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Philanthropy Report 2021/22

Furthering our understanding of the history of sexualities


A new post to lead and expand the study and teaching of LGBTQ+ history at Oxford has been established in the Faculty of History in association with Mansfield College.

The Jonathan Cooper Chair of the History of Sexualities has been created thanks to a £4.9 million gift from Professor Peter Baldwin and Dr Lisbet Rausing, historians and co-founders of the Arcadia Fund. The new post in the Faculty of History in association with Mansfield College is the first fully endowed specialist post of this type in the UK.

The professorship has been named in honour of Jonathan Cooper OBE, a barrister with expertise in international human rights and the role of public law in upholding them, who died suddenly in September 2021. Mr Cooper was an inspiring advocate and activist for LGBTQ+ rights across the globe.

Over the last 50 years an increasing awareness of diverse sexualities and genders has been one of the most significant transformations in the discipline of history. LGBTQ+ history has a strong and growing presence in Oxford’s curriculum at all levels, and there is a large appetite to study it from graduate and undergraduate students. The Jonathan Cooper Chair will steer the direction of this strand of research and teaching.

Helen Mountfield KC, Principal of Mansfield College, said: ‘As an Oxford historian, lawyer and a friend of Jonathan Cooper, I am proud that his enduring contribution to the history of LGBTQ+ emancipation will be recognised and celebrated by the post named in his memory.’

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