Lecture Recordings

Inaugural Lectures

When a new statutory Professor is appointed to the Faculty of History, they give their Inaugural Lecture to the public at Examinination Schools. Below you will find a selection of Inaugural Lectures from the past few years.

Women's History Events 2021


Inaugural Lecture of Professor Brenda Stevenson (Hillary Rodham Clinton Professor of Women’s History)

Monday 25 October 2021

"Creating History (and an archive) at the Intersection of Gender, Jim Crow and Remembrance: Susie Byrd’s Life and Lessons"


Women’s History: The Future, Roundtable Discussion followed by Address by Sec Hillary Rodham Clinton

Tuesday 26 October 2021

A panel of five leading historians of women, gender and sexuality set out their vision of what women’s history should be doing in the next thirty years. The roundtable event was moderated by Professor Ruth Harris, Professor of Modern History, University of Oxford. Directly following the discussion was an Address by Hillary Rodham Clinton, 67th U.S. Secretary of State.


Women Making History


Women Making History

Thursday 15 October 2020

For the first time, on October 14, 1920, the University of Oxford granted degrees to women, many of whom had successfully completed the work necessary to earn those degrees decades earlier. To mark the Centenary of this transformative event, Vice-Chancellor Louise Richardson partnered with former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to create a new endowed chair in women’s history at Oxford, the first post of its kind in the world. Professor Brenda Stevenson was soon appointed the inaugural Hillary Rodham Clinton Professor of Women’s History. Vice-Chancellor Richardson launched Oxford’s year-long Centenary celebration in an insightful and thoroughly enjoyable discussion with Secretary Clinton and Professor Stevenson.

The James Ford Lectures in British History

The Ford Lectures in British History were founded by a bequest from James Ford, and inaugurated by S.R.Gardiner in 1896-7. Since then, an annual series has been delivered over six weeks in the Hilary term and they have long been established as the most prestigious series in Oxford and an important annual event in the History Faculty calendar.

*Please note: The lectures featured below are those that the Faculty currently had permission to publish at this time *

2020: Professor Margot Finn

Family and Empire: Kinship and British Colonialism in the East India Company Era, c. 1750-1850 

These lectures investigate the structures and aspirations of the family as central forces that propelled and maintained the upsurge of British imperialism that marked the century from Robert Clive’s celebrated victory at Plassey in 1757 to the declaration of Crown rule in India in 1858.  Historians hotly dispute the causes of British imperial expansion, variously ascribing colonial conquest in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to ideological, cultural, political and economic push factors.  By taking family and kinship—in their myriad British and cross-cultural forms—as its focal points, this series of lectures reassesses and resituates these interpretations.  It also takes seriously the contribution made to East India Company rule on the subcontinent by the forgotten majority of the British population: woman and children.  Without reducing empire to family, the lectures argue that family imperatives made British empire in India both desirable and possible.  Contested understandings of kinship, moreover, lay at the heart of British understandings (and misunderstandings) of Indian politics in this period.  Family writ large thus emerged as a powerful and contentious paradigm for governance in the Company era.  To exemplify these lines of argument, the lectures address topics that include demographic growth, marriage, perceptions of racial difference, property relations, the material cultures of East India Company homes and Georgian and Victorian conceptions of dynastic politics.       

2019: Professor Mark Bailey

AFTER THE BLACK DEATH: Society, economy and the law in fourteenth-century England

As the single greatest catastrophe in recorded history, the Black Death of 1348-9 continues to grip both the popular and scholarly imagination.  This series of six lectures reassesses the main social, economic, legal and cultural responses to the great mortality during the second half of the fourteenth century and explores how they were shaped by the prevailing institutional framework—the rules, laws and belief systems—regulating social and economic behaviour in England.

2017: Professor Stefan Collini FBA

History in English Criticism 1919-1961

Stefan Collini FBA (Professor Emeritus of Intellectual History and English Literature, University of Cambridge)

2015: Professor Steven Gunn

The English People at War in the Age of Henry VIII

In this lecture series Professor Steven Gunn looks at the effects of war on the people of England in the 1500s. This lecture series was recorded in Hilary Term 2015 and is part of the annual James Ford Lectures in British History series at the Examination Schools in Oxford University.