Last year was the 100th anniversary of Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Oxford. This is an important milestone and the College plans to celebrate both PPE and the three component subjects.
The past 18 months have been a challenging time to organise any celebrations so, in the style of the Olympics, we are making the occasion a year later than planned! We have a calendar of PPE-inspired events (fully detailed below) starting in November with our virtual Annual Seminar and with our Nobel Prize winner Mohmmad Yunus, to launch the new Centenary Visiting Professor of PPE.
The new Visiting Professor is a significant seed gift by a very generous donor. Through it, we hope to attract the world’s best academics to our community to work with students and fellows. We plan to build upon this seed gift over the coming year so that it is fully funded in time for the arrival of the first Professor.
“Oxford’s renowned PPE course has attracted some of the world’s finest academics to the university during the last 100 years; this new Visiting Professorship is designed to ensure that this continues for generations to come.”
The Centenary Visiting Professor of Philosophy, Politics and Economics
When philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) was established as a subject at Oxford in 1920 as “Modern Greats”, it was seen as a watershed moment in the long history of undergraduate education at the University. The “new” subject would formally synthesise the key theories and texts from each of the three disciplines, so that future statesmen and business leaders would have the necessary academic background as they sought to transform the world after graduating.
As a result, Oxford has, for the past century, regularly educated both foreign and domestic world leaders, including Kofi Busia (Univ, 1939), former President of Ghana; Bob Hawke (Univ, 1953), former Prime Minister of Australia; John Kufuor (Exeter, 1961), former President of Ghana; Festus Mogae (Univ, 1965), former President of Botswana; Imran Khan (Keble 1972), international cricketer and 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan; Benazir Bhutto (LMH, 1975), former Prime Minister of Pakistan and Nobel Prize winners, such as Malala Yousafzai, who graduated from Lady Margaret Hall with a PPE degree in July 2020.
Just over one hundred years since PPE was established the creation of a new, fully endowed Visiting Professorship in PPE, targeted at the world’s best academic talent in the three subjects, will significantly enhance the profile of the subject. The Centenary Visiting Professorship in PPE is supported by an extraordinary anonymous gift. The Visiting Professorship will be shared between Univ and The Queen’s College, Oxford. Each college will host a Visiting Professor in each of the three subjects once in every six years with the first Visiting Professor starting in the academic year 2022/23.
A working party of academics and fellows representing the two colleges and the three faculties has met during this academic year, to propose suitable candidates, prepare the logistics, and ensure that the inauguration of the Visiting Fellowship has the greatest possible global impact.
The establishment of this Visiting Professorship in PPE will provide both leadership and day-to-day benefits for students and fellow academics, further embedding the study of philosophy, politics and economics into the fabric of the College. By bringing the work and ideas of academics outside of Oxford directly into the University, it will prepare PPE for the next 100 years. In the modern world, the international context has become an integral part of any study of philosophy, politics and economics.
Professor Muhammad Yunus in conversation
Wednesday, 24 November 2021, 3pm (GMT)
A discussion on “Global inequality and financing inclusion” will be held to celebrate 100 years of PPE at Oxford and to launch the jointly endowed Centenary Visiting Professorship of Philosophy, Politics and Economics will be held on Wednesday, 24 November at 3pm.
The Queen’s and University Colleges are delighted to invite you to a virtual conversation with Professor Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner, social enterprise entrepreneur and acclaimed “Banker to the Poor.”
The Colleges will be hosting this virtual event to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the creation of the PPE degree in Oxford and to formally launch the newly and jointly endowed Centenary Visiting Professor of Philosophy, Politics and Economics.
The conversation with Professor Yunus will be co-hosted by Dr Claire Craig, Provost of The Queen’s College, and Baroness Valerie Amos, Master of University College.
You can find out more and register here.
Univ Virtual Book Club
Monday, 22 November 2021, 7pm
The Rise and Fall of the British Nation by David Edgerton
Facilitated by Dr William Prescott (2016, History)
Monday, 22 November 2021, 7pm (GMT)
We are pleased to invite you to the 13th meeting of the Univ Virtual Book Club for Old Members and Friends of the College. One of the College’s Fellows or associates will propose an insightful read designed to encourage an exciting discussion. Members will have time to delve into the book before convening virtually for a roundtable discussion, facilitated by the same Fellow.
While there are many accounts of twentieth-century British history, only a few serious historians try to radically reinterpret it. David Edgerton does just that. In The Rise and Fall of the British Nation, he argues that a “British Nation” emerged in the first half of the century. In pace of an outward-looking global trading hub, Britain turned inward, erecting tariff barriers, aiming for self-sufficiency in food production, and nationalising key industries. By the century’s end, however, that “nation” was being dismantled, and the country was returning to something like its former role. Along the way, the book challenges longstanding myths about declinism and the centrality of the welfare state. While arguably overstating its case, Edgerton’s lively work offers a fascinating, if possibly controversial, take on the development of modern Britain.
As we would like to encourage interactivity, this event is limited to participants selected via a lottery system. Participants will be randomly drawn on Tuesday, 19 October and informed of the outcome shortly after.
17th Univ Annual Seminar
Tuesday, 23 November 2021, 6.30-9.30pm (BST)
Title: “The Good, the Bad and the Unexpected – How businesses responded to COVID-19.”
Virtual via Zoom
We have taken the decision to once again take the Annual Seminar virtual this year and we would be delighted if you could join us online. The panel will be chaired by Baroness Amos, Master of University College. Panellists include Antony Jenkins, CBE (1979, PPE), Founder, Chair & CEO of 10x Future Technologies and Emma Woods (1987, Psychology), Non-Executive Director, SID and Chair of Remuneration Committee for The Gym Group and previously the CEO of wagamama.
The panel discussion will be followed by a Q&A session.
Univ Virtual Book Club
Tuesday, 25 January 2022, 7pm
Head, Hand, Heart by David Goodhart
Sir Ivor Crewe, Honorary Fellow and previous Master of Univ
Tuesday, 25 January 2022, 6pm (GMT)
We are pleased to invite you to the 15th meeting of the Univ Virtual Book Club for Old Members and Friends of the College. One of the College’s Fellows will propose an insightful read designed to encourage an exciting discussion. Members will have time to delve into the book before convening virtually for a roundtable discussion, facilitated by the same Fellow.
Sir Ivor Crewe proposed the Head, Hand, Heart for the book club:
“I have chosen this book because it challenges the deep-laid assumptions that I imagine most of us have about the relative value of academic, cognitive and technical accomplishment, and the rewards and status they command, when compared with empathetic and manual capabilities. It’s an uncomfortable read in many ways which in my case provoked a re-examination of some of my day-to-day beliefs, without my accepting every assertion in the book. Head, Hand, Heart is a development of themes in David Goodhart’s earlier book, The Road to Somewhere, and bears similarities with arguments in Michael Sandel’s The Tyranny of Merit which featured in an earlier Univ virtual book club.”