Monthly Archives: January 2017

The Weinrebe Lecture series 2017: Writing World Lives

The annual Weinrebe Lectures in Life-Writing will take place over four weeks in the Leonard Wolfson Auditorium at Wolfson College beginning on Tuesday, 24 January 2017.

The lectures are open to all, free of charge, with no reservation required. You can listen to podcasts of previous years’ Weinrebe lectures here.

Tuesday 24 January, 5:30-7pm, LWA
Patrick French: ‘How to Write a World Life’

Patrick French is a British writer and historian, based in London and Delhi. He is the author of several books including: Younghusband: the Last Great Imperial Adventurer, about Francis Younghusband; The World Is What It Is, the authorised biography of Nobel Laureate V. S. Naipaul and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award; and India: a Portrait, a biography of 1.2 billion people.

Tuesday 31 January, 5:30-7pm, LWA
Elleke Boehmer: ‘Nelson Mandela: A World Life’

Elleke Boehmer is Professor of World Literature in English in the English Faculty, University of Oxford, and currently Director of the Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH). She is a founding figure in the field of colonial and postcolonial studies, and internationally known for her research in anglophone literatures of empire and anti-empire. She is an acclaimed novelist and short story writer, most recently of The Shouting in the Dark. She is the author of the cultural history, Nelson Mandela: A Very Short IntroductionColonial and Postcolonial Literature: Migrant Metaphors, and Empire, the National, and the Postcolonial, 1890-1920 (all published by Oxford University Press).

Tuesday 7 February, 5:30-7pm, LWA
Roy Foster: ‘‘Doors into the Dark’: Seamus Heaney and his Worlds’

Roy Foster is the Carroll Professor of Irish History at Hertford College, Oxford. Professor Foster’s many books include biographies of politicians such as Charles Stewart Parnell and Lord Randolph Churchill, a large-scale history of Ireland from the 17th century, the two-volume biography of Yeats, and many essays on Irish culture and politics, including a book on the ‘Celtic Tiger’ phenomenon of the 1990s. A recent book, Words Alone: Yeats and his inheritances, presents a re-reading of Irish literary history throughout the nineteenth century. He is currently working on a history of Irish literature.

Tuesday 21 February, 5:30-7pm, LWA
Lyndal Roper: ‘Martin Luther, Difficult Hero’

Lyndal Roper is a Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, and the first woman to hold the Regius Chair in History. Her first book, The Holy Household. Women and Morals in Reformation Augsburg argued that the Reformation developed a theology of gender. Its attraction lay in its offer of the vision of a ‘holy household’ where the roles of men and women were clearly distinct. Oedipus and the Devil ranges through the literary culture of the sixteenth century to the use of psychoanalysis in studying witchcraft. Witch Craze argues that what powered the witch craze was a set of fears about fertility in the human and the natural world, and The Witch in the Western Imagination explores images of witches and witchcraft in art and literature. She is currently writing a biography of Martin Luther.

Photo by Lena Bell (CC0 1.0)

The Celebrity Interview: History, Aesthetics, Method

Please join us on Tuesday 17th January at 5:30pm, at the Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College.

The second in a new series of OCLW events focusing on the intersections of life-writing and celebrity, this discussion panel is dedicated to the genre of the celebrity interview. Scholars and practitioners will cast a spotlight on one of the dominant forms in contemporary media and celebrity culture, exploring its history, aesthetics, and methodology.

In her talk on “Interviews and the Work of Celebrity”, Rebecca Roach (King’s College London) will consider the labour involved in a format often derided as being little else but celebrity gossip, even though it has become the predominant mode of (self)promotion for authors and other public figures.

Anneleen Masschelein (University of Leuven, Belgium) examines the practice of the recorded last interview by eminent intellectuals, such as Dennis Potter, Edward Said, and Stuart Hall. Her contribution looks at this media phenomenon in the light of the ‘famous last words’ tradition and against the background of a shift in practices of dying in contemporary Western culture.

The panel will be rounded off by a ‘meta interview’: a conversation between critic and biographer Hermione Lee and arts journalist and broadcaster Mark Lawson about the art and method of the celebrity interview.

The event is free and open to all.

For more information, please contact Kate Kennedy 

Photo by Oscar Keys (CC0 1.0)

 

War Time: International Society for First World War Studies conference

 

The 9th conference of the International Society of First World War Studies took place at the University of Oxford between 9th-11th November. The conference welcomed more than 80 academics from 11 different countries, who met at the Maison Française d’Oxford. Held at the midpoint of the First World War formal centenary period, this year’s ‘War Time’ conference theme aimed to encourage scholars to re-consider and reflect upon the way time has impacted and shaped conflict itself and subsequent scholarship.

ISFWWS conferences are based on an unusual yet very productive format, which aims to inspire wide-ranging academic discussion and provide junior researchers with an opportunity to present their work in an encouraging and stimulating environment. All 18 conference papers, which had been authored by PhD students and early-career researchers, were circulated amongst the participants in advance of the event. A senior academic in the field was invited to provide a commentary for each individual paper. The papers, which covered a variety of topics, were then paired up to create the following nine panels:

  • Aerial Time
  • Endgame
  • Medical Time
  • Soundscapes of Time
  • Ideological Timelines
  • Personal Memories and Experiences
  • Materiality on the Home Front
  • Discursive Time
  • Anticipation

Following a commentary, the author of the paper had an opportunity to respond. Afterwards, the floor was opened to discussion.

The conference was framed by keynote lectures from prominent historians Professor Sir Hew Strachan (University of St Andrews), Professor John Horne (Trinity College Dublin / University of Oxford), and Professor Margaret MacMillan (University of Oxford), in which they discussed the topics of time and strategic planning, time-frames, and moving from war to peace respectively. The keynotes, which were recorded by the University of Oxford’s recording team, will be available online shortly.

The conference organisers had the privilege of welcoming a number of distinguished scholars. OCLW’s Weinrebe Research Fellow in Life-writing,  Dr. Kate Kennedy, was asked to serve as commentator for Ellen Davies’s paper, entitled “‘Mechanical Rhythms’: Music & Temporal Multiplicities in Pre-War Paris’”, on the Soundscapes of Time panel.

Furthermore, during the conference two separate prizes were announced and awarded. At the end of the first day the ‘WWI Research Competition’, open to all students and staff members of the University of Oxford who had original ideas for engaging and accessible research projects relating to the war, was awarded to Dr. Alice Kelly (Harmsworth Fellow at the Rothermere American Institute) for her podcast by The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities (TORCH). The runner-up was JC Niala, an MSt Creative Writing student from Kellogg College for her podcast ‘African Soldiers in WWI: Forgotten in a global war’.

The Gail Braybon Prize for Best Postgraduate Paper, which the conference committee- with input from an ISFWWS representative- selected from amongst those conference papers whose authors do not already hold a doctorate, was announced during the concluding remarks. The winner was Assaf Mond of Tel Aviv University with his paper ‘‘‘It is at night-time that we notice most of the changes in our life caused by the war’: Zeppelins, Time and Space in Great War London”.

The conference proceedings were followed on 12th November by a public engagement day organised by Oxford’s Academic IT department, during which twenty conference delegates and organisers worked as part of the volunteer team helping to run a ‘Community Collection Day’ as part of the Europeana14-18 project.

Adam Luptak, Hanna Smyth, and Louis Halewood, War Time co-organisers, Globalising and Localising the Great War, University of Oxford.