Dr Elisabeth Bolorinos Allard (Fellow by Examination in Medieval and Modern Languages (Spanish))
Elisabeth joined Magdalen College as a Fellow by Examination in January 2018. She is interested in how ideas about race, cultural lineage, and national identity took shape in the Iberian Peninsula from the end of the nineteenth century onwards and how these ideas were influenced by Spain’s colonial and post-colonial relationship with North Africa and Latin America. With Lucy and Siân, Elisabeth co-supervised the five student interns who conducted research for this exhibition, bringing together the interns’ discoveries through the exhibition.
Leanne Grainger (Senior Assistant Librarian)
Leanne joined Magdalen College in September 2021 and soon began supporting the library’s programme of exhibitions. Leanne took on the duties of exhibition coordinator for this project after Dr Lucy Gwynn began her maternity leave, overseeing the practical aspects of installing the exhibition in the Old Library and arranging related events. Leanne also edited and designed the online site, adapting the text and digitising the exhibition content to make it suitable for online publication.
Dr Lucy Gwynn (College Librarian)
As College Librarian Lucy is responsible for the management of the libraries which are at the heart of the college’s academic life. Lucy also oversees the curation of Magdalen’s exceptionally rich historic collections (its archives, manuscripts, and rare books), and facilitates and advocates for their use in research and public engagement. Ahead of her maternity leave, Lucy began coordinating and putting together this exhibition with Elisabeth and Siân, also co-supervising the work of the five student interns.
Professor Siân Pooley (Tutorial Fellow in Modern British History)
Siân came to Magdalen College as a Tutorial Fellow in 2014. Her research is centred on the question of how social change and continuity happened in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Britain. Specifically, this research focuses on two main areas. The first explores questions of change and diversity through a study of parenthood during the late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century fertility decline, when couples halved the size of their families. The second focuses on writing by children that was published in the seventy years before the Second World War. Siân wrote the entire text for this exhibition, drawing together the research of the five student interns she co-supervised with Elisabeth and Lucy.
Heidi Cooke (BA Archaeology and Anthropology, 2019-2022)
Heidi researched the making of colonial and racialised knowledge, focused on the careers of Magdalen’s alumni. She focused on attitudes to empire and race under President Herbert Warren and the career of Sir Douglas Dodds-Parker (m. 1927 Modern History) within the ‘Sudan Political Service’. Her research contributed to the Introduction and the pages 1847-1920: a lone pioneer? and 1920-1945: a network of wealthy colonial men?.
George Goodhart (BA History, 2019-2022)
George researched the place of the British empire in Magdalen’s cultural, social, and material life, as well as Magdalen’s students of colour pre-1951. He focused on the experiences and legacies of Hormuzd Rassam, who studied at Magdalen c. 1847-9, following his pioneering archaeological excavations at Nineveh, and who donated the Assyrian Reliefs and other bequests to Magdalen. His research contributed to the pages 1847-1920: a lone pioneer?, 1920-1945: a network of wealthy colonial men?, and 1945-1970: the impact of scholarships?.
Sarah Large (BA History, 2019-2022)
Sarah researched the experiences of staff, students, and fellows of colour at Magdalen. She used photographs, student files, JCR publications, and oral history interviews to begin to piece together some of the experiences of people of colour at Magdalen across the twentieth century. Her research contributed to the Introduction and the pages 1920-1945: a network of wealthy colonial men?, 1945-1970: the impact of scholarships?, 1970-2015: an activist community?, and 2015-2022: challenging racial inequality?.
Paul Majek (BFA Fine Art, 2020-2023)
Paul completed an artist internship to create work that responds to his experiences as a Magdalen student and the son of a Nigerian mother, as well as engaging with the archival research. He created and exhibited three stunning sculptures for the exhibition: ‘Rest’ (Plaster; oil, spray paint, 2021), ‘Rebirth’ (Plaster; oil, spray paint, 2021) and ‘In the blue, we rest’ (Dyed fabrics, traditional fabric and safety pins, 2021). Paul’s artwork and research can be seen on the page Reflections on identity.
Ananya Malhotra (M.Phil. in Global and Imperial History, 2020-2022)
Ananya researched transnational movements of student protest, focused on anti-colonial and anti-racist activism at Magdalen. She focused on George Odlum (m. 1959 PPE and the UK’s first Black student union president) who later became a leading St Lucian politician and prominent member of the Caribbean ‘New Left’, Richard Rive (m. 1971 English Literature and a South African novelist and anti-Apartheid activist), as well as leftist internationalist activism by Magdalen students c. 1970-90s. Her research contributed to the pages 1945-1970: the impact of scholarships?, 1970-2015: an activist community?, and 2015-2022: challenging racial inequality?.
The curators would like to thank many people for their generous contributions to this exhibition:
Magdalen College Academic Grants for funding student internships and the curation of this exhibition in 2020 and 2021.
Students, fellows, and staff – past and present – who took part in oral history interviews or whose papers have been deposited in the College Archive.
Members of the Magdalen College Library and Archives staff.
Conservators at the Oxford Conservation Consortium.
Members of Magdalen College Development and Alumni Relations Office staff.
We are also particularly grateful to:
With the exception of:
C. Cooper, Dual portraits of Hormuzd Rassam in ‘Western Dress’ and ‘Ottoman Dress’, 1851 Private collection. Reproduced with kind permission of the owner, Cornelius Cavendish. Images reproduced from Julian Reade, ‘Hormuzd Rassam and His Discoveries’, Iraq, 55 (1993): 39-62
Fons Americanus, Tate Modern, February 2020 By No Swan So Fine – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=87388210
copyright for all other images belongs to Magdalen College, Oxford. These images should not be reproduced without our permission. Reasonable steps have been taken to identify copyright holders, although this is not always possible. If anyone has any issues, then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to the students appearing in the video Reflections on Magdalen’s past, present and future: Ananya Malhotra, Sarah Large, Tara Misra, Rishika Sahgal, and Ali Sahraifar.
Thank you to Elisabeth Bolorinos Allard for hosting the video.
Thank you to Calum Jelf at Punchline Media for producing the video.
Design & Editorial:
Website layout by One Ltd.; edit and design by Leanne Grainger, Senior Assistant Librarian, Magdalen College.
Reading and resources to find out more
On the history of Oxford
Laurence Brockliss (ed.), Magdalen College Oxford: A History (Oxford: Magdalen College, 2008).
Paul R. Deslandes, ‘“The Foreign Element”: Newcomers and the Rhetoric of Race, Nation and Empire in Oxbridge Undergraduate Culture, 1850-1920’, The Journal of British Studies, 37: 1 (1998): 54-90
Michèle Mendelssohn exhibition ‘Making History: Christian Cole, Alain Locke and Oscar Wilde at Oxford’: https://makinghistory.magd.ox.ac.uk/
Oxford and Colonialism website: https://oxfordandcolonialism.web.ox.ac.uk
Julian Reade, ‘Hormuzd Rassam and His Discoveries’, Iraq, 55 (1993): 39-62
Rhodes Scholar Database: https://www.rhodeshouse.ox.ac.uk/alumni-volunteers/rhodes-scholar-database/
Pamela Roberts, Black Oxford: the Untold Stories of Oxford University’s Black Scholars (Oxford: Signal Books, 2013)
Richard Symonds, Oxford and Empire: The Last Lost Cause? (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992)
Stephen Tuck, The Night Malcolm X Spoke at the Oxford Union: A Transatlantic Story of Antiracist Protest (Oakland: University of California Press, 2014)
Jack C. Zoeller, ‘Alain Locke at Oxford: Race and the Rhodes Scholarships’, The Alain Locke Centenary, The American Oxonian, 94: 2 (2007): 183-224
On people of colour within modern British history
Antoinette M. Burton, At the Heart of the Empire: Indians and the Colonial Encounter in late-Victorian Britain (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998)
Colin Grant, Homecoming: Voices of the Windrush Generation (London: Jonathan Cape, 2019)
David Olusoga, Black and British: a forgotten history (London: Macmillan, 2016)
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: https://www.oxforddnb.com/
Clair Wills, Lovers and Strangers: An Immigrant History of Post-War Britain (London: Allen Lane, 2017)
On approaches to race, archives, and heritage
Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993)
Ruth Wilson Gilmore and Paul Gilroy (eds), Selected Writings on Race and Difference: Stuart Hall (Durham: Duke University Press, 2021)
Stuart Hall, ‘Whose heritage? Un‐settling “the heritage”, re‐imagining the post‐nation’, Third Text, 13:49 (1999): 3-13
Michel-Rolf Trouillot, Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (Boston MA: Beacon Press, 1995)