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Measured with Ceremonies

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Duncan Needham.

The University no longer does business through the profusion of public acts described by Adam Wall in his Customs and Ceremonies of 1798, later revised and re-issued by Henry Gunning in 1828 as The Ceremonies Observed in the Senate-House. The election of the Proctors by the Regent House in Congregation on the first day of Michaelmas Term is the last survival of an old method of appointment; even Chancellors and High Stewards are now elected by ballot rather than in Congregation and to fill certain other offices where the consent of the Regent House is required, such as Vice-Chancellor, Orator or Advocate, a Grace submitted by publication in the Reporter suffices.

That said, the University still awakens on October 1st with a ceremony and the final Degree Congregation of the year in mid-July heralds the Long Vacation, even if the calm of former times then fails to descend and business continues. Not only do we still do more ceremonial than most Universities and spread across much of the year, but these occasions are rooted in our present constitution and our past operations, are public not private events as far as the University’s members are concerned and end up involving not a few in the academic community in one way or another.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group series.

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