Work for the department
Angus Hawkins, Director of International and Public Programmes at the Department, has been awarded the title of Professor of History, as a result of the University's annual 'Recognition of Distinction' exercise. Professor Hawkins's area of expertise is 19th Century British History.
This distinction is awarded to those whose research of outstanding quality, and a significant international reputation. Professor Hawkins's most recent activities offer a snapshot into a rich academic life, both within and outside the University - and illustrate how thoroughly he satisfies the criteria of Professorship.
History of Parliament Project
In May 2011 he addressed the Houses of Parliament Committee as an expert witness on the History of Parliament project. This is a major academic project - begun in the 1930s - to publish a scholarly reference work describing the members, constituencies and activities of the Parliament of England and the United Kingdom, from its inception in 1386 to the present day.
Working at a pace of about a century per decade, the committee has published twenty-eight volumes, covering the span between 1386 and 1820. The project is currently focussing on the 19th century, which is Professor Hawkins's area of expertise.
Professor Hawkins advised the History of Parliament project on two main points:
- defining the important historical questions to ask on the function and nature of Parliament in the 19th Century, and;
- identifying the best means to present a history of Parliament, given current advances in technology. Scholarly materials are more freely available in digital format than ever before, so the history may no longer be a mere book. It must incorporate contemporary photos, maps, newspaper articles and other materials which exist in the nation's archives.
In April, Professor Hawkins participated in a British Academy Forum, 'The Coalition and the Constitution'. Made up of senior academics and scholars, the forum's discussion explored the nature of coalition government and its changing form over the past 150 year.
In March he was an invited speaker on coalition government to the major annual conference of the Liberal History Group, held at the London School of Economics.
In June he was the keynote speaker at the Annual Conference on Modern British History. His subject was 14th Earl of Derby's achievement and legacy, and how it has shaped modern British history and politics. Professor Hawkins's two-volume book The Forgotten Prime Minister: The 14th Earl of Derby was published in 2007 by Oxford University Press. It's the first biography of a man who had a profound effect on the politics and society of his time.
Lord Derby was a leading politician of the Victorian age, and an exceptional figure: the first British statesman to become prime minister three times and the longest serving party leader in modern British politics, heading the Conservative party for twenty-two years from 1846 to 1868. He abolished slavery in the British Empire, established a national system of education in Ireland, was a prominent advocate for the 1832 Reform Act and, as prime minister, oversaw the introduction of the Second Reform Act in 1867.
At the Department
In addition to all these activities, Professor Hawkins has his 'day job' with the Department. As Director of Public and International Programmes he oversees a wide range of course offerings for approximately 13,000 students each year, both local and international. These courses include weekly classes, day schools, summer schools and Oxford Qualifications - over 700 courses and programmes in total.
He also oversees the development of our bespoke programmes in leadership and public policy, which work extensively with the national, provincial and municipal governments in China.; programmes in Higher Education Policy and Reform; and in Diplomatic Studies, including Oxford's long-standing Foreign Service Programme. And he supervises and examines Oxford and Cambridge DPhil and PhD candidates.
Professor Hawkins is currently engaged in writing his next book, which looks at British political culture from the 1790s through to the beginning of the 20th century. In particular, it examines changing ideas of the British constitution, political parties, elections and voting behaviour, as well as shifting notions of male and female involvement in the public sphere. The provisional title of the book is Habits of Heart and Mind.
The Department is extremely fortunate to have a scholar of Professor Hawkins's standing as a key member of staff. Please join us in congratulating him on his well-deserved recognition.