TT 2014: Crossing the Disciplines


All seminars take place within the Radcliffe Humanities Building on Woodstock Road. Unless otherwise stated, a light buffet lunch precedes the talk, so please arrive at least 5 minutes early.  To be notified of updates and additional events “follow” the RECSO Blog.

1. Monday 5 May - Colin Matthew Room – 12.30 to 1.30pm

‘Constructive Chronologies? Periodisation and Disciplines’ (roundtable):

  • Clare Bucknell: ‘No Man’s Land: Marginal Mid-Century Literature’
  • Dr Oliver Cox: ‘Restoration? Country House Conservation and the Construction of the Georgian era’
  • Dr Abigail Williams: ‘Periods and Perfume: Marketing the Ages to a Modern Audience’
  • Chair: Adam Bridgen

 This session is organised in association with the Thames Valley Country House Partnership Trust, and the upcoming conference ‘Periodisation: Pleasures and Pitfalls’ at All Soul’s College, Oxford, on the 3rd June 2014.


2. Tuesday 20 May – Lecture Theatre – 1.30 to 3pm (no lunch, afternoon tea to follow)

Dr Giovanna Vitelli (Ashmolean): ‘Thinking with Objects: the impact of material culture on disciplinary boundaries, teaching practices, and eighteenth-century studies’

The University Engagement Programme, launched in 2012 with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, aims to enlarge the use and understanding of the Ashmolean Museum’s extensive collections in mainstream Oxford teaching. To date, the programme has taught nearly 3000 students at the Museum, from over 25 departments and all four Divisions, introducing ‘object work’ as a valid and enriching component of learning, and a stimulus to further reflection. The UEP team not only offer single sessions as part of existing courses, but are actively engaged in formulating new Papers and Options, supervising students, teacher training, and also offer opportunities for research that integrates philological and material approaches.

This seminar will explore the potential for cross-disciplinary learning and teaching in the long eighteenth century, and present recent case studies of successful collaboration. The title, ‘Thinking with Objects’, also reflects faculty interest in the enhanced research potential being offered by the “material turn” in the humanities.

An additional material handling session at the Ashmolean with Dr Vitelli, between 2-5pm, will take place on Tuesday 27 May. There will be 12 spaces, and participants will be invited to sign up following the seminar.


3. Thursday 5 June – Seminar Room – 12.30 to 1.30pm

Julie Anne Lambert (Bodleian Library): ‘Ephemera: Defining, Collecting and Researching the Fragmentary Past’
Chair: Dr Abigail Williams

The John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera is one of the largest and most important collections of printed ephemera in the world. It offers a fresh view of British history through primary, uninterpreted printed documents which, produced for short-term use, have survived by chance – including advertisements, trade cards, handbills, ballads and playbills. The Collection encompasses a diverse range of material, mainly from the 18th to the early 20th centuries: it is physically arranged under some 700 subject headings, and has been made searchable through detailed cataloguing, selective OCR and digitisation.

This seminar sets out to explore the interrelating ways in which ephemera is defined, how it has been preserved and the significance of collections – past and present – and, finally, the ways in which it has recently grown in significance within a range of different disciplines.

Recommended reading:

Additional Activities

Friday 13 June – Small Common Room – 12.30 to 2pm

RECSO end-of-year conference competition and BSECS panel funding:

This graduate specific workshop relates to the end-of-year RECSO conference, Global Connections: Influences from Elsewhere in Eighteenth-Century British Art, Literature, and Culture, and offers graduates the opportunity to participate in it direction and organisation. Lead by Joe Davies (Music), the resulting conference committee will apply for the TORCH Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference Competition or alternatively be granted funding through RECSO. Further details to follow.

We will also be announcing funding opportunities for successful Oxford graduate applications to speak at the BSECS 44th Annual Conference on the theme of ‘Riots, Rebellions and Revolutions’, at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford, 6-8 January 2015. Up to six awards are available covering attendance costs for this three-day conference. We will accept both individual proposals within this broad theme and, should it be the case, a panel or roundtable proposal on a distinct theme. Further details to follow.