In Memoriam: James Morwood

(From our colleagues at Wadham College)

It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden death of Emeritus Fellow and Classicist James Morwood, at the age of 73, while on holiday in Greece. Details of a memorial service will be published in due course.

Below is a list of his accomplishments, adapted from his biography at Wadham College:

James Morwood was elected to a Fellowship at Wadham College in 1996, where he taught and served as Dean of Degrees, Steward of Common Room, and Dean (the last post from 2000 to 2006). He became an Emeritus Fellow in 2006 and was the Editor of the Wadham Gazette.

James was educated at Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he sat Part I of the Classical Tripos and Part II of the English Tripos. After a year at Merton College, Oxford on the course for the Diploma of Education, he went to Harrow School in September 1966 to teach Classics and English. He spent 30 years at Harrow, the last seventeen of them as Head of Classics. He was deeply involved in school journalism and drama, working with Richard Curtis and Ben Cumberbatch among many others. He was librarian for more than eleven years, and sat on and later chaired the school’s Treasures Committee, a body which brought into existence the Old Speech Room Gallery.

In 1996 he moved to Oxford University and took up the post of Grocyn Lecturer in the Classics Faculty and served for a year as President of the Oxford Philological Society.

James was a committed member of the Joint Association of Classical Teachers and held the Presidency of the Association for 1999-2001, becoming an Honorary Member in 2011. He was President of the London Association of Classical Teachers for 1995-6; was a regular tutor at the JACT Greek Summer School at Cheltenham and Bryanston since 1970, served as its Director of Studies, and its Director. He also taught classics and English literature at the University Of Cambridge Institute Of Continuing Education.

With Eric Dugdale, he was editing a new series for the Cambridge University Press entitled ‘Greece and Rome; Texts and Contexts’. His revision of the Oxford Latin Course for North American college students was published in January 2012; his book on Hadrian (Bloomsbury) was published in the summer 2013.

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(Photo: "Candle" by Shawn Carpenter, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

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Garrett Fagan recently posed an interesting question in his very useful discussion of the crisis in the humanities: “should we embrace the competition for students in a marketplace of majors?” That my answer is “yes” is probably evident from my last post, in which I urged classicists to participate in public discourse in order to insure that the public image of Classics is both attractive to our students and acceptable to their parents. Not everyone shares this view. Many scholars cringe at the economic and corporate metaphors that often cluster around this issue (“competition,” “marketplace”) and worry about the dilution of rigor and intellectualism they connote. But in my view we do not need to choose between “giving the students what they want” and our core values as humanists. We do, however, need to give ourselves permission to reconnect in our classes with the reasons most people are drawn to the humanities in the first place.

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View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 12/16/2013 - 11:15am by Laura Swift.

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