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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
101 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
102 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
103 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
104 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
105 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
106 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
107 Creative Commons Andy Warhol's Girls Eleri Watson explores Andy Warhol's relationships with women. Eleri Watson 07 Jun 2016
108 Creative Commons Messages through Ashmolean Portraits Vicky McGuinness's bite-sized talk at Ashmolean LiveFriday: Framed Victoria McGuinness 07 Jun 2016
109 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
110 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
111 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
112 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
113 Knowledge Exchange Highlights Highlights from the Knowledge Exchange Showcase, 26 November 2015. Joshua Hordern, Andrew Papanikitas, Barry Murnane, Laura Tunbridge 28 Apr 2016
114 Closing Reflections The closing reflections of speakers Professor Joshua Hordern and Stephen Bergman. Joshua Hordern, Professor Stephen Bergman 08 Mar 2016
115 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
116 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
117 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
118 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
119 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
120 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
121 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
122 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
123 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
124 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
125 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
126 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
127 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
128 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
129 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
130 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
131 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
132 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
133 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
134 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
135 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
136 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
137 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
138 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
139 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
140 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
141 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
142 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
143 Iranian ‘Identities’ in Pre-Modern Times – Reality or Myth? Speaker: Bert Fragner (Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna). Bert Fragner 18 Dec 2015
144 The Oxford Dodo: Culture at the Crossroads An interdisciplinary panel discussion exploring the life and legacy of the dodo multiple 07 Dec 2015
145 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
146 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
147 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
148 The Dodo and Creativity Author Jasper Fforde’s presentation at ‘The Oxford Dodo: Culture at the Crossroads’ Jasper Fforde 04 Dec 2015
149 The Dodo and Exploration Historian of Science Pietro Corsi’s presentation at ‘The Oxford Dodo: Culture at the Crossroads’ Pietro Corsi 04 Dec 2015
150 Heidegger and Phenomenology Dr Joshua Broggi speaks at the Oxford Phenomenology Network seminar. Joshua Broggi 03 Dec 2015
151 Interview with Dr Sophie Ratcliffe Practical Medical Humanities Dr Sophie Ratcliffe 30 Nov 2015
152 Interview with Dr Andrew Papanikitas The importance of Medical Humanities in good medical practice Dr Andrew Papanikitas 30 Nov 2015
153 Interview with Dr Emma Mckenzie-Edwards The use of Humanities in Medical Education Dr Emma Mckenzie-Edwards 30 Nov 2015
154 Interview with Dr Marion Lynch Medical Humanities and Narratives Dr Marion Lynch 30 Nov 2015
155 Interview with Professor Stephen Lammers Medical Humanities and Narratives Professor Stephen Lammers 30 Nov 2015
156 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
157 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
158 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
159 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
160 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
161 The Pragmatic Enlightenment and Other Enlightenments Dennis Rasmussen (Tufts University, Boston) discusses his book 'The Pragmatic Enlightenment' Dennis Rasmussen 14 Oct 2015
162 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
163 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
164 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
165 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
166 Callaloo Creative Writing Reading by Vievee Francis Vievee reads poetry from her collection 'Forest Primeval' Vievee Francis 24 Jul 2015
167 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
168 Callaloo Literary Lecture and Reading by Fred d'Aguiar Fred reads fiction and poems about his childhood in Guyana, remembering his father, and slavery Fred d'Aguair 24 Jul 2015
169 The Unspeakability of Trauma, the Unspeakability of Joy: The Pursuit of the Real at the Turn of the Twenty-first Century A lecture by Amy Hollywood with response from Kate Kirkpatrick and Johannes Depnering. Amy Hollywood, Kate Kirkpatrick, Johannes Depnering 18 Jun 2015
170 Henry Adams, Henry James, and Minnie Temple: The Pursuit of the Real at the Turn of the 20th Century A lecture by Amy Hollywood. Amy Hollywood 18 Jun 2015
171 The Real, the True, and Critique: Mysticism in the Study of Religion A lecture by Amy Hollywood with response from Vincent Gillespie and Joana Serrado. Amy Hollywood, Vincent Gillespie, Joana Serrado, Kate Kilpatrick 18 Jun 2015
172 Phenomenology and Health A highlights video from the one-day conference Andrew Papanikitas, Anna Kirkengen 15 Jun 2015
173 Suffering History: Phenomenology at the Intersection of Disease and Illness A presentation by Austin Argentieri. Austin Argentieri 10 Jun 2015
174 Leviathan and the Air Pump: Highlights Historians of Science David Wootton and Michael Hunter review the controversial book 50 years on Ritchie Robertson, David Wootton, Michael Hunter 28 May 2015
175 Rubble Flora: Volker Braun Poetry Reading The German poet gives a special reading of old and new work and answers questions with David Constantine and Karen Leeder. Volker Braun, David Constantine, Karen Leeder 20 May 2015
176 Theatre and Evolution from Ibsen to Beckett An interdisciplinary discussion of Kirsten Shepherd-Barr's book Kirsten Shepherd-Barr, Michael Billington, Morten Kringlebach, Laura Marcus 20 May 2015
177 Aristotle on Perceiving Objects A discussion of Anna Marmodoro's book Anna Marmodoro, Ophelia Deroy, Richard Sorabji, Rowland Stout 14 May 2015
178 Light in Germany: Scenes from an Unknown Enlightenment A discussion of Jim Reed's book Jim Reed, Joachim Whaley, Kevin Hilliard, Ritchie Robertson 12 May 2015
179 Leviathan and the Air Pump: Thirty Years On The historian of science David Wootton reviews the controversial dispute between Robert Boyle and Thomas Hobbes, followed by a reply from Boyle's biographer Michael Hunter Ritchie Robertson, David Wootton, Michael Hunter 12 May 2015
180 Wildlife in the Anthropocene: Conservation after Nature An interdisciplinary discussion of Jamie Lorimer's book Jamie Lorimer, William Beinart, Daniel Grimley, Nikolaj Lübecker 06 May 2015
181 That Other Place: Art and Alzheimer's A short video about a recent exhibition of photography and film Helen Statham, Victoria McGuinness, Nicola Onions 28 Apr 2015
182 Humanities and Science: Representing Science An interdisciplinary discussion exploring the many possible approaches to representing science through the arts, as well as potential challenges Kirsten Shepherd-Barr, Heidi Johansen-Berg, Jason Gaiger, Annie Cattrell 17 Mar 2015
183 The Perfect Theory: A Century of Geniuses and the Battle over General Relativity A discussion exploring Pedro Ferreira's book Pedro Ferreira, Harvey Brown, Alex Butterworth, Javier Lezaun 16 Mar 2015
184 Humanities and Science: Culture and Technology An interdisciplinary discussion exploring culture’s interaction with technology Maria Blanco, Fritz Vollrath, Andrew Wilson, Lionel Tarassenko 16 Mar 2015
185 Observing by Hand: Sketching the Nebulae in the Nineteenth Century A discussion of Omar Nasim's book Omar Nasim, Stephen Johnston, Martin Kemp, Chris Lintott 16 Mar 2015
186 Oxford University International Women's Day 2015 Feminists, acadeamics and journalists reflect on feminism's achievements and future path. Selina Todd, Senia Paseta, Melissa Benn, Trudy Coe 16 Mar 2015
187 Wayne McGregor: Neuroscience and Dance Wayne McGregor (Director, Random Dance) talks about his choreographic practice with Dr Phil Barnard, (MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge) and Eckhard Thiemann (Arts Producer). Wayne McGregor, Phil Barnard, Eckhard Thiemann 16 Mar 2015
188 Faith and Wisdom in Science A Book at Lunchtime discussion with Tom McLeish, Sally Shuttleworth, John Christie and Ard A. Louis Tom McLeish, Sally Shuttleworth, John Christie, Ard Louis 19 Feb 2015
189 Humanities and Science: Randomness and Order An interdisciplinary discussion exploring the role of randomness and order in physics, probability, history and music. Ian Walmsley, Jonathan Cross, Alison Etheridge, Chris Wickham 18 Feb 2015
190 The Stressed Sex: Uncovering the Truth About Men, Women, and Mental Health An interdisciplinary panel of scholars discuss Daniel Freeman's book Daniel Freeman, Elaine Fox, Avner Offer, Janet Radcliffe Richards 09 Feb 2015
191 Humanities and Science: Mental Health An interdisciplinary discussion exploring the role of the humanities in mental health. Edward Harcourt, John Geddes, Matthew Broome, Emily Troscianko 09 Feb 2015
192 Unconscious Memory and Mental Space Professor Michael Burke and Dr Sebastian Groes Michael Burke, Sebastian Groes, Ben Morgan 26 Jan 2015
193 Exploring the Two Cultures Professor Larry Squire and Dr Simon Kemp Larry Squire, Simon Kemp 26 Jan 2015
194 Narrative & Proof: Two Sides of the Same Equation One of the UK's leading scientists, Marcus du Sautoy, argues that mathematical proofs are not just number-based, but also a form of narrative. Marcus du Sautoy, Roger Penrose, Laura Marcus, Ben Okri 22 Jan 2015
195 Common People: The History of an English Family An interdisciplinary panel of scholars discuss Alison Light's book Alison Light, Lyndal Roper, Laura Marcus, Selina Todd 11 Dec 2014
196 Alison Light on "Common People" The author discusses her new book, exploring the interplay between fiction and history, the redefinition of the common, and family history Alison Light 08 Dec 2014
197 Irish Nationalist Women, 1900-1918 An interdisciplinary panel of scholars discuss Dr Senia Paseta's book Senia Paseta, Tara Stubbs, Desmond King, Roy Foster 03 Dec 2014
198 Creative Commons Senia Paseta on Irish Nationalist Women Dr Paseta explores women's history and the nationalist narrative in Ireland. Senia Paseta 01 Dec 2014
199 The Cult of Saints Dr Bryan Ward-Perkins introduces a new research project which examines the origins and development of the cult of Christian saints. Bryan Ward-Perkins 12 Sep 2014
200 The Jagiellonians Dr Natalia Nowakowska introduces a new research project which examines the Renaissance Europe Jagiellonian dynasty as an international political phenomenon. Natalia Nowakowska 12 Sep 2014