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TORCH | The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities

Oxford University

10
Followers
50
Plays
TORCH | The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities

TORCH | The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities

Oxford University

10
Followers
50
Plays
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About Us

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.

Latest Episodes

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)

119 minJUL 24
Comments
Cyclone Amphan: Living through the Climate Crisis

OYUB Radio Play

OYUB is a Russian documentary play about the life of Oyub Titiev, a human rights activist in the Republic of Chechnya, Russia. ‘How much longer are we going to kill and imprison human rights defenders?’ ‘With every passing year, there are more and more restrictions, and less and less rights.’ Oyub Titiev, Shali Town Court, Chechnya, Russia, 18 March 2019. Oyub Titiev's arrest and subsequent show trial in Chechnya in 2018-19 caught worldwide media attention and drew broad international criticism. Titiev was sentenced to four years imprisonment, but was released on parole three months later, having served out two years in detention since his initial arrest. In 2018, Oyub Titiev was awarded the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize. He now lives in Moscow, where he continues his human rights work. This radio play is read by current human rights activists, not actors (although one of the participants is both). It was recorded by the participants from their homes in the U.K. and Europe during the COVID-19 lockdown. The play was not rehearsed or directed, and is performed as a reading, rather than acted out. Emphasis is placed on the professional connection between participants and Titiev himself, and for this reason their biographies are included below. The play features an introduction by Julie Curtis, who is a Professor of Russian Literature at the University of Oxford. Her work on contemporary Russian drama has been pursued in association with two AHRC (OWRI) research projects hosted by the Universities of Oxford (Creative Multilingualism) and Manchester (Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community). She is the editor of a volume of essays and interviews on this subject called New Drama in Russian: Performance, Politics and Protest in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2020), to which the translator of the play, Alex Trustrum Thomas, is a contributor. The play text of OYUB is published by Bookmate Originals and is available as a free e-book in English and in Russian. This is part of a forthcoming anthology of Russian documentary plays being published later this year by Common Place (Moscow). This project was supported by Creative Multilingualism, as part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Open World Research Initiative (OWRI). N.B. Headphones are highly recommended for playback to hear the full range of sounds. Participant biographies, in order of appearance: Peter Wieltschnig is a human rights lawyer, focusing on human security in crisis and conflict as well as the right to water. He has worked on projects including: the protection and empowerment of refugees and displaced persons in Lebanon and Syria, the development of due diligence legislation to regulate the arms industry and States’ arms export regimes, the criminalisation of humanitarian assistance in Europe, and the human rights impacts of counter-terrorism legislation in Ireland and the UK. Jacob Burns is a writer, researcher and journalist who has worked across the Middle East. Currently the Communications Advisor for Yemen, Iraq and Jordan at Médecins sans Frontières, he has previously worked for Amnesty International and Forensic Architecture. Mistale Taylor conducts research into various areas of international criminal law and human rights law to provide pro bono legal advice for states, governments and NGOs in conflict/post-conflict situations in her role as Counsel at Public International Law and Policy Group. She has advised on, amongst other things, maritime piracy; the invocation of state secrets privilege to bar third party access to information in torture cases; and life sentencing practices in Europe. In her work at Trilateral Research, Mistale contributes to ongoing projects related to law, technology, privacy, data protection, human rights and ethics. Sorcha Thomson is a PhD Fellow at the University of Roskilde, Denmark, researching anticolonial struggle, internationalist solidarity and revolutionary movements in Cuba

78 minJUN 17
Comments
OYUB Radio Play

Welcome to Teddie Cast, the podcast of the Oxford Critical Theory Network (TORCH)

In our very first episode, our host and network convenor Lillian Hingley (DPhil English, Oxford) reflects upon her thoughts in lockdown. Listen as she takes you through her various thoughts on the theorist Theodor Adorno, the aphorisms he wrote whilst at Oxford, and what he might have thought of her activity on Animal Crossing as a means of dealing with the uncertainty of the pandemic. Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/

13 minMAY 19
Comments
Welcome to Teddie Cast, the podcast of the Oxford Critical Theory Network (TORCH)

Out of Silence 1: William Shakespeare

From the Silence Hub Network. Professor Alexandra Harris discusses Shakespeare's sonnet 23, communication in lockdown, body language and masks with Professor Kate McLoughlin.

14 minAPR 24
Comments
Out of Silence 1: William Shakespeare

Out of Silence 2: Virginia Woolf

From the Silence Hub. Professors Alexandra Harris and Kate McLoughlin discuss Virginia Woolf's Between the Acts, how the lockdown makes us feel self-conscious and what it feels like to live in momentous historical times.

18 minAPR 23
Comments
Out of Silence 2: Virginia Woolf

Out of Silence 3: DH Lawrence

From the Silence Hub Network. Professors Alexandra Harris and Kate McLoughlin read D. H. Lawrence's poem 'Silence' and discuss the beauty and terror of silence, sex and death wishes.

9 minAPR 23
Comments
Out of Silence 3: DH Lawrence

Out of Silence 4: William Cowper

From the Network. Silence HubProfessors Alexandra Harris and Kate McLoughlin read lines from The Task by the eighteenth-century poet William Cowper and discuss the value of staying at home and not doing very much.

12 minAPR 23
Comments
Out of Silence 4: William Cowper

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? In this interview Dr Beatrice Groves, author of Literary Allusion in Harry Potter, explores how Harry Potter works its magic on the stories and stuff of the past. Dr Groves blogs at Bathilda's Notebook on Mugglenet, where you can find out more about the real history behind Hogwarts’ creation. Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/

20 min2019 OCT 11
Comments
Literary Allusion in Harry Potter

Delius and the Sound of Place

Book at Lunchtime: Delius and the Sound of Place Few composers have responded as powerfully to place as Frederick Delius (1862–1934). Born in Yorkshire, Delius resided in the United States, Germany, and Scandinavia before settling in France, where he spent the majority of his professional career. This book examines the role of place in selected works, including 'On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring', Appalachia, and The Song of the High Hills, reading place as a creative and historically mediated category in his music. Drawing on archival sources, contemporary art, and literature, and more recent writing in cultural geography and the philosophy of place, this is a new interpretation of Delius' work, and he emerges as one of the most original and compelling voices in early twentieth-century music. As the popularity of his music grows, this book challenges the idea of Delius as a large-scale rhapsodic composer, and reveals a richer and more productive relationship between place and ...

48 min2019 JUN 28
Comments
Delius and the Sound of Place

Compassion's Edge

Book at Lunchtime: Compassion's Edge,Winner of the 2018 Society for Renaissance Studies Book Prize. Compassion's Edgeexamines the language of fellow-feeling—pity, compassion, and charitable care—that flourished in France in the period from the Edict of Nantes in 1598, which established some degree of religious toleration, to the official breakdown of that toleration with the Revocation of the Edict in 1685. This is not, however, a story about compassion overcoming difference but one of compassion reinforcing division: the seventeenth-century texts of fellow-feeling led not to communal concerns but to paralysis, misreading, and isolation. Early modern fellow-feeling drew distinctions, policed its borders, and far from reaching out to others, kept the other at arm's length. It became a central feature in the debates about the place of religious minorities after the Wars of Religion, and according to Katherine Ibbett, continues to shape the way we think about difference today. Compassion's Edgeranges widely over genres, contexts, and geographies. Ibbett reads epic poetry, novels, moral treatises, dramatic theory, and theological disputes. She takes up major figures such as D'Aubigné, Montaigne, Lafayette, Corneille, and Racine, as well as less familiar Jesuit theologians, Huguenot ministers, and nuns from a Montreal hospital. Although firmly rooted in early modern studies, she reflects on the ways in which the language of compassion figures in contemporary conversations about national and religious communities. Investigating the affective undertow of religious toleration,Compassion's Edgeprovides a robust corrective to today's hope that fellow-feeling draws us inexorably and usefully together. About the panel Katherine Ibbett is Professor of French in the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages and Caroline de Jager Fellow and Tutor in French at Trinity College. Katherine’s research focuses on early modern literature, culture and political thought. Previous publications have included a book on tragedy (especially Pierre Corneille) and theories of political action; and a coedited volume thinking through Walter Benjamin’s concept of the Trauerspiel and its relevance to a French corpus. Katherine is currently working on a book on the writing of water in early modern France and its territories, from the lyric poets of the sixteenth century to the Mississippi settlements of the 1700s. Lorna Hutsonis Merton Professor of English Literature and a Fellow of Merton College. Her research centres on the literature of the early modern period in England and the complex interrelations of literary form and other forms of cultural practice.Lorna’s books includeThe Usurer’s Daughter(1994);Rhetoric and Law in Early Modern Europe(2000);The Invention of Suspicion(2007) andCircumstantial Shakespeare(2015). Recently, she editedThe Oxford Handbook of English Law and Literature(2017), which won the Roland Bainton Award for the best early modern reference book.Lorna is also a Fellow of the British Academy and the Director of the Centre for Early Modern Studies at Oxford. Teresa Bejan is Associate Professor of Political Theory in the Department of Politics and International Relations and Tutorial Fellow in Politics at Oriel College. Teresa’s research brings perspectives from early modern English and American political thought to bear on questions in contemporary political theory and practice. Her book,Mere Civility: Disagreement and the Limits of Toleration, examines contemporary calls for civility in light of seventeenth-century debates about religious toleration. Teresa is currently working on her second book,Acknowledging Equality. Emma Claussen is Career Development Fellow at New College. Emma works on literature and thought in the early modern period, with a particular interest in politics and moral philosophy. She is currently writing a book on sixteenth-century uses of the wordpolitiqueand attendant conceptions of politics, political beha

48 min2019 JUN 18
Comments
Compassion's Edge

Latest Episodes

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)

119 minJUL 24
Comments
Cyclone Amphan: Living through the Climate Crisis

OYUB Radio Play

OYUB is a Russian documentary play about the life of Oyub Titiev, a human rights activist in the Republic of Chechnya, Russia. ‘How much longer are we going to kill and imprison human rights defenders?’ ‘With every passing year, there are more and more restrictions, and less and less rights.’ Oyub Titiev, Shali Town Court, Chechnya, Russia, 18 March 2019. Oyub Titiev's arrest and subsequent show trial in Chechnya in 2018-19 caught worldwide media attention and drew broad international criticism. Titiev was sentenced to four years imprisonment, but was released on parole three months later, having served out two years in detention since his initial arrest. In 2018, Oyub Titiev was awarded the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize. He now lives in Moscow, where he continues his human rights work. This radio play is read by current human rights activists, not actors (although one of the participants is both). It was recorded by the participants from their homes in the U.K. and Europe during the COVID-19 lockdown. The play was not rehearsed or directed, and is performed as a reading, rather than acted out. Emphasis is placed on the professional connection between participants and Titiev himself, and for this reason their biographies are included below. The play features an introduction by Julie Curtis, who is a Professor of Russian Literature at the University of Oxford. Her work on contemporary Russian drama has been pursued in association with two AHRC (OWRI) research projects hosted by the Universities of Oxford (Creative Multilingualism) and Manchester (Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community). She is the editor of a volume of essays and interviews on this subject called New Drama in Russian: Performance, Politics and Protest in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2020), to which the translator of the play, Alex Trustrum Thomas, is a contributor. The play text of OYUB is published by Bookmate Originals and is available as a free e-book in English and in Russian. This is part of a forthcoming anthology of Russian documentary plays being published later this year by Common Place (Moscow). This project was supported by Creative Multilingualism, as part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Open World Research Initiative (OWRI). N.B. Headphones are highly recommended for playback to hear the full range of sounds. Participant biographies, in order of appearance: Peter Wieltschnig is a human rights lawyer, focusing on human security in crisis and conflict as well as the right to water. He has worked on projects including: the protection and empowerment of refugees and displaced persons in Lebanon and Syria, the development of due diligence legislation to regulate the arms industry and States’ arms export regimes, the criminalisation of humanitarian assistance in Europe, and the human rights impacts of counter-terrorism legislation in Ireland and the UK. Jacob Burns is a writer, researcher and journalist who has worked across the Middle East. Currently the Communications Advisor for Yemen, Iraq and Jordan at Médecins sans Frontières, he has previously worked for Amnesty International and Forensic Architecture. Mistale Taylor conducts research into various areas of international criminal law and human rights law to provide pro bono legal advice for states, governments and NGOs in conflict/post-conflict situations in her role as Counsel at Public International Law and Policy Group. She has advised on, amongst other things, maritime piracy; the invocation of state secrets privilege to bar third party access to information in torture cases; and life sentencing practices in Europe. In her work at Trilateral Research, Mistale contributes to ongoing projects related to law, technology, privacy, data protection, human rights and ethics. Sorcha Thomson is a PhD Fellow at the University of Roskilde, Denmark, researching anticolonial struggle, internationalist solidarity and revolutionary movements in Cuba

78 minJUN 17
Comments
OYUB Radio Play

Welcome to Teddie Cast, the podcast of the Oxford Critical Theory Network (TORCH)

In our very first episode, our host and network convenor Lillian Hingley (DPhil English, Oxford) reflects upon her thoughts in lockdown. Listen as she takes you through her various thoughts on the theorist Theodor Adorno, the aphorisms he wrote whilst at Oxford, and what he might have thought of her activity on Animal Crossing as a means of dealing with the uncertainty of the pandemic. Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/

13 minMAY 19
Comments
Welcome to Teddie Cast, the podcast of the Oxford Critical Theory Network (TORCH)

Out of Silence 1: William Shakespeare

From the Silence Hub Network. Professor Alexandra Harris discusses Shakespeare's sonnet 23, communication in lockdown, body language and masks with Professor Kate McLoughlin.

14 minAPR 24
Comments
Out of Silence 1: William Shakespeare

Out of Silence 2: Virginia Woolf

From the Silence Hub. Professors Alexandra Harris and Kate McLoughlin discuss Virginia Woolf's Between the Acts, how the lockdown makes us feel self-conscious and what it feels like to live in momentous historical times.

18 minAPR 23
Comments
Out of Silence 2: Virginia Woolf

Out of Silence 3: DH Lawrence

From the Silence Hub Network. Professors Alexandra Harris and Kate McLoughlin read D. H. Lawrence's poem 'Silence' and discuss the beauty and terror of silence, sex and death wishes.

9 minAPR 23
Comments
Out of Silence 3: DH Lawrence

Out of Silence 4: William Cowper

From the Network. Silence HubProfessors Alexandra Harris and Kate McLoughlin read lines from The Task by the eighteenth-century poet William Cowper and discuss the value of staying at home and not doing very much.

12 minAPR 23
Comments
Out of Silence 4: William Cowper

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? In this interview Dr Beatrice Groves, author of Literary Allusion in Harry Potter, explores how Harry Potter works its magic on the stories and stuff of the past. Dr Groves blogs at Bathilda's Notebook on Mugglenet, where you can find out more about the real history behind Hogwarts’ creation. Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/

20 min2019 OCT 11
Comments
Literary Allusion in Harry Potter

Delius and the Sound of Place

Book at Lunchtime: Delius and the Sound of Place Few composers have responded as powerfully to place as Frederick Delius (1862–1934). Born in Yorkshire, Delius resided in the United States, Germany, and Scandinavia before settling in France, where he spent the majority of his professional career. This book examines the role of place in selected works, including 'On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring', Appalachia, and The Song of the High Hills, reading place as a creative and historically mediated category in his music. Drawing on archival sources, contemporary art, and literature, and more recent writing in cultural geography and the philosophy of place, this is a new interpretation of Delius' work, and he emerges as one of the most original and compelling voices in early twentieth-century music. As the popularity of his music grows, this book challenges the idea of Delius as a large-scale rhapsodic composer, and reveals a richer and more productive relationship between place and ...

48 min2019 JUN 28
Comments
Delius and the Sound of Place

Compassion's Edge

Book at Lunchtime: Compassion's Edge,Winner of the 2018 Society for Renaissance Studies Book Prize. Compassion's Edgeexamines the language of fellow-feeling—pity, compassion, and charitable care—that flourished in France in the period from the Edict of Nantes in 1598, which established some degree of religious toleration, to the official breakdown of that toleration with the Revocation of the Edict in 1685. This is not, however, a story about compassion overcoming difference but one of compassion reinforcing division: the seventeenth-century texts of fellow-feeling led not to communal concerns but to paralysis, misreading, and isolation. Early modern fellow-feeling drew distinctions, policed its borders, and far from reaching out to others, kept the other at arm's length. It became a central feature in the debates about the place of religious minorities after the Wars of Religion, and according to Katherine Ibbett, continues to shape the way we think about difference today. Compassion's Edgeranges widely over genres, contexts, and geographies. Ibbett reads epic poetry, novels, moral treatises, dramatic theory, and theological disputes. She takes up major figures such as D'Aubigné, Montaigne, Lafayette, Corneille, and Racine, as well as less familiar Jesuit theologians, Huguenot ministers, and nuns from a Montreal hospital. Although firmly rooted in early modern studies, she reflects on the ways in which the language of compassion figures in contemporary conversations about national and religious communities. Investigating the affective undertow of religious toleration,Compassion's Edgeprovides a robust corrective to today's hope that fellow-feeling draws us inexorably and usefully together. About the panel Katherine Ibbett is Professor of French in the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages and Caroline de Jager Fellow and Tutor in French at Trinity College. Katherine’s research focuses on early modern literature, culture and political thought. Previous publications have included a book on tragedy (especially Pierre Corneille) and theories of political action; and a coedited volume thinking through Walter Benjamin’s concept of the Trauerspiel and its relevance to a French corpus. Katherine is currently working on a book on the writing of water in early modern France and its territories, from the lyric poets of the sixteenth century to the Mississippi settlements of the 1700s. Lorna Hutsonis Merton Professor of English Literature and a Fellow of Merton College. Her research centres on the literature of the early modern period in England and the complex interrelations of literary form and other forms of cultural practice.Lorna’s books includeThe Usurer’s Daughter(1994);Rhetoric and Law in Early Modern Europe(2000);The Invention of Suspicion(2007) andCircumstantial Shakespeare(2015). Recently, she editedThe Oxford Handbook of English Law and Literature(2017), which won the Roland Bainton Award for the best early modern reference book.Lorna is also a Fellow of the British Academy and the Director of the Centre for Early Modern Studies at Oxford. Teresa Bejan is Associate Professor of Political Theory in the Department of Politics and International Relations and Tutorial Fellow in Politics at Oriel College. Teresa’s research brings perspectives from early modern English and American political thought to bear on questions in contemporary political theory and practice. Her book,Mere Civility: Disagreement and the Limits of Toleration, examines contemporary calls for civility in light of seventeenth-century debates about religious toleration. Teresa is currently working on her second book,Acknowledging Equality. Emma Claussen is Career Development Fellow at New College. Emma works on literature and thought in the early modern period, with a particular interest in politics and moral philosophy. She is currently writing a book on sixteenth-century uses of the wordpolitiqueand attendant conceptions of politics, political beha

48 min2019 JUN 18
Comments
Compassion's Edge
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