Monthly Archives: August 2014

SCIO announces prize winners of the Scholars’ Semester in Oxford spring term 2014

SCIO is delighted to announce the Scholars’ Semester in Oxford de Jager prize winners for spring 2014. The de Jager prizes are funded by a generous donation to SCIO from Geoffrey and Caroline de Jager who have a long standing commitment to encouraging excellence in education and scholarship.

These students showed exceptional academic performance in the following aspects of the programme

Some of the students reflect on their time in Oxford below
This past semester at Oxford was, by God’s grace, a time of academic and personal growth. As one of the SCIO staff said, ‘You and your professors are on the same path of learning; they’re just further down it and are here to help you as you explore questions together’. One cannot only speak of the academics alone, though, for the program would not be what it was without the people that were part of it. Being surrounded by professors and fellow Christian students who take faith, learning, and even fun seriously, making me laugh while also inspiring me to wrestle with different life questions, has made this experience a true gift.

Richard Kovac

My time at Oxford is the highlight of my academic career thus far and an experience I will always cherish. The opportunity to study at a world-renowned institution in the wake of countless great minds of the past and present was intellectually challenging, yet enriching. My studies there helped focus my academic interests, setting me on a course to pursue graduate studies in theology. Moreover, living in such a beautiful, time-honored town brimming with history and culture was transformative for me in my development as a person, informing how I think about the world, other people, and my faith. Most importantly,  I now fully appreciate the value of afternoon tea (with scones).

Joshua Miller

My [...]

Research published by SCIO’s senior tutor, Dr Elizabeth Baigent

Two recent publications by Elizabeth Baigent, SCIO’s senior tutor, bring to a close her long-running research interest in a famous—or infamous—Victorian woman traveller.  Kate Marsden was a nurse who in the 1890s travelled to the far reaches of Siberia to bring relief to neglected lepers there and who subsequently raised money to found a hospital in Siberia which for many decades treated leprosy patients and then patients with mental health problems. Acclaimed by some as a selfless and fearless heroine, labouring in the name of Christ for the poor and outcast, she was accused by others of being a self serving imposter who spent charity funds on herself, a lesbian and/or the mistress of a Russian general, and a social climber who used her work to curry favour with the great and good, including the British royal and Russian imperial families.  Whatever the truth of the matter in this extraordinary story, Marsden’s actions and the reactions they provoked in others tell us much about how women were viewed in Victorian and Edwardian society.  Elizabeth Baigent’s present research centres on an earlier woman traveller, Marianne Starke, also a nurse, but best known as a writer of guide books to a formula later taken up by John Murray and Karl Baedeker.

For article and book chapters see
E. Baigent, ‘Travelling bodies, texts, and reputations: the gendered life and afterlife of Kate Marsden and her mission to Siberian lepers in the 1890s’, Studies in Travel Writing 18.1 (2014), 34–56;

E. Baigent, ‘”One could never reckon up all her misstatements!” Lies and deception in the life and texts of Kate Marsden, traveller to Siberia in the 1890s’, in Women, travel writing, and truth, ed. C Broome Saunders (2014), 11–29;

E. Baigent, ‘Kate Marsden’, in Geographers: Biobibliographical Studies, eds. H. Lorimer and  C.W.J. Withers (2008), 63–92.






SCIO staff member appointed Lecturer in Twentieth-century British and European History

SCIO is delighted to announce that Dr Sam Brewitt-Taylor, a longstanding member of the SCIO team, has been appointed Lecturer in Twentieth-century British and European History at Plymouth University. Sam served SCIO first as junior dean and latterly as lecturer in history, and so contributed both to the community life and the academic development of successive cohorts of students. Sam recently finished his doctorate on the 1960s Church of England, and is currently revising his thesis for publication with Oxford University Press.
He commented, ‘I look back on my junior deaning years as some of the happiest times of my life. I am deeply grateful to SCIO for providing such a happy environment in which to live, work, teach, and serve, and indeed for making my research possible in the first place.’

Oxford interdisciplinary seminars in science and religion: application process now open

We are pleased to announce that the application process for the science and religion seminars, Bridging Two Cultures, funded by the Templeton Religion Trust, is now open. Alister McGrath has joined this project as its academic director and we will run seminars in Oxford in July 2015 and 2016 and provide funding for on-campus activities. To apply please click here. This grant-funded project, along with our work with the Green Scholars Initiative, creates an excellent backdrop for the two student programs we offer.