PPE and Law
Two new visiting fellowships for Univ
Bringing exceptional academics to Univ from outside Oxford, allowing innovative and fresh ideas to develop through collaboration to inspire the academic community.
We are turning our focus to academic excellence this term, in celebration of the transformative work that is undertaken at Univ. You may be aware that we launched the Univ Beacon Programme and an Early Years Support programme already this year, to ensure that we maximise support for all members of our community.
We would now like to highlight two major visiting fellowships: The HLA Hart Visiting Fellowship and The Centenary Visiting Professorship in PPE, both of which help us to enhance the academic and pastoral experience of both students and staff through a unique programme of support.
Ruth Chang, Univ Professorial Fellow and Professor and Chair of Jurisprudence at Oxford, shares her insights about our current mission to revive the HLA Hart Visiting Fellowship. Bill Child, Univ Tutorial Fellow in Philosophy and Professor of Philosophy at Oxford, introduces the new Centenary Visiting Professorship in PPE. Please see their commentary below.
Professor Ruth Chang - HLA Hart Visiting Fellowship
Ever since HLA Hart arrived at Univ in 1952 as the Professor of Jurisprudence, Oxford has enjoyed world-wide pre-eminence in the field. As a recent arrival at Univ, I am the first woman or minority to hold Hart’s professorship since it was inaugurated over 200 years ago. While I am honoured to follow in Hart’s footsteps, I am more than a bit daunted by the large shoes I am meant to try to fill.
HLA Hart and Jursiprudence at Oxford
Oxford’s seventy-year history as the global leader in jurisprudence has been due in large part to Univ’s commitment to the subject. Univ not only welcomes the Professor of Jurisprudence to the Univ community but also hosts the annual HLA Hart Memorial Lecture. More recently, the College established the Hart Visiting Fellowship, which brings distinguished visitors to Univ to interact with faculty, students and the wider Oxford community. It is fair to say that this support from the College, along with the inestimable influence of Arthur Goodhart, Ronald Dworkin, Joseph Raz, John Finnis, John Gardner, and Hart himself, have been central in building Univ’s reputation as the true home of jurisprudence, in the UK and beyond.
As the recently-appointed occupant of the Chair, I hope to help jurisprudence continue to evolve as a subject by bringing it closer to the cognate fields of philosophy and politics and supporting work that takes the field in new directions.
To that end, I have
- Created a new interdisciplinary graduate course, ‘Philosophy, Law & Politics’, which is the first course in Oxford’s 900-year history that brings together graduate students from all three disciplines to discuss issues of common interest
- Instituted a new Philosophy, Law & Politics Colloquium that brings visitors to Oxford for a few days to share their work in progress
- Worked with colleagues to publish an interdisciplinary volume, New Conversations in Philosophy, Law & Politics (forthcoming, OUP) to showcase work of younger scholars by having very distinguished senior scholars engage with their work on topics that provide new directions of enquiry in all three fields
- Helped set up a student-run, seven-institution-wide Philosophy, Law & Politics Graduate Forum that enables doctoral students from all three disciplines across seven universities in the UK to receive feedback on their work from faculty and student commentators from other institutions, and
- Inaugurated a new prize for best doctoral dissertation across the three disciplines in Oxford that is funded by and mirrors the Berggruen Institute’s famous $1M prize in Philosophy and Culture (awarded to the likes of Charles Taylor, Onora O’Neill, Martha Nussbaum, Peter Singer, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg). The first Oxford doctoral Berggruen prize will be awarded this coming year.
Re-endowment of the Hart Visiting Fellowship
In addition to these projects, I would be thrilled if we could re-endow the Hart Visiting Fellowship.
Having been generously funded for ten years by Old Members at its inception in 2005, the Fellowship brought distinguished visitors such as Susan Wolf (2005), Tom Hurka (2007), Rae Langton (2008), Kimberley Brownlee (2009), Wayne Sumner (2011) and Wlodek Rabinowicz (2013) into the Univ fold. It also supported younger, emerging scholars, who by all accounts greatly benefitted from the hive of intellectual activity that is Univ.
The Hart Visitor comes to Univ for one term, giving seminars, interacting with our students, and generally enriching the intellectual life at Univ and in Oxford at large. Having a regular visitor for a full term is crucial to keeping the subject fresh, giving Univ students the opportunity to meet distinguished academics from abroad, and cementing Univ as the home of jurisprudence. In conjunction with the newly-minted PPE Visiting Professorship, which Univ hosts every second year, Univ would become the leading institution globally for the study of issues in and at the nexus of philosophy, law, politics, and economics.
Please support this enormously valuable programme.
The cost to the College is not trivial: to renew and maintain the Hart Visiting Fellowship now we will need to raise £500,000.
Might you give? No donation is too small. And every gift will help us to establish in perpetuity a programme of the highest calibre here at Univ. If we are successful its influence will once again be felt not just in College, but across the world.
If you would like more information, or to speak to someone at Univ about the project, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
With real appreciation for your time and consideration,
Ruth Chang – Professor of Jurisprudence
Professor Bill Child - Centenary Visiting Professorship in PPE
As you may know, 2021 marked the 100th anniversary of PPE at Oxford.
I joined Univ as a Tutorial Fellow in Philosophy in 1989, having arrived in Oxford nine years earlier as a PPE undergraduate at Wadham. It’s a sobering thought to realize that I’ve been associated with PPE for more than 40% of its 100-year history – and that a substantial proportion of those reading this letter will be students I have taught over the years.
I’m writing to you today to introduce a new project – the Centenary Visiting Professorship in PPE, which Univ is helping to launch.
PPE is a wonderful degree. Its core function today remains what it always has been: to give students the chance to study ideas and structures in politics, philosophy, and economics that are fundamental to how we understand and live together in society. Freedom, democracy, justice, power, autonomy. The relation between the subjective and the objective. The nature of rationality and rational choice.
Those fundamentals of PPE stay the same. But the details of the programme continue to evolve, as new areas of research develop and academic subjects adapt to the changing world. In Philosophy, for instance, undergraduates now have the option to study Feminist Theory, The Ethics of AI and Digital Technologies, and Indian Philosophy. In Politics, International Relations and the Politics of China have grown enormously; new options include International Security and Conflict. In Economics, there are new options on Environmental Economics and Climate Change and on Behavioural and Experimental Economics.
It’s hugely exciting as a tutor to be able to introduce students at Univ to some of these ideas and debates. Univ PPEists are very clever; they’re interested in ideas; they’re keen to make the most of their opportunities; and they’re very much up for debate. That makes teaching PPE at Univ a rewarding experience for us as tutors. And students have a special sense of excitement when they engage with topics that their tutors are currently researching. They’re excited to know that they’re participating in current debates, and they like the sense of being collaborators with their tutors in a common academic endeavour. In the same way, it’s stimulating for tutors to discuss ideas from our own research with our students. Exchanges with Univ students have often led me to rethink and refine my own ideas.
It’s this interaction between teaching and research – between tutors and students – that excites me in Univ’s plan for the new Centenary Visiting Professorship in PPE.
A new, collaborative endowment.
The scheme has been developed in collaboration with Queen’s College, the Faculty of Philosophy, the Department of Politics & International Relations, and the Department of Economics. And it’s being partially supported with a generous benefaction of £3.4m from a donor who studied PPE at Oxford.
The Visiting Professorship will bring a senior academic in one of the PPE subjects to Oxford each year for an extended residency. The position, which will be recognized as a Professorship by the University, will rotate on a three-year cycle between Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, with a college attachment that will alternate between Univ and Queen’s. So during their time in Oxford, every cohort of Univ PPEists will have the chance to interact with at least one Centenary Visiting Professor who is present in the College for an extended stay.
For Univ’s undergraduate and graduate students, this will be a wonderful opportunity to meet and learn from world-leading visiting scholars who are attached to Univ.
The Visiting Professor will be expected to conduct seminars and workshops with students, as well as to deliver an Inaugural and a Valedictory lecture. So interactions with undergraduates and graduate students are a central feature of the scheme.
I well remember my own excitement when I had those sorts of opportunities as a student. Being invited by one of my tutors to attend a seminar on Indian Politics given by Nobel-prize-winning economist Amartya Sen. Being joined at a student discussion group by the distinguished Yale philosopher, Ruth Markus, who was in Oxford for a term. Or attending lectures given by the philosopher Donald Davidson to a packedout South School when he visited Oxford for a year as Eastman Visiting Professor in the 1980s. I’m keenly anticipating the similar opportunities that Univ PPEists will have to interact with our Centenary Visiting Professors.
For the Fellows of Univ, the new Visiting Professorship will provide an opportunity to host eminent colleagues from elsewhere, to explore shared interests, and to learn from their new research. Progress in academia depends on exposure to new ideas and on a constant readiness to challenge one’s current thinking. Our Visiting Professors will make an important contribution to that process.
I’d like to ask you to consider supporting this invaluable programme.
In order for us to launch the Centenary Visiting Professorship in PPE, we need to raise a further £400,000.
A gift at any level would help us to establish a world-leading new initiative in PPE, bringing new points of view each year to the two Colleges, and expanding the scope and reach of our debates. I hope that you’ll consider a donation to this project. We’d be very grateful for your support.
If you would like more information, or to speak to someone at Univ about anything I’ve mentioned here, please contact email@example.com.
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I hope that we will have the opportunity to see you at Univ soon.
With best wishes,
Bill Child – Professor of Philosophy
These fellowships will attract eminent scholars in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and Law to Univ. They will enhance teaching and dialogue in the academic community, and provide access to alternative perspectives and world-class scholarship.
We are honoured to guide students on their academic and early career paths across all of the subjects we offer. This could not be achieved without philanthropic support from Old Members and friends of Univ, for which we are tremendously grateful.
We would like to invite you to consider supporting the HLA Hart Visiting Fellowship or the Centenary Visiting Professorship in PPE. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so here:
An enthusiastic team of student callers will be reaching out to many of our Old Members in the upcoming Spring telethon. They are looking forward to speaking to you about your memories of Univ, sharing their own experiences, and discussing these projects with you.
I hope that you will welcome their call. However, if you would prefer not to be contacted, please let our team know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
We look forward to being in touch.
Thank you for your consideration, time and support.
Harriet Bayly – Interim Development Director