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30 May 2018 - 30 May 2018

A conversation with James J. Barnes author of "Unforeseen: The First Blind Rhodes Scholar"

  • Rhodes House
  • 5.30 - 7pm
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A conversation with James J. Barnes author of "Unforeseen: The First Blind Rhodes Scholar"
Wednesday 30 May, 5.30 - 7pm

About the book: Jim Barnes has never let the absence of sight define him. Born with limited vision, from a young age he was singled out for his love of hard work both in the classroom and on the sports field. As an undergraduate he was named First Citizen of Amherst College and was then awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, only to lose his sight entirely during his first year in Oxford. Now an eminent historian and a beloved teacher, this is not a tale of triumph over adversity, but rather one man’s account of how he has responded to what life has given him by giving back to others.

About the author: Since leaving New College with a B.A. in History in 1956 and a PhD. from Harvard in 1960, Jim Barnes has taught at Amherst College in Massachusetts and at Wabash College in Indiana.  He retired in 2006 after publishing numerous articles plus ten books dealing with such varying topics as the English book trade, international copyright, Anglo American diplomacy, Nazi intelligence, and the American Revolution and Civil war. Along the way, he has received two honorary doctorates, one from the College of Wooster in Ohio and another from his alma mater, Amherst.  His memoir, Unforeseen: The First Blind Rhodes Scholar appeared in September 2017 and reveals for the first time his challenging journey as a scholar, researcher, sportsman, traveler, husband, and father, all roles he has excelled in with remarkable modesty and success.

Registration details

Rhodes Scholars can register on the Rhodes Scholar Network. If you are interested in attending this discussion, please email