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James O'Connell 1925-2013

Published: Fri 20 Sep 2013

James O'Connell, Emeritus Professor of Peace Studies, who has died at the age of 87 after a short illness.

Professor O’Connell served as Head of Department of Peace Studies from 1978 to his retirement in 1993 and was a leading figure in the development of the University in the 1980s with periods as Dean of Social Sciences and Pro-Vice Chancellor.  James played a major role in ensuring that the University survived the huge cuts imposed by the University Grants Committee in 1981 but his most enduring legacy lies in the development of Peace Studies at Bradford.   During his time as Head, the Department grew from six academic staff to twenty-one and achieved international recognition as one of the world’s leading centres for peace research.  This was a remarkable achievement given that it involved the development of a markedly interdisciplinary department drawing on the social and natural sciences.  Moreover, given that much of the work was in areas that involved critical analysis, it required singularly high academic standards.  During James’s period as Head, the foundations were laid for a group of scholars that, by 2008, could easily outscore many Russell Group universities in the Research Assessment Exercise.

The obituary, by Professor Paul Rogers, can be found at the following link:

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/sep/19/james-oconnell-academic-dies-87

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