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Headline Series 2017

Humanities and Identities fingerprint image
Wednesday, January 25, 2017 -
5:30pm to 7:30pm
Mathematical Institute, Woodstock Road, Oxford

With funding from the Vice-Chancellor’s Diversity Fund and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, TORCH’s Annual Headline Series for 2017 is Humanities & Identities.

The series will focus on multiple research areas relating to diversity including race, gender, sexuality, disability, poverty, religion, class, and inequality.

Introduced by the Vice-Chancellor Professor Louise Richardson, this opening event will bring together a panel of experts from across the Humanities and the cultural and political sectors to discuss "What does diversity mean to me?". The panel will examine how diversity and inclusivity has shaped, and will continue to shape, the human experience and identity. We will be joined by Deborah Cameron (Rupert Murdoch Professor of Language and Communication), Ellah Wakatama Allfrey (Author and literary critic), Maria Misra (Lecturer in Modern History), Jay Stewart (co-founder of ‘Gendered Intelligence’), Marvin Rees (Mayor of Bristol) and Miles Hewstone (Professor in Social Psychology). The discussion will be chaired by Elleke Boehmer (Professor of World Literature in English and TORCH Director).

There will be plenty of time for audience questions and discussion, which will be followed by a drinks reception from 7.00-7.30pm. Free and all welcome.

Please click here to register for your free ticket.

If you are unable to make it in person this event is being livestreamed at 17:30 GMT (weblink to be released closer to the event).

There will be a free crèche available at this event. Please email if you would like to book a space for your child. 

Please email if you have any questions or would like further information.

Professor Deborah Cameron
Deborah Cameron is ‘Rupert Murdoch Professor of Language and Communication’ at Worcester College; a post she has held since 2004. Prior to that she held posts at Roehampton University, Strathclyde University, the Institute of Education in London and the College of William and Mary in Virginia, USA. She has also held visiting professorships and fellowships at the University of Gothenburg, New York University and the University of Technology Sydney.

Her work focusses on sociolinguistics, especially the relationship between language and gender; language ideologies and linguistic normativity. Her most recent book, authored with Sylvia Shaw, is Gender, Power and Political Speech, which explores the influence of gender on political speech by analysing the performances of the three female party leaders who took part in the 2015 televised UK election debates.

Since coming to Oxford she has become increasingly involved in communicating with a wider audience about language and linguistic research. In 2007, her book The Myth of Mars and Venus, a general-interest book about language and gender differences, was published; parts of which were serialized in the Guardian. She has also made several appearances on radio, and writes a blog called ‘Language: a feminist guide’. She has occasionally been known to perform as a linguistic stand-up comedian.

Ellah Wakatama Allfrey

Ellah Wakatama Allfrey is a Zimbabwe-born editor and literary critic. She is a former Deputy Editor of literary quarterly Granta and former Senior Editor at Jonathan Cape, Random House.

She currently sits on the boards of Art for Amnesty, the Caine Prize for African Writing, the Jalada Collective (Kenya) and the Writers’ Centre Norwich. She has been on the judging panel of numerous literary prizes, including the David Cohen Prize, the Caine Prize for African Writing, the BOCAS Prize for Caribbean Literature, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the Man Booker Prize. Her journalism has appeared in the Telegraph and the Observer and she is a contributor to the book pages of NPR.

She is the editor of four anthologies including Safe House, Explorations in Creative Non-Fiction and the 2014 anthology Africa39 which showcased the work of 39 of the best writers from sub-Saharan Africa. She is patron of the Etisalat Prize for Literature, a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and was awarded an OBE in 2011 for services to the publishing industry.

Dr Maria Misra
Maria Misra is University Lecturer in Modern History at Keble College, specialising in the politics, culture, and economics of nineteenth and twentieth-century imperialism. She has written two books on Indian history: Business, Race and Politics in British India and Vishnu's Crowded Temple, India since the Great Rebellion. The latter addresses the question of how India's traditions of caste and religious identities are able to coexist with a modern democratic state on its way to becoming a major economic power.

In 2001 she wrote and presented a Channel 4 documentary: An Indian Affair, which explored issues of race and culture in India in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. She has also appeared in many other TV and radio documentaries, as well as on BBC's Question Time. She has also written articles on issues of contemporary history and current affairs for several newspapers.

She is currently writing a global history of gender, taking a long historical perspective, and examining the interconnections between colonial, colonised and post-colonial perspectives in shaping current debates and controversies over the global gender order.

Dr Jay Stewart
Jay Stewart is co-founder of ‘Gendered Intelligence’ a non-profit company which strives to crease understandings of gender diversity through creative projects. They work predominantly with the trans community and those who impact on trans lives. Recently he has lead on the projects: ‘What makes your gender? Hacking into the Science Museum’ and ‘GI’s Anatomy: a life drawing project for trans and intersex people’.

His PhD was carried out in the department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London, with his thesis entitled “Trans on Telly: Popular Documentary and the Production of Transgender Knowledge”.

He was also an associate researcher on the AHRC funded Performance Matters project, which brought together artists, curators and academics to investigate the cultural value of performance. In 2014 he was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List for services to the trans community.

Professor Miles Hewstone

Miles Hewstone is Professor in Social Psychology at New College and Director of the Oxford Centre for the Study of Intergroup Conflict. His research on intergroup relations includes: prejudice and sterotyping, the reduction of intergroup conflict, sectarianism in Northern Ireland, and segregation and integration. His work has reached a wide audience including outside of academia (BBC Radio 4's Analysis, BBC Newsnight, and in The Guardian) and he has presented his work to the Department for Education, the Institute for Public Policy Research, the Commission on Equality and Human Rights, as well as others.

He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy, the National Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences, in 2002, and served as its Vice-President (Social Sciences) 2007-9. He was elected an Honorary Fellow of the British Psychological Society in 2003, and is Professor Extraordinary at Stellenbosch University.

He is currently involved in ten research projects around the world, the details of which can be found here.


Mayor Marvin Rees

Mayor Marvin Rees is a Yale World Fellow and graduate of Operation Black Vote who has worked and studied in the UK and the US. He is a former BBC journalist, Public Health Worker, voluntary sector manager and co-founder of the City Leadership Programme.

This event is supported by the Consortium of Humanities Centres and Institutes (CHCI) as part of the the Global Humanities Network. 

Contact name: 
Victoria McGuinness
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