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annual visit to Oxford

Posted in Kids, pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2018 by xi'an

As in every year since 2014, I am spending a few days in Oxford to teach a module on Bayesian Statistics to our Oxford-Warwick PhD students. This time I was a wee bit under the weather due to a mild case of food poisoning and I can only hope that my more than sedate delivery did not turn definitely the students away from Bayesian pursuits!

The above picture is at St. Hugh’s College, where I was staying. Or should it be Saint Hughes, since this 12th century bishop was a pre-Brexit European worker from Avalon, France… (This college was created in 1886 for young women of poorer background. And only opened to male students a century later. The 1924 rules posted in one corridor show how these women were considered to be so “dangerous” by the institution that they had to be kept segregated from men, except their brothers!, at all times…)

Oxford, Miss.

Posted in Travel, University life with tags , , on July 7, 2009 by xi'an

The town of Oxford is much smaller than the Wikitravel entry would have let me guess: “The Square is the center of downtown” actually means that this is downtown! Some of the houses on this Square are nice examples of late 19th southern architecture (since the town was burned during the Civil War), but this does not deserve more than 10 minutes of contemplation! Much less than the time spent in Square Books, which is an independent bookstore with a lot of personality (if not an immense selection of books). Since this is the summer recess at the University of Mississippi, the town also feels mostly deserted, the campus being almost completely empty. On Sunday morning, everything was closed and getting the Sunday edition of The New York Times was a major endeavour!

Before coming to Oxford, I had not realised that the University of Mississippi was the place where racial riots occurred when the first black student was accepted. James Meredith managed to break the racial segregation in the southern universities but had to remain under permanent police protection during his studies! This was in 1962, so things have drastically changed since then. The university website mentions “19 percent of students are minorities” (without further details). But this makes the emphasis on rebels (like the memorial obelisk for confederate dead at the center of the campus, a few steps away from the Jame Meredith memorial!, and the confederate cemetery, on the campus as well) that seems present everywhere there difficult to understand: The primary purpose of the South secession that led to the Civil War was to maintain slavery, not for a “just and holy cause”

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