331 episodes

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

    • Education
    • 4.5 • 4 Ratings

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
    'Poets in Purgatory' Video

    'Poets in Purgatory' Video

    Contemporary poets read from their translations of the Purgatorio and from their poems about Dante. After Dante: Poets in Purgatory, edited by Nick Havely with Bernard O'Donoghue, was published by Arc Poetry in July and marks the 700th anniversary of the poet's death in exile at Ravenna on 14 September 1321. This new complete version of Dante's Purgatorio is by sixteen contemporary poets who enter into dialogue with the original by rendering it into a variety of Anglophone voices: American, Australian, British, Irish, Jamaican,Scottish, Singaporean.

    The video of the launch (on 10 November 2021) includes nine of the poets reading parts of the cantos they have translated and some of their poems about Dante's Purgatory; it also features poems by a predecessor and a contemporary of Dante. The programme begins with an introduction to another book on Dante's work: John Dickson Batten: Illustrations for Dante's 'Inferno', edited by Pater Hainsworth, also published this year (by Panarc International). The event was supported by TORCH, the Oxford Dante Society and Lady Margaret Hall.

    Speakers/contributors (alphabetical order):
    Jane Draycott; Steve Ellis; Andrew Fitzsimons; Lorna Goodison; Peter Hainsworth; Nick Havely; Angela Jarman; Jan Kemp; Jamie McKendrick; Bernard O'Donoghue; A.E. Stallings; Patrick Worsnip.

    • 1 hr 14 min
    • video
    How does climate crisis change the curriculum?

    How does climate crisis change the curriculum?

    A Climate Crisis Thinking in the Humanities and Social Sciences event. Shifting the question from ‘how should climate change be put into the curriculum?’ to ‘how does it transform the curriculum?’ opens up the subject in new ways across the world. How does it change the way in which each subject (including humanities) is conceptualised, taught and related to other subject areas? What education do students need to equip them with the information, critical abilities and practical adaptability to build liveable futures? How can they develop the skills and vocabularies to deal with emotions around instability, uncertainty and loss? In the coming decades, what will employers want from their employees? What will drive sustainability and innovation in the world of work? What effects will choices embedded in curricula have on the capacity of societies to adapt to change and to manage it in ways that are just and productive? Educators and makers of education policy need a clear picture of the purpose of education in these contexts as well as a nuanced sense of what roles educators can and should play. Countries like the UK have been slow to introduce these issues into education systems, so what can be learned from educators in countries and regions that have been at the forefront of this thinking?

    Participants: Rahul Chopra (IISER, Pune; TROP ICSU project) Kim Polgreen (Wytham Woods/Oxford teachers) Amanda Power (History, Oxford) Steve Puttick (Education, Oxford) James Robson (SKOPE, Oxford) Arjen Wals (Wageningen, NL; UNESCO Chair of Social Learning and Sustainable Development) Chair: William Finnegan (OUCE, Oxford)

    Learn more about the Climate Crisis Thinking i the Humanities and Social Science here: torch.ox.ac.uk/climate-crisis-thinking-in-the-humanities-and-social-sciences

    • 1 hr 31 min
    • video
    The Diasporic Quartets: Identity and Aesthetics

    The Diasporic Quartets: Identity and Aesthetics

    Keynote lecture in the Diversity and the British String Quartet Symposium, day 3, held on 16th June 2021. Part of the Humanities Cultural Programme, one of the founding stones for the future Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities. Chair: Dr Nina Whiteman
    Speaker: Dr Des Oliver
    On our final day, we begin with a keynote lecture from composer Dr Des Oliver on his ‘Diasporic Quartets’ projects.
    You can learn more here https://www.torch.ox.ac.uk/diversity-and-the-british-string-quartet-0#/

    • 1 hr 18 min
    • video
    The string quartet takes residence: class, community, curricula

    The string quartet takes residence: class, community, curricula

    Keynote lecture in the Diversity and the British String Quartet Symposium, held on 14th June 2021. Part of the Humanities Cultural Programme, one of the founding stones for the future Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities. Lecture by Professor Laura Tunbridge (University of Oxford)

    Chair: Dr Wiebke Thormählen (Royal College of Music)

    We will hear from Beethoven and string quartet expert Prof Laura Tunbridge on the history of performing quartets working in UK universities.

    • 1 hr 25 min
    • video
    Art and Action: Benjamin Zephaniah in Conversation

    Art and Action: Benjamin Zephaniah in Conversation

    Part of the Humanities Cultural Programme, one of the founding stones for the future Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities. In his autobiography, The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah (2018), award-winning poet, lyricist, musician, and activist Benjamin Zephaniah speaks out candidly about the writer’s responsibility to step outside the medium of literature and engage in political activism: “You can’t just be a poet or writer and say your activism is simply writing about these things; you have to do something as well, especially if your public profile can be put to good use.” In conversation with Elleke Boehmer and Malachi McIntosh, he will address the complex relationship of authorship and activism in a celebrity-driven media culture and the ways in which his celebrity persona relates to his activist agenda. The conversation will tie in with contemporary debates about the role of literature and the celebrity author as a social commentator.



    Pre-recorded introduction:

    Elleke Boehmer is Professor of World Literature in English at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She is the author and editor of over twenty books, including Colonial and Postcolonial Literature (1995, 2005), Empire, the National and the Postcolonial: Resistance in Interaction (2002), Stories of Women (2005), Indian Arrivals 1870-1915: Networks of British Empire (2015), Postcolonial Poetics: 21st-century critical readings (2018), and a widely translated biography of Nelson Mandela (2008). She is the award-winning author of five novels, including Bloodlines (2000), Nile Baby (2008), and The Shouting in the Dark (2015), and two collections of short stories, most recently To the Volcano, and other stories (2019). Boehmer is the Director of the Oxford Centre for Life Writing and principal investigator of Postcolonial Writers Make Worlds.



    Speakers:

    Benjamin Zephaniah is one of Britain’s most eminent contemporary poets, best known for his compelling spoken-word and recorded performances. An award-winning playwright, novelist, children’s author, and musician, he is also a committed political activist and outspoken campaigner for human and animal rights. He appears regularly on radio and TV, literary festivals, and has also taken part in plays and films. He continues to record and perform with his reggae band, recently releasing the album Revolutionary Minds. His autobiography, The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah (2018), was shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award.



    Malachi McIntosh is editor and publishing director of Wasafiri. He previously co-led the Runnymede Trust’s award-winning Our Migration Story project and spent four years as a lecturer in postcolonial literature at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of Emigration and Caribbean Literature (2015) and the editor of Beyond Calypso: Re-Reading Samuel Selvon (2016). His fiction and non-fiction have been published widely, including in the Caribbean Review of Books, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, The Guardian, The Journal of Romance Studies, Research in African Literatures, and The Cambridge Companion to British Black and Asian Literature.



    Q and A Chaired by Professor Wes Williams, TORCH Director.



    The event is organised in association with the Postcolonial Writers Make Worlds project and The Oxford Centre for Life-Writing (OCLW) and forms part of the webinar series Art and Action: Literary Authorship, Politics, and Celebrity Culture.

    • 1 hr 8 min
    • video
    Book at Lunchtime: Jews, Liberalism, Antisemitism

    Book at Lunchtime: Jews, Liberalism, Antisemitism

    Book at Lunchtime is a series of bite-sized book discussions held weekly during term-time, with commentators from a range of disciplines. The events are free to attend and open to all. About the book:

    The emancipatory promise of liberalism - and its exclusionary qualities - shaped the fate of Jews in many parts of the world during the age of empire. Yet historians have mostly understood the relationship between Jews, liberalism and antisemitism as a European story, defined by the collapse of liberalism and the Holocaust. This volume challenges that perspective by taking a global approach. It takes account of recent historical work that explores issues of race, discrimination and hybrid identities in colonial and postcolonial settings, but which has done so without taking much account of Jews. Individual essays explore how liberalism, citizenship, nationality, gender, religion, race functioned differently in European Jewish heartlands, in the Mediterranean peripheries of Spain and the Ottoman empire, and in the North American Atlantic world.

    Speakers:

    Professor Abigail Green is Professor of Modern European History at Brasenose College, Oxford. Her recent work focuses on international Jewish history and transnational humanitarian activism. She is currently completing a three year Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship, working on a new book on liberalism and the Jews, tentatively titled Children of 1848: Liberalism and the Jews from the Revolutions to Human Rights. Working in partnership with colleagues in the heritage sector, she is also leading a major four year AHRC-funded project on Jewish country houses.

    Professor Simon Levis Sullam is Associate Professor of Modern History at Ca’ Foscari, University of Venice, Italy. His fields of interest include the history of ideas and culture in Europe between the Nineteenth and the Twentieth century, with a particular focus on nationalisms and fascism; the history of the Jews and of Anti-Semitism; the history of the Holocaust; the history of historiography, and questions of historical method. His many publications include, most recently, The Italian Executioners: The Genocide of the Jews of Italy.

    Professor Adam Sutcliffe is Professor of European History and co-director of the Centre for Enlightenment Studies at King’s College London. His research has focused on in the intellectual history of Western Europe between approximately 1650 and 1850, and on the history of Jews, Judaism and Jewish/non-Jewish relations in Europe from 1600 to the present. Professor Sutcliffe’s most recent publication, What Are Jews For? History, Peoplehood and Purpose, is a wide-ranging look at the history of Western thinking on the purpose of the Jewish people.

    Dr Kei Hiruta is Assistant Professor and AIAS-COFUND Fellow at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, Aarhus University, Denmark. His research lies at the intersection of political philosophy and intellectual history, with particular interest in theories of freedom in modern political thought. His book Hannah Arendt and Isaiah Berlin: Freedom, Politics and Humanity will be published from Princeton University Press in autumn 2021.

    • 1 hr 4 min

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