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Elisabeth Gray's 'Testament': Tickets on sale for RAI garden theatre, 3rd July

Southern DiscomfortTickets are now on sale for Testament: An Evening of Flannery O’Connor’s South on Friday 3rd July. Specially commissioned by the RAI, Testament is the Institute’s latest garden play from acclaimed playwright and performer Elisabeth Gray. Taking inspiration from the great Southern writer Flannery O’Connor, who once wrote that the South was “Christ haunted”, Testament will explore the continued imprint of Biblical narratives on the Southern psyche. Award-winning folk musician Jack Harris accompanies Gray with authentic Southern music. The performance will begin at 6pm, with tickets priced at £15 (adult) and £10 (concessions).

Renovation of RAI car park progresses

Car parkWork is well underway on the resurfacing of the RAI’s car park and service area. As part of a month-long project, worn paving in the car park is being replaced and the layout of the service area remodelled. The project is scheduled to be completed by Friday 17th July.

Mark Petersen appointed Assistant Professor at University of Dallas

Mark PetersenThe RAI congratulates Mark Petersen, who completed his doctorate in American History at the Institute in 2014, on his appointment as Assistant Professor of History at the University of Dallas. The tenure-track position will begin in August 2015. Located in Irving, Texas, the University of Dallas is a small, Catholic institution, with a strong commitment to liberal education and a core curriculum that critically engages with the Western Tradition. A specialist in U.S.-Latin American relations, Petersen’s doctorate was entitled ‘Latin American Approaches to Pan-Americanism, 1889-1939’.

Louis Lecture in Anglo-American Relations: video now available

Lord PattenA video recording of the inaugural Ambassador John J. Louis Jr. Lecture in Anglo-American Relations, given by the Chancellor of Oxford University, Lord Patten of Barnes, CH, is now available here. Generously made possible by the Louis Foundation, the lecture is in honour of John J. Louis Jr., United States Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s under President Ronald Reagan between 1981 and 1983.

Gold Rush exhibition now online

Gold Rush bookA major international conference at the RAI in April 2015, ‘Gold Rush Imperialism: Gold Mining and Global History in the Age of Imperialism, c.1848-1914’ explored the global, transnational and imperial dimensions of nineteenth and early twentieth century gold rushes. To accompany the conference, the Vere Harmsworth Library hosted an exhibition of relevant materials from the collections of the Bodleian Libraries.

The Biotechnology Industry and its Future: Wednesday 10 June, 5pm

Lisa DrakemanThe RAI welcomes Donald and Lisa Drakeman (right) to deliver the latest in its series of ‘American Business: Past, Present and Future’ lectures on Wednesday 10 June at 5pm: ‘Following the Map of the Genome: The Biotechnology Industry and its Future’. All are welcome. Donald Drakeman, JD, PhD, is a Venture Partner with Advent Life Sciences and a Fellow in Health Management at the University of Cambridge. Lisa Drakeman, PhD, is the Chair of Volunteers in Medicine, a large charitable clinic for the medically underserved located in coastal South Carolina.

Jennifer Egan at the RAI: The Oxonian Review

Jennifer EganOn 5th May, the distinguished novelist Jennifer Egan gave the RAI’s annual Esmond Harmsworth Lecture in American Arts and Letters, on ‘Experimental Fiction: Confessions of a Reluctant Practitioner’. RAI graduate student April Pierce has written a review of the lecture for the Oxonian Review, which can be read here.

Prize-winning dissertations in American Politics

Hackett prizeThe RAI congratulates Dr Ursula Hackett and Adam Ward on winning prizes for their theses in American Politics. Ursula Hackett, RAI-Nuffield Junior Research Fellow in American Politics, won the Sir Walter Bagehot Dissertation Prize 2014, for her doctoral thesis on inter-state variation in aid for children at private religious schools in the United States. The prize is awarded by the Political Studies Association for the best dissertation in the field of Government and Public Administration. She received the prize at the annual meeting of the Political Studies Association, held in Sheffield on 30 March-1 April 2015. The prize was presented on 31 March by Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt. Hon. John Bercow MP.

RAI students take Notre Dame exchange

Notre DamesIn May 2015, three RAI doctoral history students, Kathryn Olivarius, Skye Montgomery, and Jane Dinwoodie, travelled to the University of Notre Dame with Pekka Hämäläinen, Rhodes Professor of American History, for the second RAI-Notre Dame exchange visit. The students gave papers to a two-day graduate workshop of American historians. Jane and Kathryn reflect on their trip below.

'In the Mind of Ralph Ellison': RAI scholar Tessa Roynon reflects on recent research trip

Tessa RoynonAt the end of last month, writes RAI Supernumerary Research and Teaching Fellow Tessa Roynon, thanks to generous funding from the RAI and the English Faculty, I spent three glorious days in the Rare Books Room at the Library of Congress, Washington DC. My task was to consult selected works from the personal collection of the American novelist Ralph Ellison – not books that he had written, but books that he owned, read, and annotated. The Library houses some 2,500 volumes that Ellison owned in a dedicated ‘Ralph Ellison Reading Room’; he is one of only four authors to enjoy this privilege in the entire institution.

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