Oxford University Appoints UK’s First Endowed Professor in LGBTQ+ History

Professor in LGBTQ

Professor Matt Cook to Head the First Fully Endowed Specialist Post for LGBTQ+ History Studies at Mansfield College, Oxford University

Oxford, UK – Professor Matt Cook is set to become the UK’s first permanently endowed professor in LGBTQ+ History, a role made possible by a generous £4.9 million donation from Arcadia to Mansfield College, Oxford University.

Taking up his post in October as the Jonathan Cooper Chair of the History of Sexualities, Prof. Cook will lead and expand the study and teaching of LGBTQ+ history at the University of Oxford.

The professorship has been named in honour of Jonathan Cooper, a respected human rights lawyer and LGBTQ+ rights advocate who passed away in 2021. Cooper was a powerful voice on issues including trans rights and conversion therapy.

Prior to his appointment, Cook led the Gender and Sexuality Studies MA programme at Birkbeck College for 18 years. An accomplished social and cultural historian, Cook specialises in queer urban, public, and community history, demonstrating an affinity for cross-disciplinary work. His scholarship includes extensive writings on queer urban life, the AIDS crisis, and queer domesticity.

Helen Mountfield, principal of Mansfield College, commended Cook’s appointment. “Matt will be a great fit in our proudly non-conformist college community which respects, protects and promotes a diverse range of voices and narratives,” she stated.

Rob Iliffe, chairman of the History Faculty Board, echoed Mountfield’s sentiments. “Matt is an outstanding historian who has published a series of influential works on sexuality and gender in 19th- and 20th-century Britain… His presence will be a source of inspiration to students and colleagues alike, and it will enhance Oxford’s reputation as a leader in the field of LGBTQ history.”

Mansfield College aims to attract further philanthropic support to create a new research cluster in LGBTQ+ history at Oxford. This includes plans for graduate scholarships and a new Career Development Fellowship.

Cook’s most notable work includes co-authoring the National Trust’s first LGBTQ guidebook, Prejudice And Pride, in 2017. His role at Oxford promises to build on this legacy and further expand the reach and impact of LGBTQ+ history in academia.

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