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Month in Review - February 2020

Published March 09, 2020 by Tara Zammit

Conference, Event, Lecture, Media, Research, Travel

Woolf Institute

It’s been a busy month here at the Woolf Institute! February 2020 marked a leap year month, and we made the most of every single day (including the extra one).

We started the month off by welcoming Prof Mick Dumper (University of Exeter) for his lecture ‘Jerusalem: A Many-Bordered City’ which explored how the different historical, religious, legal and economic dimensions of the city connect and provide the basis for differing political claims.

Our brand new photo exhibition ‘Churches as Spaces of Encounter and Challenge’ was opened by Dr Rowan Williams, Master of Magdalene College and former Archbishop of Canterbury. The surprising and unusual environments in which the buildings are located necessitates us to rethink of the very meaning of ‘church’, and we invite you to come visit us and take a look at the photographs.

Music and ethnomusicology feature prominently within our research interests, for example the Living in Harmony project. On 12 February, we held a Music Research Afternoon in the Weston Room, one of our conference spaces. This event was a collaborative project with the Oxford Seminar in Advanced Jewish Studies, and researchers discussed topics from ‘Exploring the treasures of the Genizah’ to ‘The Role of Jazz Workshops in Present-Day Morocco’.

This month was special as it marked another talk from our Woolf Institute Lecture Series, where we invite senior British academics, politicians and activists to discuss their work. Anthony Julius, Deputy Chairman of Mishcon de Reya and famed representative of Deborah Lipstadt in the David Irving v. Penguin Books trial, spoke to our enthusiastic crowd about a wide range of issues associated with censorship. A video of this lecture is available here.

One of our interests is in assessing the relationship between religion and science, whether looking at the climate crisis, genetic data or in the case of our 17 February conference, ‘Faith, Ethics and Organ Donation’. This event brought together chaplains, medical professionals, lawyers and more to discuss this challenging area. If you’re interested in learning more about discussions of religion, ethics and science, check out our new weekly podcast series with The Naked Scientists, Naked Reflections, here.

Some of our other fantastic events included Hindu-Jewish Studies for the 21st Century, where we welcomed three lecturers from Bar-Ilan University to discuss this fascinating topic, and ‘On Jewish-Christian Relations in Baghdad and London’, part one of the Middle Eastern Judaism and Islam: Music, Culture and People lecture series with Dr Merav Rosenfeld-Hadad.

Away from the grounds of the Woolf Institute, our team was up to lots of exciting research, lecturing and fieldwork. Dr Julian Hargreaves spoke at the New Horizons #BritishIslam2020 conference about ‘an outsider’s perspective on issues faced by British Muslim communities’. Dr Kitty O’Lone spent time in London doing fieldwork for the Measures of Success: Evaluating the Impact of Interfaith Dialogue project, collaborating with different interfaith groups to learn more about their work and outreach.

We also welcomed a new Visiting Fellow. Prof Dr Giovanni Maltese joins us from the University of Hamburg. Giovanni’s research investigates Islam and Politics in British Malaysia from 1910 through to 1950 through an analysis of periodicals, and to critically scrutinise present-day discourse about Islam and politics in Malaysia.

That’s a wrap for February 2020! We hope you had a great month and we look forward to seeing you at some of our events this March!



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