Lecture, MLAC events, Research Groups

Weekly Bulletin

Tuesday 3rd May


Transnationalism Research Group seminar: Cassia Roth (UCLA) – He Said, She Said: Abortion Rumours and Power in Early-Twentieth-Century Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 17:00, History Department, 43 North Bailey, Seminar Room 2

Did you hear about that girl who had an abortion? Gossip like this represents the circulation of ideas on proper female sexuality. In early-twentieth-century Brazil, society judged a woman based on her chastity outside of marriage and her fidelity within it. Gossip on abortion—associated with clandestine sex—demarcated these moral boundaries. Social scientists have long addressed how gossip creates and maintains socially acceptable moral boundaries. More recently, historians of Latin America have begun to approach gossip as an important historical source that demonstrates the values of any given society. Yet scholarship has not explored how the sexual mores expressed in abortion gossip both built upon and facilitated its official criminalization. This talk remedies this gap by looking at the function of gossip and rumor surrounding abortion in early-twentieth-century Rio de Janeiro. These “informal” controlling speech forms exerted power because they interacted with a “formal” police and judicial system ready to act. However, while the state pushed to strengthen institutions of social control in the first several decades of the twentieth century, the police and judicial systems were plagued with bureaucratic inefficiencies that weakened their ability to act as a strict enforcer. Thus, I argue that gossip relied on formal institutions to create scandal, but the social shame rarely came from official punishment such as jail time. The informal and formal interacted to create a web of punishment that transcended this binary and created a culture of social shame surrounding fertility control that proved far more enduring than any jail sentence. 


Claire McCallum: The Good, the Bad, and the Incompetent: Representing the Father in Soviet Visual Culture after Stalin, 18:00, Hogan Lovells Lecture Theatre

Drawing on the range of satirical and humorous cartoons published in popular magazines of the day, this paper will examine how the Soviet father was represented in the years following the death of Stalin.The Khrushchev era is one that has come to be defined by fatherlessness, but print culture seems to offer us a very different picture, as images of men interacting with their children proliferated, appearing in across all visual genres with a frequency that was unprecedented. However, what we see in cartoons that is missing from other forms of visual culture is a degree of willingness to acknowledge the tensions, conflicts and problems that the Soviet family faced during this period – problems that had up until this point been almost entirely expunged from Socialist Realist art. Thus, as trivial as these cartoons may seem, this paper will argue that, not only are they evidence of how Socialist Realism moved closer to representing Socialist reality in the years after 1953, they are part of nothing less than a visual revolution in how the father and his relationship with his children were represented after the death of the self-styled ultimate father, Father Stalin.


Ghosts: The Evidence of Spirits Public Lecture Series: Embodied Shadows: sculpted memory, sensed presence, and the third party, Professor Douglas Davies (Theology, University of Durham), 18:15-19:30, ER140

Added due to popular demand, this further lecture forms part of the Institute of Advanced Study’s ‘Ghosts: The Evidence of Spirits’ series. This lecture is free and open to all. Contact m.r.sandy@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.


Wednesday 4th May


Annual King Hussein Memorial Lecture in Cultural Dialogue: Embodied Shadows: sculpted memory, sensed presence, and the third partyProfessor the Honorable Gareth Evans AC QC, The Australian National University, 18:15-19:15, Calman Learning Centre, Rosemary Cramp Theatre


Cultural differences have always inhibited easy consensus in complex and sensitive international negotiations, not least those aimed at ending deadly conflict or crafting general new rules of the road on peace and security issues. In this lecture Gareth Evans will seek to draw lessons from his varied experience in navigating across cultural divides in his former roles as Australian Foreign Minister, particularly in the Cambodian peace process; as President of the International Crisis Group, particularly in conflict-related analysis and advocacy in the Middle East; and as chair or member of a number of blue-ribbon international commissions, particularly those addressing mass atrocity crimes and nuclear arms control.



Thursday 5th May


Mark Chambers: Corpus Christi in Durham, 14:00-15:00, Chapel of the Nine Altars, Durham Cathedral

A free public talk to accompany the exhibition Plays, Processions and Parchment. On 26 May, the Cathedral will be celebrating the feast of Corpus Christi. This annual feast, celebrating the ‘Body of Christ’ represented by the bread and wine of the sacrament of Communion, has been a highlight of the Christian calendar for nearly 700 years, and is still the premier feast day following the celebration of Easter. In the medieval period, Corpus Christi day would be celebrated with an elaborate procession by clergy and assembled dignitaries. It would also include Corpus Christi plays, specially put on by the city’s trade guilds and fraternities. The famous York Corpus Christi plays are part of this tradition. In Durham, the assembled procession would carry the spectacular shrine of Corpus Christi from its resting place in St. Nicholas’ church in the Market Place, up the hill to the Cathedral, where prayers would be said, hymns sung and a special service celebrated. On the same day, Durham’s dozen or so trade guilds would each be responsible for putting on their ‘Corpus Christi play’ – each play presumably enacting a scene from Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection.

In his talk, Dr Chambers will discuss the Corpus Christi festival in Durham, tracing its history before the reformation and highlighting evidence for the Corpus Christi plays. He will also investigate theories as to what plays were played, by whom, and how. Please join us for this 20-minute talk with question-and-answer session to follow.”


Language Café, 18:00, Durham Student Union, Dunelm House

Come and practise your foreign languages and enjoy good company! Click here for the poster. Contact christopher.da-silva@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s