huge video projection onto the 3-storey Radcliffe humanities building, premiering SOURCE: CODE which features the work of Oxford Humanities Professors Jacob Dahl, Richard Parkinson and Armand D'Angour, and co-created by Oxford Humanities researchers and The Projection Studio, world-class projection and sound-artists. A series of talks and activities also took place during the evening, relating to the overall theme of 'Discovery' which can be viewed separately.

    • 8 мин.
    • video
    Revolution Rekindled: The Writers and Readers of Late Soviet Biography

    Revolution Rekindled: The Writers and Readers of Late Soviet Biography

    Book at Lunchtime: Revolution Rekindled: The Writers and Readers of Late Soviet Biography Polly Jones offers the first ever archival and oral history study of Brezhnev-era publishing and propaganda production, highlighting the consistent pressure throughout late socialism to find new forms of propaganda and inspiring 'revolutionary' narratives, and challenges the widespread idea that these became 'standardised' and 'stagnant' soon after Stalin's death. Jones reveals the vitality and popularity of late Soviet culture, especially biography and historical fiction. She emphasises that both writers and readers found in late Soviet 'official' publishing opportunities to reflect on complex questions of Russian and Soviet history and identity and employs extensive new archival material, and oral history interviews with some of the leading literary and cultural figures of the Brezhnev era.
    Panel includes: Dr Katherine Lebow, Professor Ann Jefferson and Professor Stephen Lovell

    • 58 мин.

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