Eight Oxford professors welcomed into British Academy | University of Oxford

Eight Oxford professors welcomed into British Academy

Eight Oxford University professors were among 59 academics elected into the British Academy at its annual general meeting yesterday (Thursday 18 July).

The new fellows have been recognised for their outstanding research and work across the humanities and social sciences.

Welcomed into the Academy were:

Professor Mary Dalrymple, Professor of Syntax

Professor Dalrymple's research centres mainly on syntax, the syntax-semantics interface and semantics. She is particularly interested in the syntactic properties of human languages and how they can guide the process of assembling meanings of words and phrases into meanings of larger phrases and sentences. She will hold a Leverhulme Research Fellowship during the 2012–2013 academic year.

Professor John Gardner, Professor of Jurisprudence, University College

Professor Gardner works on wide range of topics in the philosophy of law and nearby areas of moral and political philosophy. His influential work on criminal responsibility, collected in his 2007 book Offences and Defences, was followed in 2012 by an acclaimed book on the nature of law and the virtues of legality entitled Law as a Leap of Faith. Most recently Professor Gardner has been developing new ideas about private law, especially the law of torts. In this, as in much of his other work, he tries to bear out the thought that there is no radical disconnection between law and the rest of human life.

Professor Vincent Gillespie, J R R Tolkien Professor of English

At the core of Professor Gillespie's work is a curiosity about the psychology of literary response: the ways in which writers struggle to express experiences and acts of imagination, the strategies they use to articulate their understanding of these experiences and imaginative acts, and the codes and conventions that develop between texts and readers to allow communication and understanding to develop and to be manipulated. Texts also have to be seen against the deep background of their contemporary textual, social and intellectual environment. Professor Gillespie's interest in deep context also drives his work on the history of the book.

Professor John Hawthorne, Waynflete Professor of Metaphysical Philosophy, Magdalen College

Professor Hawthorne's research interests are in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind and early modern philosophy. His publications include the books Metaphysical Essays – a collection which offers original treatments of fundamental topics in philosophy, including identity, ontology, vagueness and causation – and Knowledge and Lotteries, in which he defends a view in epistemology according to which the presence of knowledge is dependent on the subject's interests.

Professor Julia Lee-Thorp, Professor of Archaeological Science

Professor Lee-Thorp is primarily interested in the ecological contexts of major shifts in human biological and cultural evolution. Her work focuses on dietary and environmental shifts among hominins in Africa; on climate and environmental contexts for cultural innovation associated with the emergence of modern humans in Africa and Eurasia; and in more recent eras on shifts associated with transitions to farming. Her main approach is based on the biogeochemistry of fossil teeth and bones, especially stable light isotopes. Professor Lee-Thorp pioneered their application to the ecology of ancient fossils, which has ultimately led to something of a revolution in people's view of shifts in the ecology of early hominins.

Professor Colin Mayer, Peter Moores Professor of Management Studies, Saïd Business School, Wadham College

Professor Mayer researches in the field of financial economics: specifically on corporate finance, governance and taxation, and the regulation of financial institutions. In February 2013 Oxford University Press published his book Firm Commitment: Why the Corporation is Failing Us and How to Restore Trust in It, which explores the notion of commitment in corporations. Based on Professor Mayer’s research over three decades, the book describes a new approach to thinking about the firm which not only stops it destroying us but turns it into the means of protecting our environment, addressing social problems and creating new sources of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Professor Kevin O’Rourke, Chichele Professor of Economic History, All Souls College

Professor O'Rourke's research is at the intersection of economic history and international economics. He has worked extensively on the history of the international economy, looking at the causes and consequences of globalisation and deglobalisation. His current research includes projects on the interwar period and the international spread of industrialisation.

Professor Jenny Ozga, Professor of the Sociology of Education 

Professor Ozga's main research area is education policy in international comparative contexts, with a current focus on governance and governing. This is developing through investigation of the resources that are being mobilised by new governing forms (networks) and through new policy technologies (data). Professor Ozga seeks to develop theory and empirical investigation in these areas, in collaboration with colleagues in the UK and Europe, and in a variety of disciplines, including political science and social policy. Her most recent funded project, which started in spring 2010, is the ESRC-funded 'Governing by Inspection: School Inspection and Education Governance in Scotland, England and Sweden'.

Professor Lord Nicholas Stern, new president of the British Academy, said: 'The humanities and social sciences celebrate the study of what it means to be human and how we relate to the world around us. They can also help us tackle many of the challenges faced in this country and the world as a whole. Our new fellows, from across the UK and world, are world-class experts in the humanities and social sciences and can play a vital role in sustaining the Academy’s activities – helping select researchers and research projects for funding support, contributing to policy reports and speaking at the Academy's public events.'

The British Academy for the humanities and social sciences was established by royal charter in 1902 with the purpose of inspiring, recognising and supporting excellence and high achievement in the humanities and social sciences, throughout the UK and internationally, and to champion their role and value.