Masterclass with Nicholas Cole

21 March 2024
UWA Institute of Advanced Studies
Postgraduate Students, Early Career Researchers, Academics, Professional Researchers


This Masterclass has been postponed. A new date will be advised.

 Negotiating the Australian Constitution

A Masterclass with Dr Nicholas Cole, Senior Research Fellow at Pembroke College, University of Oxford and UWA Institute of Advanced Studies Visiting Fellow.

Dr Cole is an expert in both digital humanities and constitutional law at Pembroke College, University of Oxford. In this Masterclass he will place the writing of Australia's federal constitution in a global context, examining its connections to the long history of democratic constitution-writing and describing how modern research technologies are being used to illuminate the drafting process as part of a new research collaboration between Oxford and UWA. He will draw on his experience of founding and directing Quill, a leading digital humanities project at the University of Oxford, to address both the problems of digital project design and the creation of tools needed in twenty-first century scholarship.

Dr Nicholas Cole (MA MPhil DPhil Oxford) is a Senior Research Fellow at Pembroke College, University of Oxford, and the director of the Quill Project which examines how groups of people negotiate some of the most important texts that govern our societies and daily lives: constitutions, treaties, and legislation. The project uses advanced digital technologies to understand the process of drafting and revision, and to track the ways that both substance and process have changed over time. Its flagship work concerns the constitutional history of America, but the project has also commenced work on the Good Friday Agreement and the Indian Constitution. 

Nicholas's particular interests are the influence of classical political thought on America's first politicians, and the search for a new 'science of politics' in post-Independence America. He studied as an undergraduate and graduate at University College, Oxford, and was a Visiting Fellow at the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello. He has held research and teaching positions at St Peter's College, and within the History Faculty. His doctoral work focused on the use made of classical antiquity by Jefferson's generation, and he retains a strong interest in the reception of classical antiquity in the modern world, about which he has written extensively. He supervises undergraduate and graduate theses on early American politics and ideology and the history of ideas.

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