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MLAC Events Bulletin: 12th-18th December

Monday 12th September

IAS Fellows’ Seminar – Making a big picture out of small fragments: How should we write the history of Babylonian astronomy?

13:00-14:00, IAS Seminar Room, Palace Green, Professor John Steele (Brown University, USA)

Despite the groundbreaking work in deciphering Babylonian astronomical texts and reconstructing Babylonian astronomy by scholars such as F. X. Kugler and O. Neugebauer over the past hundred and thirty years, there have been very few attempts to write an overarching history of Babylonian astronomy. Instead, scholars have largely undertaken focused studies of particular aspects of Babylonian astronomy. As someone who is in the process of trying write such an overarching history which both attempts to draw all the different aspects of Babylonian astronomy into a cohesive whole while also examining the diversity of Babylonian astronomical practice and the interconnections between different parts (as we see them) of this practice, I want to use this seminar to explore some of the methods and problems of writing such a history. How, for example, do we go about scaling up from a fragmentary textual record which offers snapshots of astronomical practice into a big picture? What role should theory play in writing the history of Babylonian astronomy? How do we deal with source bias (geographical, chronological, modern)? How do we avoid interpreting Babylonian astronomy through the lens of the goals and techniques of current or ancient Greek astronomy?

Fellows’ seminars take place on Monday lunchtimes in the seminar room at Cosin’s Hall.

Places are limited and so any academic colleagues interested in attending a seminar should contact the Institute in advance to reserve a place.


Musicon Concert Series – In Nomine – Fretwork

20:00, Great Hall, Durham Castle

This year Fretwork celebrate 30 years of performing music old and new, and look forward to a challenging and exciting future as the world’s leading consort of viols.
Asako Morikawa – viol, Reiko Ichise – viol, Emily Ashton – viol, Sam Stadlen – viol, Richard Boothby – viol.

The programme includes works by: John Taverner, Christopher Tye, Robert Parsons, William Byrd, Picforth, Orlando Gibbons, Nico Muhly, William Lawes, Gavin Bryars and Henry Purcell.

“Fretwork is the finest viol consort on the planet” Stephen Petitt, The London Evening Standard.

This year Fretwork celebrate 30 years of performing music old and new, and look forward to a challenging and exciting future as the world’s leading consort of viols. They have expanded their repertoire to include music from over 500 years, from the first printed consort music in 1501 to music written today. In addition they play everything that can be performed on a consort of viols: Byrd & Schubert, Purcell & Britten, Dowland & Grieg. This great musical adventure has taken them all over the globe, from Russia to Japan, from North America to Australia. The future sees many exciting projects based on the thrilling juxtaposition of old and new, making the experience of old music new, and bringing the sensibilities of past ages to bear on contemporary music.

Tickets: £10, Students £4, Under 18s £1
Box Office: Department of Music, Durham
Tel: 0191 33 43140
Or online at:

Contact for more information about this event.


Tuesday 13th December

Ushaw Lecture and Christmas Carol Service

17:30-19:30, Ushaw College, Durham

Bennett Zon (Durham) – ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’: A Musical Mystery Tour, followed by the Ushaw Christmas Carol Service. Drinks Reception: 5.30pm; Lecture: 6pm–7.15pm; Carol Service 7.30pm.

All are welcome; registration is required. To book a place please email Hannah Thomas or telephone Jane Lidstone on 0191 334 1656.

If you need help with transport to and from Ushaw College, please contact us by 9am on Friday 9 December 2016.

Contact for more information about this event.


Emotion, Resistance, and the Reformation in the Diary of Caritas Pirckheimer

Dr Elizabeth Goodwin, Department of History, University of Sheffield

18:00, Durham World Heritage Site Visitor Centre

This event is free to attend and open to all. The seminar will begin at 6pm, with tea and biscuits from 5.40pm.

Abstract: Caritas Pirckheimer, an abbess at the Nuremburg convent of St Clare’s, recorded the ‘dangerous, rebellious times’ of the German Reformation in her journal, imbuing and framing events with the passion and emotion of women whose lives were changed dramatically. Recording the forced, violent removal of screaming daughters from the convent by their mothers, angry letters from the City Council who questioned the very existence and ‘rightness’ of the convent and the sorrowful reactions of the women under her care, Caritas uses emotion not only as a rhetoric tool to convince the reader, but to enable her to record the events around her with a sense of their individual narrative. Using methodology utilised in emotional histories of late medieval and early modern studies, this paper will explore the ways in which Caritas uses, references and explores her own emotions and those of the men and women around them, and how these emotional responses and narratives fit within a wider Late Medieval and Reformation context for religious women.

Contact for more information about this event.

Click here for more information.


MLaC Language Café

18:00, Students’ Union, Dunelm House, Elvet Riverside

MLaC Language Café will take place on Tuesday 13 December 2016 from 6.00 to 8.00 in the Students’ Union, Durham, Elvet Riverside. Everybody is welcome to attend – students as much as people from the wider community – if you want to practise a foreign language informally. Members for several languages will be present. See the attached poster or

For more information, please contact Christopher Da Silva ( or Laura Wichmann (


Wednesday 14th December

Networks Reading Group

12:00, A56

The next meeting of the networks reading group will be at 12pm, 14 December in Elvet Riverside A56. The reading, kindly suggested by Pete Baker, consists of two articles by Mario Blaser which relate some of the ontological issues we have been discussing to questions of modernity, coloniality and indigeneity:

‘Ontology and Indigeneity: On The Political Ontology of Heterogeneous Assemblages’, Cultural Geographies, 21(1), 2014, 49–58.

‘Political Ontology: Cultural Studies Without “Cultures”?’, Cultural Studies, 23(5-6), 2009, 873–96.

Both are available via University library e-journals.

All staff and postgraduates are welcome at this group, so please circulate this notice as you see fit.

UK Premiere of ‘They Heard Voices’

20:00-22:00, Empty Shop

‘They Heard Voices’ is a documentary film exploring the hearing voices (HV) movement, chronic psychosis and the schizophrenia label.

Hearing the Voice and Empty Shop are delighted to invite you to the UK premier of ‘They Heard Voices,’ produced by Jonathan Balazs. The screening is part of our mini film festival and linked programmed of events that surround the ‘Hearing Voices: suffering, inspiration, and the everyday‘ exhibition at Palace Green Library. All are welcome to attend this free premiere, but places are limited and need to be reserved in advance by following the link below.

Contact for more information about this event.


Thursday 15th December

French Studies Work In Progress Seminar: Dr Sam Bootle ‘Reception of Buddhism in 19th Century Literature’

17:00, A56, Elvet Riverside I, Durham University

Contact for more information about this event.

Saturday 17th December

Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols and Other Festive Music

19:30-21:30, Elvet Methodist Church, Old Elvet, Durham, DH1 3EL

Christmas is a coming, and so is the Durham Choral Society annual charity concert. We have a bit of a departure this year and will be performing Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols as well as better known carols. It was originally scored for three-part treble, solos and harp and then arranged for 4 voice parts which opened it up to choirs with the traditional soprano, alto, tenor, bass mix. We will be joined by Durham County Youth Choir and as ever, there will be a bit of audience participation.

Tickets £7, under 18s £3.50

Available from
By email:
and on the door (availability allowing)

Contact for more information about this event.


Further Afield…


Durham University & Cinemes Texas celebrate late Spanish filmmaker Bigas Luna in Barcelona 

12-14 December 2016

Durham University will be co-hosting with Cinemes Texas new events to celebrate the legacy of the late Spanish filmmaker Bigas Luna in Barcelona this December. Following the success of other tribute events in San Francisco in 2015 and in Newcastle upon Tyne earlier this year, the Barcelona tribute will include four film screenings, public talks by international experts on Bigas Luna and street performances inspired by the ‘Iberian Trilogy’ of films. The events are organised by Santiago Fouz Hernández, Reader in Hispanic Studies at Durham, and Betty Bigas. More information here @bigaslunahomage

Monday 12 December 

8PM  Jamón, jamón with introduction by Santiago Fouz Hernández (Durham University). Followed by cava reception.

Tuesday 13 December

8 PM Huevos de oro 

10.30 PM La teta i la lluna with introduction by Alfredo Martínez Expósito (Univeristy of Melbourne)

Wednesday 14 December

8PM Bilbao with introduction by Carolina Sanabria (IIARTE, Universidad de Costa Rica)

Director Ventura Pons will also speak at one of the screenings.

Details of street performances and other events will be announced at



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