Saturday, September 23, 2023

Oxford University appoints first LGBTQ professor in UK history

Matt Cook

matt cook

Renowned cultural historian Matt Cook will become the UK’s first LGBTQ+ history professor in a new role created at Oxford University’s Mansfield College.

Cook, who has written extensively on queer urban living, the HIV/AIDS crisis and other topics, will become the first holder of the Jonathan Cooper Chair later this year.

It is the first fully staffed specialist post of its kind in the UK, funded by a £4.9 million donation from the Arcadia Fund, a charity that has donated millions of pounds to organizations working on human and natural diversity Is.

Of her appointment, Cook said: “I will work hard to improve our understanding of LGBTQ pasts and show how these stories matter now. I look forward to building on Oxford’s reputation for cutting-edge work in this growing field.” I am very excited to have the opportunity to help move forward.”

Cook has a background in literary and cultural theory, as well as a keen interest in the history of urban, public and community queerness. She worked with the National Trust on a 2017 book called Prejudice and Pride, an LGBTQ+ guide of sorts.

He has also advised on community and oral history, archives and museum projects, including Heritage England’s Pride of Place program and Pitt River Museum’s Beyond the Binary.

Cook will take up the position in October after 18 years at Birkbeck, University of London, where he was professor of modern history and directed the master’s program in gender and sexuality studies.

Jonathan Cooper

Jonathan Cooper

The new chair is named after human rights lawyer Jonathan Cooper, an LGBTQ+ rights advocate and commentator on issues including trans rights, conversion practices and the rights of people living with HIV, who died in 2021.

Cook said: “Jonathan Cooper was a passionate advocate for LGBTQ rights and it is a huge honor to take up this new chair in his name … I see this as a way of honoring and carrying on Jonathan Cooper’s inspiring legacy.” I see.”

“I will work hard to improve our understanding of the LGBTQ past and show how these stories matter now. I will support the strong line of existing queer historical work at Oxford and encourage discussion with LGBTQ scholars, writers and activists around the world.”

Cook added that he is “excited to have the opportunity to help build on Oxford’s reputation for cutting-edge work in this booming field; I see this as a way to honor and promote the inspirational legacy of Jonathan Cooper.”

Helen Mountfield, Principal of Mansfield College, said: “Matt will be a great fit in our proudly non-conforming college community, which respects, protects and promotes a wide range of voices and narratives. I know that Jonathan will be very successful in this chair Very honored and pleased to see our legacy with.”

Rob Iliff, Chair of the History Faculty Board, said: “(Matt’s presence) will be an inspiration to students and colleagues alike, and will enhance Oxford’s reputation as a leader in the field of LGBTQ history.”.

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