A Virtual Visit From Professor William Doyle

Headington’s History Department were extremely privileged to host Professor William Doyle from the University of Bristol in a virtual lecture to the Sixth Form Historians.

Professor Doyle is a world expert on the French Revolution and author of key works including “The Oxford History of the French Revolution” and “The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction”.

On 22nd January, Professor Doyle delivered a fantastic talk on the comparative careers, reputations and the historical debate concerning two so-called “heroes” of the revolution: Maximilian Robespierre and Georges Danton. His excellent coverage of the literature that has helped colour these enigmatic and contentious characters as well as his coherent assessment of their involvement in the bloodiest period of French History really helped the girls understand these individuals and why they have been so maligned.

History Teacher Mrs Cheryl Ferguson said: “He was so easy to follow and made fascinating and contemporary links to more recent events including the parades of the Soviet Union and the recent storming of the Capitol building in Washington. It really helped the topic to feel relevant as well as serving to contextualise these complex individuals.

“Although the medium by which this lecture was delivered was a little less traditional, the value in terms of its academic content and university-style learning was just as meaningful as if we really hosted Professor Doyle in person.

“Our students asked the professor some excellent questions which demonstrated an excellent understanding of the issues covered and served to make the department and the school proud.”