SOAS University of London

Academics, Agents and Activists: A History of the School of Oriental and African Studies 1916-2016

THIS EVENT IS ARCHIVED
Scroll advertising Chinese teaching at the School of Oriental Studies

Date: 12 October 2016Time: 10:30 AM

Finishes: 17 December 2016Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: Exhibition Rooms

Type of Event: Exhibition

A celebratory exhibition of a unique institution of higher education which presents the history of the School from a human perspective, and highlights SOAS’s wider impact on world history, scholarship, cultural preservation, politics, social development and the arts. 

For one hundred years the School has focused on Africa, Asia and the Middle East, bringing together students and staff from many nations to study and research the languages and subjects of the wider world. 

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Academics, Agents and Activists: A History of the School of Oriental and African Studies 1916-2016

The story of SOAS is a rich one, encompassing intellectual pursuits, locations, resources and most of all people who through teaching, research, learning and administration have made SOAS what it is today. 

From its origins in Finsbury Circus as the School of Oriental Studies in 1916 to the School of Oriental and African Studies in Bloomsbury, SOAS became a vital centre for language tuition through two world wars, contributing essential work to the national war effort and government service. After the Second World War the School continued in as a centre of excellence for languages and expanded to include social and cultural studies, becoming a renowned centre for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. 

Ranging from Hollywood stars to ground breaking scholars and Soviet spies the list of people who have passed through the doors of SOAS since 1916 is extensive and each person has had an impact in both large and small ways on the School and beyond. This exhibition highlights their contributions and experiences, representing the diversity and character of the School of Oriental and African Studies over the past one hundred years across the School’s vast regional remit. 

‘Since its establishment in 1917, the School has attracted highly gifted scholars with established international reputations… . They must have formed the biggest single bunch of eccentrics in Europe.’ 
(Sir Cyril Philips, Director, 1957-76) 

Sample images from the exhibition