The renowned cultural historian Matt cooking will become the first history teacher LGBTQ+ in the UK in a new position created in the Mansfield College, Oxford University.
Cook, who has written extensively on urban life queerthe HIV/AIDS crisis and among other issues, will become the first headline of the Jonathan Cooper Chair of History of Sexualities later this year.
It is the first fully staffed specialist post of its kind in the UK, funded by a grant from £4.9 million from the Arcadia Funda charity that has donated millions of pounds to organizations working in human and natural diversity.
Of his appointment, Cook said: “I will work hard to improve our understanding of the LGBTQ past and show how these stories matter now. I am tremendously excited to have this opportunity to help further Oxford’s reputation for cutting-edge work in this growing field.”
Cook has a background in literary and cultural theory, as well as a strong interest in history. queer urban, public and community. She worked with the National Trust on a 2017 book called Prejudice and Pride, an LGBTQ+ guide of sorts.
He has also advised on community and oral history, archives and museum projects, including Heritage England’s Pride of Place program and Pitt Rivers Museum’s Beyond the Binary.
Cook will take up the role in October after 18 years at Birkbeck, University of London, where he was Professor of modern history and directed the program Master’s Degree in Gender and Sexuality Studies.
The new chair is named after the human rights lawyer Jonathan CooperLGBTQ+ rights advocate and commentator on issues including trans rights, conversion practices, and the rights of people living with HIV, who passed away in 2021.
Cook said: “Jonathan Cooper was a passionate advocate for LGBTQ rights and it is a great honor to assume this new professorship on his behalf... I see it as a way to honor and promote the inspiring legacy of Jonathan Cooper.”
“I will work hard to improve our understanding of the LGBTQ past and to show how these stories matter now. I will champion the strong line of existing queer historical work at Oxford and encourage discussion with LGBTQ scholars, writers and activists from around the world.”
Cook further said he is “tremendously excited to have this opportunity to help build Oxford’s reputation for cutting-edge work in this burgeoning field; I see it as a way to honor and promote the inspiring legacy of Jonathan Cooper.”
Mansfield College Principal Helen Mountfield said: “Matt will fit in very well with our proudly non-conforming college community, which respects, protects and promotes a wide range of voices and narratives. I know Jonathan would be very honored and delighted to see his legacy commemorated with this chair.”.
Rob Iliffe, chair of the history faculty board, added: “[La presencia de Matt] It will be a source of inspiration for students and colleagues alike, and will enhance Oxford’s reputation as a leader in the field of LGBTQ history.”