In recent years the Maison Française d’Oxford has been broadening its remit to include research in science and technology, taking an interdisciplinary approach. At the MFO, we thus aim at confronting perspectives and foster exchange among scholars across the entire spectrum of knowledge.
Within the framework of a new agreement with the University of Oxford, we support projects confronting work in the humanities and social sciences with work in mathematics, physics, engineering, and the life sciences (MPLS), and the medical sciences. In 2020-2021, several interdisciplinary research projects are being conducted at the MFO, including work in the medical humanities (literature and epilepsy); digital humanities (digital culture and society); environmental humanities (A.R. Wallace and the history of evolutionary biogeography); and the ethics of artificial intelligence models (black-box AIMs). In 2019, the MFO also organised the large inter-disciplinary conference "Transgressing Boundaries in Science-Fiction," a three-day event with film screenings and debates, round-table discussions, lectures and exhibitions. From 2021, the MFO is also hosting the recurring interdisciplinary seminar “Science and the Public Sphere,” which brings together French and British social scientists, philosophers, scientists, and others, to discuss the role and position of science in society.
The MFO is now also welcoming French scientists for long stays in Oxford. Dr Ludovic Halby, research engineer at the CNRS, joined us in January-December 2017, working at the department of chemistry. While here, he developed new therapeutic molecules in the field of epigenetics, but also organised a conference at the MFO, bringing together chemists, biologists, historians, sociologists, philosophers, and lawyers, to discuss their different conceptions of biological and social inheritance. Dr Jean-Pierre Mothet, senior researcher (directeur de recherche) at the CNRS in neurobiology, spent the academic year 2018-2019 at the MFO thanks to a fellowship at Jesus College. While here, he presented his work in an interdisciplinary seminar entitled "Brain chemistry: neuroscience through the looking-glass.”