Lecture, MLAC events, PGR Forum

Events Bulletin 1-4 March


This Thursday at the usual time of 5pm in ER153 Dr Santiago Fouz-Hernández will be leading our forum session, giving us some tips and tricks on how to craft and deliver great conference papers.


Talks and Events


Tuesday 1st March


Textual Evidence (The Life of Texts) – Public Lecture Series: Dr Jason Harding – Fragments Shored against Ruin: Reassembling ‘The Waste Land’, 18:00-19:30, Learning Centre, Palace Green Library

The publication of Valerie Eliot’s facsimile and transcript of the original drafts of The Waste Land opened a fascinating light on the composition of the poem. Not only were three lengthy narrative sections excised from the poem on the recommendation of Ezra Pound, but the annotations of the man whom Eliot honoured as “il miglior fabbro” revealed the extent to which Pound had radically reshaped the form and structure of the poem acclaimed (and reviled) on its first publication in 1922 –  “the justification of the ‘movement’, of our modern experiment” in Pound’s words, arguably the most intensively studied poem in the English language. Forty-five years after the publication of Valerie Eliot’s edition, this lecture seeks to unravel some of the editorial presuppositions of her presentation of 26 distinct pre-publication documents, drawing on the recent appearance of a mass of hitherto restricted archive material, to return us with fresh eyes to Eliot’s painstaking composition of the poem in 1921. Reconsideration of the making of The Waste Land from the vantage point of textual scholarship allows us to address complex but compelling questions bearing on authorial intention and collaboration, on the changing taste of critical reception and indeed the textual authority of the various published incarnations of the poem, not least the controversial “Composite” text of The Waste Land included in Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue’s new critical edition of The Poems of T. S. Eliot (Faber, 2015).


Visual Evidence (Ghosts – the Evidence of Spirits) Public Lecture series: Professor Chris Lloyd – Ghosts in the City: from Baudelaire to Lydie Salvayre and Hilary Mantel, 18:15, ER140

This lecture examines the evolution of the urban and suburban fictional ghost from the mid-nineteenth to early twenty-first century, focusing on three literary authors whose works show that the genre is not necessarily doomed to recycling antiquarian stereotypes and nameless horrors, but can on the contrary offer a probing account of the paradoxes of modernity. Baudelaire’s ‘Tableaux parisiens’ (the sequence of poems added to the second edition of Les Fleurs du mal, 1861) energetically celebrates both the sordid grandeur of Second-Empire Paris and the spectral presences which haunt it, in a constant exchange between self and other, past and present, material presence and symbolic absence. Romantic spectres and allegories are inventively updated and relocated in thought-provoking and highly readable novels by Lydie Salvayre (La Compagnie des spectres, 1997) and Hilary Mantel (Beyond Black, 2005), which are set respectively in the outer suburbs and dormitory towns of contemporary Paris and London. Both authors juxtapose sharply observed satire of contemporary post-industrial French and British society with moving accounts of its misfits and exiles, whose solipsistic alienation and possession by malevolent ghosts offer all too convincing evidence that spirits remain an integral part of humanity’s history and psyche. The project consists of three separate, but complementary strands: a lecture series, an exhibition on ‘Ghost Stories’ held in October 2015 at the Durham World Heritage Site Visitor Centre; and a one-day workshop to take place at the IAS on 23 February 2016. Lectures will be held fortnightly on commencing 13 October at 6:15pm in Elvet Riverside 140. Lectures and the exhibition are open to all, though attendees at the opening event of the exhibition will need to register in advance.


Henri Cartier-Bresson & Street Photography – A photo-essay by Andy Boobier, 19:00-20:30, ER157

Join Durham University Photography Society as we welcome Andy Boobier, Author and President of the Bradford Athenaeum Club, as our Guest Speaker. Andy Boobier will host our first ever guest speaker event! He will be talking on Henri Cartier-Bresson, the eminent 20th century Street Photographer. All welcome – members, non-members and members of the public. Free Entry.


Wednesday 2nd March


IAS Seminar: Professor Tom Mcleish – ‘Evidence’: reflecting on 10 Year’s Work at the IAS from a Bayesian perspective, 13:00-14:00, IAS Seminar Room, Palace Green

Professor Tom McLeish will reflect briefly on the 10 years of programmes at the IAS in so far as they contribute to current discussions on the meaning and framing of ‘Evidence’. From ‘Beyond Darwin’ to ‘Emergence’, evidence never lurks far underneath the topic. But it remains everywhere contested. Professor McLeish suggests that the Bayesian notion of ‘prior’ helps to explain the divergent ways in which identical evidence is processed by different communities.
Places are limited and so any academic colleagues interested in attending a seminar should contact the Institute in advance to reserve a place.


Postgraduate Research Feedback Session, 15:00-17:00, IAS Seminar Room

This two-hour session is the first of a series of termly meetings that aim to share good practice and promote collaboration among postgraduate research students across the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. The sessions will provide a friendly, interdisciplinary setting in which academics and research students from across the Faculty meet up to discuss and give oral feedback on work-in-progress authored by research students. Each session will discuss the work of up to two research students. After briefly introducing their work, students will take comments, suggestions and questions about their written work from those in the audience (who will have read it in advance). Each student will have a few minutes at the end to respond to comments or ask for clarifications. The length of the pieces of work to be discussed will be between 3.000 and 5.000 words. These could be an extract from a chapter of the student’s PhD thesis, a conference paper or an article (work-in-progress in all cases). Light refreshments will be served. In this first session, two students from the School of Modern Languages and Cultures (French Studies in both cases) will present work from their PhD thesis. Titles and short abstracts of the work will be available nearer the time. Catherine Ellis’s thesis is entitled ‘Libertine Digestion: Ingestion and Digestion in Eighteenth Century Libertine and Erotic Fiction’. Niall Oddy’s thesis is entitled ‘Ideas of Europe in Sixteenth Century France’. Work for this session will be circulated by email by Monday 22nd February for those who register for the event.


Inventions of the Text Seminar: Dr Mark Sandy – Keats, Healthy Breathing, and Romantic Bowers, 17:30-19:00, Seminar Room, Hallgarth House

Click here for more information.


Thursday 3rd March


Cutting-edge Computation and Scientific Evidence Workshop, 09:00-17:00, Lakeside Dining Room, Van Mildert College

Over the last several decades, computational methodologies have transformed the practice of science. Computer simulation gave rise to the first wave of transformation, cutting across the traditional methodological categories of theorizing and experimenting: it allowed scientists to apply theories that were otherwise mathematically intractable, even as the practice of simulation modelling bore notable resemblance to experimentation. Today, advanced computational methods permeate scientific practice across a range of fields. In a number of contexts, these methods are integral to the production and/or interpretation of evidence. Advanced computational methods are used, for instance, in the interpretation of observational data in cosmology; in fMRI studies of brain function; in the production of observational datasets in climate science; and in drug selection in personalized medicine. At the same time, the use of these methods leads to challenging questions about the nature of the evidence produced. What evidence do fMRI images provide about the brains of subjects, given the complex computational processing involved in their production? If, as exciting new research suggests, computer simulations can provide evidence that certain drugs will be more effective than others in treating HIV in a particular person, does that evidence have a different status than evidence collected in clinical trials? And so on. Within scientific communities, the evidential status of results produced with the help of complex computational methods is often contested. This one-day workshop will bring together scientists from a variety of fields as well as philosophers of science to explore challenging questions about evidence arising from the use of advanced computational methods in science. The focus will be not on the technical details of advanced computational methods but on the types of challenges involved in using as evidence scientific results that are produced with the help of such methods. The aim is to stimulate cross-disciplinary dialogue, identifying similarities and differences in types of the challenges faced as well as the strategies used to try to overcome them. All are welcome to attend, space permitting. If interested in attending, or for more information, please contact admin.chess@durham.ac.uk


Centre for Poetry and Poetics Research Seminar: Dr Stefano Cracolici – Vico and the Poetics of Anger, 16:45-18:00, Birley Room, Hatfield College

Click here for more information.


Language Café, 18:30-20:30, Durham Student Union, Dunelm House

On Thursday 3rd March there will be our last language cafè of the term. It’s in the DSU bar (6.30-8.30 p.m.). It’s an opportunity to speak in a foreign language in a relaxed and friendly ambience. All languages will have a representative there. Everybody welcome!


Friday 4th March


Colpitt’s Poetry: Liz Berry and Katrina Porteous, 20:00-21:00, Palace Green Library

Liz Berry’s Black Country won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Katrina Porteous’s poetry has been broadcast extensively on BBC Radio. Click here for more information.






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