Degrees of influence: the politics of honorary degrees in the universities of oxford and cambridge, 1900–2000

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Abstract

The universities of Oxford and Cambridge had developed different attitudes towards the award of honorary degrees through the early and middle decades of the twentieth century. Recently, both have adopted a similar cautious and apolitical stance. This essay describes the role of honorary degrees in the production and reproduction of their cultural and intellectual authority of these two ancient universities.

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Acknowledgements

We wish to acknowledge the assistance of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation; Godfrey Waller and Jacky Cox, University Archivists in Cambridge; and Simon Bailey, of the University Archives in Oxford. We also thank Roy MacLeod, Editor of Minerva, and four anonymous referees for their helpful comments and suggestions.

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Correspondence to Michael Heffernan.

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An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11024-008-9088-9

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Heffernan, M., Jöns, H. Degrees of influence: the politics of honorary degrees in the universities of oxford and cambridge, 1900–2000. Minerva 45, 389–416 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11024-007-9065-8

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Keywords

  • Prime Minister
  • Conservative Party
  • Honorary Degree
  • Honorary Doctorate
  • Intellectual Authority