The History of the University of Oxford - Vol. 8

The History of the University of Oxford - Vol. 8

The History of the University of Oxford - Vol. 8

The History of the University of Oxford - Vol. 8

Synopsis

This volume, the eighth in The History of the University of Oxford, shows how one of the world's major universities has responded to the formidable challenges offered by the twentieth century. Because Oxford's response has not taken a revolutionary or dramatic form, outside observers have not always appreciated the scale of its transformation. Here full attention is given to the forces for change: the rapid growth in provision for the natural and social sciences; the advance of professionalism in scholarship, sport, and cultural achievement; the diffusion of international influences through Rhodes scholars, two world wars, and the University's mounting research priorities; the growing impact of government and of public funding; the steady advance of women; and the impact made by Oxford's broadened criteria for undergraduate admission. The volume also provides valuable background material for the discussion of educational policy. In short, its presents the reader with a rich cornucopia of insight into many aspects of British life.

Excerpt

Lord Bullock, who launched this multi-volume project, gave the editor of this volume all kinds of help and support, particularly in the early stages when they were most needed. At one time Trevor Aston, the general editor of the series, thought of editing this volume himself, but his tragically early death in 1985 prevented him from seeing more than the sketchiest of plans for it. Nonetheless, the memory of his broad outlook on history and his enthusiasm for linking the past to the present both outlived him and have helped to mould much in this volume. Like its predecessors it owes much to the funding provided from four sources: the university, the colleges, the University's higher studies fund and the Nuffield Foundation.

The prosopographical survey of twentieth-century Oxford's senior and junior members which has informed so many of the chapters, and which has now taken on a life of its own, was generously and most considerately funded first by the Leverhulme Trust and then by the Economic and Social Research Council. The survey could not have succeeded without the colleges' consent to the use of their address-lists or without the willing (and often most painstaking) co-operation from the thousands of old members in our sample who filled in our questionnaires. We are especially grateful to those old members who were at Oxford between 1930 and 1979 who took the trouble to record their experience of Oxford in their own words by completing optional question 20 of the questionnaire. Others responded generously to requests for help published in college magazines. So Oxford's twentieth-century undergraduates have themselves helped to create a uniquely rich archive, which will long outlast this book and will guide our successors on how the University has influenced its junior members. The computerized bibliography of Oxford's history since 1914, which was originally launched as a working bibliography for contributors to this volume, has also taken on a life of its own, and now contains over 12,000 items.

In working on this volume we have been impressed by the goodwill towards it that we have encountered throughout Oxford, and with the trouble that people in all corners of the University have taken to help us. There were the regulars who turned up in fair weather and in foul to the 48 sessions of the seminar on twentieth-century Oxford which Michael Brock and I jointly launched in 1986 and which continued until 1990 -- not to mention the speakers who addressed them; the transcribed discussions were valuable enough to feature quite often in our footnotes. There were the . . .

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