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TORCH | The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities

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.

# Episode Title Description People Date
1 Book at Lunchtime: Celebrity Culture and the Myth of Oceania An intriguing case study on how popular images of Oceania, mediated through a developing culture of celebrity, contributed to the formation of British identity both domestically and as a nascent imperial power in the eighteenth century. Ruth Scobie, Wes Williams, Ros Ballaster, Anna Senkiw 10 Dec 2019
2 The Million-Dollar Maths Equations Discover the Navier-Stokes Equations, which not only model the movement of every fluid on Earth, they also have a $1-million prize for a correct solution. Tom Crawford 10 Dec 2019
3 Unveiling the secrets and mysteries of French novels (1789-1820) Dr Fanny Lacote will lift the veil on the secrets and mysteries contained within the unknown French literary production published during a turbulent period in History. Fanny Lacote 10 Dec 2019
4 Cuneiform Discoveries from Ancient Babylon In ancient Iraq, scribes used cuneiform (wedge-shaped) script to write hundreds of thousands of texts in the Sumerian and Akkadian languages on clay tablets. Frances Reynolds 10 Dec 2019
5 Discovering Music Many people love classical music heard on the radio or in concert. But they know less about the manuscripts that performers use, and that show us how the composer created their music. Jo Bullivant 10 Dec 2019
6 The World in a Box: Cabinets of Curiosity Professor Das tells the story of the age when Britain first learnt how to collect, and of how that obsession with discovering secrets and collecting curiosities transformed the way we see the world and our place within it. Nandini Das 10 Dec 2019
7 Discovering Daily life in ancient Southern Babylonia In this talk Professor Jacob Dahl will narrate a day in the life of an ordinary Babylonian person, not a king or a scribe, but a labourer working the fields of southern Babylonia. Jacob Dahl 10 Dec 2019
8 Secrets from Missing Manuscripts Oxford’s libraries house many beautiful books copied by hand before the arrival of print. What, though, about the many more books from the past which have not survived? Daniel Sawyer 10 Dec 2019
9 AI and Creativity How does AI interact with creativity? Watch this fascinating panel discussion with mathematician Marcus du Sautoy, composer Emily Howard and Sarah Ellis, the RSC's Director of Digital Development. Marcus du Sautoy, Emily Howard, Sarah Ellis, Rana Mitter 27 Nov 2019
10 Chineke! Championing Change and Celebrating Diversity in Classical Music Chineke! Founder Chi Chi Nwanoku OBE talks about her orchestra of majority BME musicians. Chi Chi Nwanoku OBE, Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey 20 Nov 2019
11 Book at Lunchtime: India, Empire and First World War Culture TORCH Book at Lunchtime event on India, Empire and First World War Culture by Professor Santanu Das. Held on 20th November 2019. Santanu Das, Yasmin Khan, Laura Marcus, Jay Winter 20 Nov 2019
12 Supriya Chaudhuri, Significant Lives: biography, autobiography, gender, and women's history in South Asia Chaired by Elleke Boehmer. Supriya Chaudhuri 18 Nov 2019
13 How to write a southern life: Ethics and writing practices Eduardo Lalo, Elleke Boehmer, Jonny Steinberg and Premilla Nadasen give a talk for the Southern Biographies event. Chaired by, Hélène Neveu Kringelbach. Eduardo Lalo, Elleke Boehmer, Jonny Steinberg, Premilla Nadasen 18 Nov 2019
14 Southern Biographies: epistemologies, methodologies, theoretical perspectives Joy Owen, Marcio Goldman, Ramon Sarro and Santanu Das give talks as part of the Southern Biographies event. Chaired, Thomas Cousins. Joy Owen, Marcio Goldman, Ramon Sarró, Santanu Das 18 Nov 2019
15 Book at Lunchtime: Chaucer: A European Life TORCH Book at Lunchtime event on Chaucer: A European Life by Professor Marion Turner. Book at Lunchtime is a series of bite-sized book discussions held fortnightly during term-time, with commentators from a range of disciplines. Marion Turner, Bart van Es, Helen Swift, John Watts 15 Nov 2019
16 Creative Commons Literary Allusion in Harry Potter J.K. Rowling’s imagination is fired by the past. How do historical objects illuminate the real-world sources of her ideas? Beatrice Groves, Victoria McGuinness 11 Oct 2019
17 Lande: The Calais 'Jungle' and Beyond Book at Lunchtime seminar held on 16th October 2019. Dan Hicks, Sarah Mallet, Wes Williams, Leonie Ansems de Vries 06 Oct 2019
18 Storming Utopia This event is an Oxford Public Engagement with Research and part of a Knowledge Exchange project. Organised by Professor Wes Williams (Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages) and Richard Scholar (Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages). Wes Williams, Richard Scholar, Amantha Edmead, Erin Maglaque 14 Aug 2019
19 People's Landscapes: Living in Landscapes A roundtable discussion explore landscape as a space for living, considering the pressures on land from population growth and discussing questions of preservation vs. development. Alice Purkiss, Lucy Footer, Ingrid Samuel, Crispin Truman 23 Jul 2019
20 People's Landscapes: Future Landscapes A roundtable discussion consider future landscapes in the context of food, farming and conservation. Alice Purkiss, Helen Antrobus, Anita Weatherby, Sue Cornwell 23 Jul 2019
21 Knowledge Exchange Showcase - Understanding Visitor Engagement of Free Heritage Sites Using Social Media Kathryn Eccles (Oxford Internet Institute), gives a talk on her Knowledge Exchange research project on using social media data to understand visitor engagement at heritage sites. Kathryn Eccles 15 Jul 2019
22 Knowledge Exchange Showcase - Understanding Postgraduate Medical Ethics Education Andrew Papanikitas Primary Care Health Sciences and John Spicer Health Education England give a talk on their Knowledge Exchange research project on teaching ethics to medical students. Andrew Papanikitas, John Spicer 15 Jul 2019
23 Knowledge Exchange Showcase - Refugee Heritage: the Archaeology of the Calais 'Jungle' Sarah Mallet School of Archaeology and Louise Fowler Museum of London Archaeology give a talk for the Knowledge Exchange Showcase on their research on the Calais migrant camp known as the Jungle. Sarah Mallet, Louise Fowler 15 Jul 2019
24 Knowledge Exchange Showcase - Jewish Country Houses Abigail Green (Faculty of History), Nino Strachey (National Trust), and Silvia Davoli, (Strawberry Hill House) give a presentation on their Knowledge Exchange research project on Jewish Country Houses Abigail Green, Nino Strachey, Silvia Davoli 15 Jul 2019
25 Delius and the Sound of Place Book at Lunchtime: Delius and the Sound of Place Daniel Grimley, Philip Bullock, Peter Franklin, Alexandra Harris 28 Jun 2019
26 Compassion's Edge Book at Lunchtime: Compassion's Edge, Winner of the 2018 Society for Renaissance Studies Book Prize. Katherine Ibbett, Lorna Hutson, Teresa Bejan, Emma Claussen 18 Jun 2019
27 Veteran Poetics Book at Lunchtime: Veteran Poetics: British Literature in the Age of Mass Warfare, 1790–2015 Suzan Kalayci, Kate McLoughlin, Santanu Das, Elleke Boehmer 12 Jun 2019
28 Derek Attridge 'The Experience of Poetry' Book Launch Panel Discussion This event celebrates the publication of Professor Derek Attridge's work The Experience of Poetry with a book launch panel discussion. Derek Attridge, Helen Cooper, Cathy Shrank, Stephen Harrison 29 May 2019
29 Digital Unwrapping: Homer, Herculaneum, and the Scroll from Ein Gedi With Dirk Obbink (Associate Professor in Papyrology and Greek Literature, Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford) Dirk Obbink 19 Aug 2016
30 Digital Unwrapping: Homer, Herculaneum, and the Scroll from Ein Gedi With Brent Seales (Professor of Computer Science, University of Kentucky) Brent Seales 19 Aug 2016
31 Digital Unwrapping: Homer, Herculaneum, and the Scroll from Ein Gedi With Brent Seales and Dirk Obbink Brent Seales, Dirk Obbink 19 Aug 2016
32 Why We Need the Humanities How has humanities scholarship influenced biomedical research and civil liberties and how can scholars serve the common good? Donald Drakeman, Richard Ekins, Jay Sexton, Helen Small 27 Jul 2016
33 The Prospect of Global History How can global history can be applied instead of advocated? James Belich, Elleke Boehmer, Richard Drayton, Hannah-Louise Clark 27 Jul 2016
34 The Concept of 'Umma' in Early Islam Fred Donner (University of Chicago) addresses the nebulous, often misunderstood concept of 'umma' in early Islam Fred Donner 07 Jul 2016
35 The Role of Religion in Identity Julia Bray (University of Oxford) delivers a keynote lecture on the role of religion in identity Julia Bray 07 Jul 2016
36 Creative Commons Useful Frames and Dead Pasteboard Sarah Hook looks at Victorian photographic card portraits, and charts their appearances in novels and poems from the period. Sarah Hook 07 Jun 2016
37 Creative Commons David Garrick's Wigless Celebrity Ruth Scobie's bite-sized talk on a portrait of David Garrick by Johan Zoffany Ruth Scobie 07 Jun 2016
38 Creative Commons Chasing Butterflies: Capturing the Transience of Childhood Emily Knight talks at the Ashmolean Museum about eighteenth-century portraits of children. Emily Knight 07 Jun 2016
39 Creative Commons The Death Masks of Macbeth Professor Simon Palfrey discusses the deaths and afterlives of Oliver Cromwell and Macbeth Simon Palfrey 07 Jun 2016
40 Creative Commons Andy Warhol's Girls Eleri Watson explores Andy Warhol's relationships with women. Eleri Watson 07 Jun 2016
41 Creative Commons Messages through Ashmolean Portraits Vicky McGuinness's bite-sized talk at Ashmolean LiveFriday: Framed Victoria McGuinness 07 Jun 2016
42 Empire and Identity: Imperial Rule and Peoplehood across Time and Place A round table discussion of empire's role in identity formation across time and place. Miles Larmer, Elisabeth Bolorinos Allard, Bryan Ward-Perkins, Florian Schwarz 25 May 2016
43 How English Became English A Book at Lunchtime discussion looking at the English language and how it is developing with Simon Horobin, Faramerz Dabhoiwala, Martin Wynne, Philip Durkin and Susie Dent. Simon Horobin, Faramerz Dabhoiwala, Martin Wynne, Philip Durkin 06 May 2016
44 Rereading East Germany A Book at Lunchtime discussion tracing the cultural legacy of the GDR with Karen Leeder, Dennis Tate, Sara Jones, Marc Silberman and Tom Smith Karen Leeder, Dennis Tate, Sara Jones, Marc Silberman 05 May 2016
45 Thinking with Literature A Book at Lunchtime discussion with Terence Cave about literature's links to cognitive science. Terence Cave, Marina Warner, Ilona Roth, Deirdre Wilson 28 Apr 2016
46 Knowledge Exchange Highlights Highlights from the Knowledge Exchange Showcase, 26 November 2015. Joshua Hordern, Andrew Papanikitas, Barry Murnane, Laura Tunbridge 28 Apr 2016
47 Closing Reflections The closing reflections of speakers Professor Joshua Hordern and Stephen Bergman. Joshua Hordern, Professor Stephen Bergman 08 Mar 2016
48 Book at Lunchtime: Arcadia A Book at Lunchtime discussion of Iain Pears' interactive novel Arcadia Elleke Boehmer, Alex Butterworth, Emily Short, Iain Pears 07 Mar 2016
49 Creative Commons Philip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials' Margaret Kean explores how Philip Pullman plays with the idea of communication across different media in his trilogy Margaret Kean 04 Mar 2016
50 Creative Commons Middle Earth and Tolkien's Digital Afterlives Stuart Lee traces how Tolkien's Middle-earth and especially 'The Lord of the Rings' have been reimagined through a range of digital technologies, from games to films Stuart Lee 04 Mar 2016
51 Creative Commons Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland Robert Douglas-Fairhurst explores how every generation has created its own Wonderland, and why we are still so curious about Alice’s dreamworld Robert Douglas-Fairhurst 04 Mar 2016
52 Creative Commons The Stories of Lewis Carroll, J.R.R. Tolkien and Philip Pullman Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, Stuart Lee and Margaret Kean explore the digital afterlives of these celebrated storytellers Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, Stuart Lee, Margaret Kean 04 Mar 2016
53 Are the Humanities More Digital than the Sciences? A panel discussion with Howard Hotson, Andrew Prescott, Dave De Roure and Heather Viles Howard Hotson, Andrew Prescott, Dave De Roure, Heather Viles 02 Mar 2016
54 The Future of the Professions In an era when machines can out-perform human beings at most tasks what are the prospects for employment? Richard Susskind, Daniel Susskind, Joshua Hordern, Vili Lehdonvirta 16 Feb 2016
55 Wharton in Wartime A roundtable discussion to mark the publication of Alice Kelly's critical edition of Edith Wharton's First World War reportage Fighting France: From Dunkerque to Belfort (Edinburgh University Press, 2015). Alice Kelly, Shafquat Towheed, Dame Hermione Lee, Elleke Boehmer 11 Feb 2016
56 Heroes and Villains in Game of Thrones Dr Carolyne Larrington gives a talk about Game of Thrones and the often complicated morality its characters have. Part of the Ashmolean Live Friday event on 29th January 2016. Carolyne Larrington 10 Feb 2016
57 Creative Commons Intravenous anaesthesia on Turner's High Street Dr Alessia Pannese explores a painted documentation of a relatively little known event in Oxford local history: the first intravenous anaesthesia during this TORCH Bite-Size talk at the Ashmolean Museum LiveFriday Alessia Pannese 09 Feb 2016
58 Creative Commons Valour, betrayal and desire: heroes and villains in Indian paintings Nisha Somasundaram explores both male and female heroes and demons in Indian epics in this TORCH Bite-Size talk at the Ashmolean Museum LiveFriday. Nisha Somasundaram 09 Feb 2016
59 Live and Let Die - in Greek Epic Almut Fries explores the iconography of the black-figured wine jug in this TORCH Bite-Size talk at the Ashmolean Museum LiveFriday Almut Fries 08 Feb 2016
60 The Alfred Jewel and Kingship Amy Faulkner explores how Alfred’s translations question what it means to be a good king in this TORCH Bite-Size talk at the Ashmolean Museum LiveFriday Amy Faulkner 08 Feb 2016
61 Great men and fallen heroes Jessica Goodman explores how the meaning of ‘hero’ shifted in France in the late eighteenth-century in this TORCH Bite-Size talk at the Ashmolean Museum LiveFriday. jessica Goodman 08 Feb 2016
62 Knowledge Machines How have digital technologies changed research practices in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities? Eric Meyer, Lucie Burgess, Kathryn Eccles, James Smithies 05 Feb 2016
63 Multiple Identities in a Frontier Land: Balkh and ‘The Iranians’ In this paper Dr. Arezou Azad focused on the region of Balkh in the north of modern-day Afghanistan, ancient Bactria Arezou Azad 02 Feb 2016
64 Ethnicity and Politics in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire: The Kurdish Case Dr. Djene Bajalan talks as part of the Language and Community from the Armenian to Iranian Plateaux series Djene Bajalan 26 Jan 2016
65 Ilya Afanasyev and Nicholas S. M. Matheou Introduction Opening remarks from Ilya Afanasyev and Nicholas S M Matheou Ilya Afanasyev, Nicholas S M Matheou 26 Jan 2016
66 Tom Chatfield on Humans and Machines in the Digital Age Tom Chatfield talks as part of the "What does it mean to be human in the digital age?" event Tom Chatfield 26 Jan 2016
67 Chris Fletcher on Libraries in the Digital Age Chris Fletcher talks as part of the "What does it mean to be human in the digital age?" event Chris Fletcher 26 Jan 2016
68 Emma Smith on Forgetting in the Digital Age Emma Smith talks as part of the "What does it mean to be human in the digital age?" event Emma Smith 26 Jan 2016
69 Diane Lees on Museums and Heritage in the Digital Age Diane Lees talks as part of the "What does it mean to be human in the digital age?" event Diane Lees 26 Jan 2016
70 What Does it Mean to be Human in the Digital Age? A librarian, literary scholar, museum director and digital commentator explore how the digital age has shaped, and will continue to shape, the human experience and the humanities Lynne Brindley, Tom Chatfield, Chris Fletcher, Diane Lees 22 Jan 2016
71 Crossing Boundaries: Medievalists in Cross-Disciplinary Conversation Launch event for the TORCH programme Oxford Medieval Studies Emma Dillon, Henrike Lähnemann, David Wallace, Chris Wickham 13 Jan 2016
72 Framing the Past through Suffering and Victimhood – Kurdish Discourses of Identity Christine Allison gives a talk as part of The Long History of Identity, Ethnicity, and Nationhood workshop Christine Allison 05 Jan 2016
73 Making Sense of Kurdish Identity During the Middle Ages: Political Factors and Cultural Crossroad Boris James gives a talk as part of the The Long History of Identity, Ethnicity, and Nationhood workshop Boris James 04 Jan 2016
74 Factors Affecting Iranian Identities from the Early Islamic Era to the Sixteenth Century Ahmad Ashraf gives a talk as part of the The Long History of Identity, Ethnicity, and Nationhood workshop Ahmad Ashra 04 Jan 2016
75 Constructions of Armenian Identity in the Early Medieval Period Tim Greenwood gives a talk as part of the The Long History of Identity, Ethnicity, and Nationhood workshop Tim Greenwood 04 Jan 2016
76 Iranian ‘Identities’ in Pre-Modern Times – Reality or Myth? Speaker: Bert Fragner (Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna). Bert Fragner 18 Dec 2015
77 The Oxford Dodo: Culture at the Crossroads An interdisciplinary panel discussion exploring the life and legacy of the dodo multiple 07 Dec 2015
78 The Dodo in the Museum Director of the Museum of Natural History, Paul Smith, gives a presentation at ‘The Oxford Dodo: Culture at the Crossroads’ Paul Smith 07 Dec 2015
79 The Dodo in Literature Literary scholar Kirsten Shepherd-Barr’s presentation at ‘The Oxford Dodo: Culture at the Crossroads’ Kirsten Shepherd-Barr 07 Dec 2015
80 The Dodo, Animal Icons and De-Extinction Environmental researcher Paul Jepson’s presentation at ‘The Oxford Dodo: Culture at the Crossroads’ Paul Jepson 07 Dec 2015
81 The Dodo and Creativity Author Jasper Fforde’s presentation at ‘The Oxford Dodo: Culture at the Crossroads’ Jasper Fforde 04 Dec 2015
82 The Dodo and Exploration Historian of Science Pietro Corsi’s presentation at ‘The Oxford Dodo: Culture at the Crossroads’ Pietro Corsi 04 Dec 2015
83 Heidegger and Phenomenology Dr Joshua Broggi speaks at the Oxford Phenomenology Network seminar. Joshua Broggi 03 Dec 2015
84 Interview with Dr Sophie Ratcliffe Practical Medical Humanities Dr Sophie Ratcliffe 30 Nov 2015
85 Interview with Dr Andrew Papanikitas The importance of Medical Humanities in good medical practice Dr Andrew Papanikitas 30 Nov 2015
86 Interview with Dr Emma Mckenzie-Edwards The use of Humanities in Medical Education Dr Emma Mckenzie-Edwards 30 Nov 2015
87 Interview with Dr Marion Lynch Medical Humanities and Narratives Dr Marion Lynch 30 Nov 2015
88 Interview with Professor Stephen Lammers Medical Humanities and Narratives Professor Stephen Lammers 30 Nov 2015
89 Indian Arrivals, 1870-1915: Networks of British Empire Elleke Boehmer discusses her new book with Megan Robb, Faisal Devji and Santanu Das Elleke Boehmer, Faisal Devji, Megan Robb, Santanu Das 23 Nov 2015
90 Comparative Encounters between Artaud, Michaux and the Zhuangzi Part of "Book at Lunchtime", a fortnightly series of bite size book discussions, with commentators from a range of disciplines. Xiaofan Amy Li discusses her new book "Comparative Encounters Between Artaud, Michaux and the Zhuangzi." Xiofan Amy Li, Elleke Boehmer, Wang Xing, Matthew Reynolds 20 Nov 2015
91 The Lord of the Rings: Tolkien's Legacy 60 years since the publication of the series' final volume, a distinguished panel explore Tolkien's literary legacy Elleke Boehmer, Stuart Lee, Patrick Curry, Dimitra Fimi 09 Nov 2015
92 The Silk Roads: A New History of the World Peter Frankopan discusses his new book with Averil Cameron, Robert Moore and Elleke Boehmer Peter Frankopan, Averil Cameron, Robert Moore, Elleke Boehmer 27 Oct 2015
93 Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life Jonathan Bate, Anne Farrar Donovan, Seamus Perry and Oliver Taplin discuss life-writing, poetry and the poet Jonathan Bate, Seamus Perry, Oliver Taplin, Anne Farrar Donovan 20 Oct 2015
94 The Pragmatic Enlightenment and Other Enlightenments Dennis Rasmussen (Tufts University, Boston) discusses his book 'The Pragmatic Enlightenment' Dennis Rasmussen 14 Oct 2015
95 Too Valuable to Die? Silke Ackermann, Nigel Biggar and Liz Bruton debate the ethics of science and scientists going to war Silke Ackermann, Nigel Biggar, Liz Bruton 14 Oct 2015
96 Periodic Tales Author Hugh Aldersey-Williams, historian of science Jo Hedesan and chemist Peter Battle discuss the ways in which the elements continue to inspire us today Hugh Aldersey-Williams, Jo Hedesan, Peter Battle 13 Oct 2015
97 Interview with Michael Docherty We catch up with Cancer Research UK's Director of Digital on fundraising in the digital age. Michael Docherty 03 Aug 2015
98 Fundraising through Digital Michael Docherty (Cancer Research UK) on how clicktivists, slacktivists and hacktivists are helping us beat cancer sooner. Michael Docherty 03 Aug 2015
99 Callaloo Creative Writing Reading by Vievee Francis Vievee reads poetry from her collection 'Forest Primeval' Vievee Francis 24 Jul 2015
100 Callaloo Creative Writing Reading by Maaza Mengiste Maaza reads from her novel dealing with the Italian invasion of Ethiopia during the early days of the Second World War Maaza Mengiste 24 Jul 2015