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The Margaret Belcher Fellowship

The Belcher Visiting Fellowship in Victorian Studies was established through a legacy left to the College by the renowned Pugin scholar, Dr Margaret Belcher, who read English at St Hugh’s in the late 1950s. The Visiting Fellowship is a fixed-term position and is offered for a period no longer than twelve months. When funds permit, more than one Visiting Fellowship may be offered concurrently.

The Visiting Fellowship is open to academics from any discipline, who have obtained their doctorate and are working in the field of Victorian Studies. It is anticipated that the Visiting Fellow’s area of research interest will be related to the literature, history, culture, politics, or legacy of the Victorian era in Britain and the wider world – rather than to aspects of the nineteenth century without reference to the Victorian era. When assessing applications, preference will be given to candidates proposing to use the Visiting Fellowship to pursue a specific research project in Oxford.

The Fellowship carries no salary and Visiting Fellows are not employees of the College, although they will have full dining rights and office space at St Hugh’s. The Belcher Fund covers expenses only, including accommodation, relocation, travel, subsistence, and research expenses. The Fellowship is therefore often held by an academic on paid research leave from another institution.

Dr Margaret Belcher (Credit: The Pugin Society/Michael Fisher)

Professor Hewitt is a historian of Britain and its culture in the nineteenth century.

His current research projects include ‘Darwinism’s Generations: the reception of Darwinian evolution in Britain, 1859-1909’, and a book in the OUP Very Short Introductions series; The Victorians.

He is a co-editor of the substantial Routledge Nineteenth Century British Society digital resource, which will offer primary source material and secondary selected literature to scholars when it is launched in 2021.

For more information please click here.

Sharon Aronofsky Weltman is the William E. Davis Alumni Professor of English at LSU and a Belcher Visiting Fellow in Victorian Studies at St Hugh’s. In August 2022, she will become the Chair of the English Department at Texas Christian University (TCU).

Her research ranges across time and discipline from John Ruskin to Sweeney Todd.

Her eclectic interests include Victorian literature, theatre, performance, aesthetics, print and visual culture, myth, sexuality, ecocriticism, race, gender, disability, adaptation, film, melodrama, dance, and musicals. In addition to Comparative Literature and English, she is an affiliate member of LSU’S Screen Arts; Jewish Studies; and Women, Gender, and Sexualities Studies faculties. She is thrilled to be here at St Hugh’s researching Elizabeth Polack, her contemporary playwrights, and the cultural work their melodramas performed.

For more information please click here.


Jessica R. Valdez is an associate professor of English at the University of Hong Kong, and a Belcher Visiting Fellow in Victorian Studies during the 2022 Hilary and Trinity terms. In September 2022, she will become a lecturer in literature at the University of East Anglia.

Her interdisciplinary research offers new ways of thinking about the novel, media, and colonialism in nineteenth-century literature and culture.

Her other research intervenes in the growing field of seriality studies by framing novels’ experiments with serial form as a means to problematise national and imperial power. She is also working on another project that studies the transatlantic influence of the Yiddish literary tradition on British and American realism.

Dr Oindrila Ghosh is a specialist in Victorian Literature and Culture, with a particular interest in Thomas Hardy and his postcolonial reception. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of English, Diamond Harbour Women’s University, India, where she was the first Department Chair from 2018 to 2021. She has held a number of prestigious awards and grants including the Charles Wallace India Trust UK research grant in 2009 and 2019, the Frank Pinion Award of the Thomas Hardy Society, a Postdoctoral Associateship at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, and a Fellowship of the Institute of Advanced Study at the University of Surrey. During her Fellowship at St Hugh’s she worked on a project on the late-Victorian transnational Animal Welfare Movement and its literary and cultural projections.

For more information please click here.