IASH Researcher wins Oxford Appointment

2 Apr 2020

Michelle Pfeffer at OxfordIASH congratulates Michelle Pfeffer on her several recent successes.

Michelle, who only recently submitted her PhD thesis at UQ, has already been successful in securing a three-year position as Fellow by Examination at Magdalen College, Oxford, starting 1 October 2020.  Michelle’s PhD was undertaken as part of Prof. Peter Harrison’s ‘Science and Secularization’ Laureate project.

Oxford is familiar territory for Michelle, as she completed her MSc in History of Science, Medicine, and Technology there in 2017/2018 and was a Recognised Student at the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion during 2016/2017. She is very much looking forward to returning to Oxford, as she says, “its libraries are the best in the world for my areas of study.”

During her fellowship at Magdalen, Michelle will be pursuing two projects. The first is an intellectual biography of the Enlightenment thinker William Warburton, his controversial Old Testament scholarship, and its broad dissemination throughout the literate lay population. She has already found a vast amount of manuscript material, including hundreds of letters and annotated books, which she is very excited to study closely. The second project examines the decline of astrology in the seventeenth century. 

We also welcome Michelle to an interim appointment as a Postdoctoral Fellow in IASH. She will be using this time to lay the groundwork for the project on the decline of astrology that she will pursue at Oxford. To this end, she will be working closely with archival material on the Society of Astrologers (1647–83) that she collected last year as a Lisa Jardine Grantee at the Royal Society of London. Part of her Fellowship will also be devoted to preparing a digital edition of the records of early modern university disputations at the University of Oxford.

On what drives her research, Michelle says that “the humanities have been crucial to many of the developments that we associate with modernity. These overlooked past contributions of humanities research are a strong basis for a defence of the humanities today.”

IASH is very pleased for Michelle and what is shaping up as a very exciting research career.