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MLAC EVENTS BULLETIN: 27th February – 5th March

Talks and Events 

Monday 27th February

IAS Fellows’ Seminar – Urban Social Movements: contentious performances in a challenging era

13:00-14:00, IAS Seminar Room, Palace Green,

Professor Ida Susser (Hunter College, USA)

In the light of the sharp turn to the right in the United States and the same trends in many parts of Europe, this seminar paper will explore the history of civil protest and the possibilities which such protest may represent to foster progressive policies. The emergence of protests such as “Occupy” in the United States and similar events in Europe is discussed as a response to neoliberal policies, the creation of a temporary and insecure workforce, or precariat, and the need to develop different approaches to power and transformation. Based on fieldwork among activists in New York City, Barcelona and Paris, this paper analyzes the ways in which social movements represent a claim for an urban commons and the building of a new political consciousness. It develops a theoretical discussion of the urban commons as a form of popular education which transforms space, time and language.

Click here for more information.


The Scale of Things Public lecture series: Scales of Research: social anthropology meets epidemiology

18:15-19:15, Ken Wade Theatre, Calman Learning Centre, Professor William Sax (Heidelberg University)

It seems that social anthropology with its methodology of ethnographic participant-observation, and epidemiology with its focus on statistical methods, work at very different scales. Ethnographers usually conduct their research at the micro-scale of the tribe, village, family or even the single person, while epidemiologists prefer large-scale studies of “populations”: the bigger the better.

Ethnographic writing is normally evaluated in terms of how well it addresses the (largely unquantifiable) questions of social theory, while epidemiological writing is normally evaluated by statistical criteria like “validity,” “reliability” and “sensitivity.” To what degree are such differences in evaluative criteria a function of differing scales of research? What are the respective strengths and weaknesses of each approach? Can epidemiology adequately address questions of culture and meaning? Can ethnography be truly “scientific”? Prof. Sax will address these familiar questions in terms of his research comparing the efficacy of ritual healing with that of conventional psychiatry.

Click here for more information.


Tuesday 28th February

Durham International Festival of Enterprise

28th February 2017, 09:00 to 1st March 2017, 19:00, Durham’s Gala Theatre and Town Hall

Durham International Festival of Enterprise is a new 3-day business event aimed at showcasing enterprise and innovation in Durham and the North East of England. It offers an amazing opportunity to gain practical advice and inspiration from experts and peers who will share their views, advice and experiences on growing and succeeding in business.

The Festival aims to attract like-minded entrepreneurs, owners and managers, bringing them together to engage, collaborate and learn how to develop new and existing businesses.

Click here for more information.


Living Scales: Scaling the Body – workshop

10:00-16:30, Kenworthy Hall, St Mary’s College,

Dr Liz Hallam (University of Aberdeen), Dr Anna Maerker (Kings College London), Professor Douglas Davies (Durham University)
With recent advances in transplant medicine, there is now not much that isn’t of potential secondary use when we die. The heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, pancreas and small intestines, corneas, skin, veins, heart valves, tendons, ligaments and bones that functioned in one body might all now find themselves functioning in another.

The trajectory of these entities is both complex and ethically challenging. It brings within a single frame questions of biomedical need and the relief of suffering on the one hand and ideas about the body, death and what happens beyond on the other. This workshop will explore this trajectory with the aim of shedding new light on the various transactions of which it is comprised. This exploration will be twofold.

First, this workshop consider the way the body is subject to different scales and what it means when there is a shift between scales. This will entail reflection upon the whole body of the donor at death; the body as partible and made up of entities that are physically isolatable, hierarchically ordered and yet dynamically interlinked; the re-constitution of recipient bodies as healthy and whole; and, finally, the larger scale social and moral imaginaries into which these entities pass.

Second, the workshop will draw [and do so quite literally!] upon the visual arts to stimulate a deeper meditation upon these shifts between scales and what they mean in the present and, crucially, they might mean in the future.

The visual and participatory elements of this event will be led by the acclaimed artist, Barrie Ormsby. The participatory elements will be interspersed by contributions from Dr Liz Hallam (University of Oxford), Dr Anna Maerker (Kings College London and IAS visiting fellow) and Professor Douglas Davies (Professor of Theology, Durham University). The event will also feature contributions from the Centre for Medical Humanities.

This event is also part of the Department of Anthropology’s 70/50 anniversary celebrations.

The all-day workshop is open to all and will take place on 28th February 2017 in Kenworthy Hall (St Mary’s College). Places will be limited to 25 and registration is essential at:

For further details contact Professor Bob Simpson, Department of Anthropology:

Click here for more information.


Book Club

17:00-18:00, Palace Green Library

The book is decided month by month as we fit around what our members are enjoying! We read books based around Palace Green Library’s exhibitions and the Oriental Museum’s collections. As well as literature surrounding our temporary exhibitions.

Occasionally, we also offer sessions for members looking at archival material from 4pm – 5pm before the normal Book Club meeting in the Learning Centre. This includes looking at the special collections, new galleries, handling collections and occasionally a craft activity.
The Palace Green Library Book Club appeals to people who want new experiences, enjoys conversations about the literature, want the chance to learn about the collections at Durham University and the opportunity to meet new people in and around Durham. Cake and biscuits are at the heart of every meeting!
To join the Book Club, email us to be added to the Book Club mailing list. Alternatively, information is at our reception desk and we can contact you via telephone or post.

Contact for more information about this event.

Click here for more information.


1917 – The Russian Revolution: A Centenary Perspective

Professor Steve Smith (Oxford)

17:15, Concert Room, Music Department, Palace Green

Please click here for more information.


The Banipal Visiting Writer Fellowship

Public Lecture and Reading

17:30 Lindisfarne Centre, St. Aidan’s College

St Aidan’s College, Durham University, and Banipal magazine of modern Arab literature are delighted to announce that the Banipal Visiting Writer Fellowship 2017 has been awarded to Ali Bader, a well-known Iraqi novelist and essayist, whose work is making an important contribution to contemporary Arabic literature. Author of thirteen works of fiction, two of which were long-listed for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, and several works of non-fiction, his best-known novels include Papa Sartre and The Tobacco KeeperRunning after the WolvesKings of Sand and The Sinful Woman, and a number have won awards.  Born in Baghdad, where he studied western philosophy and French literature, Ali Bader now lives in Brussels.

St Aidan’s College, Durham University, and Banipal magazine of modern Arab literature, with the support of the British Council, announced in October 2016 the establishment of an annual writing fellowship for a published author writing in Arabic, based each year at St Aidan’s College. The Banipal Visiting Writer Fellowship is a three-month residency.

Ali Bader arrived in Durham to start his writing residency on 23 January and will give a public lecture and reading on February 28th at 5.30pm in the Lindisfarne Centre, St. Aidan’s College. Places are limited and expressions of interest strong, so please email ( to book. Over the course of the three months Ali Bader will have the opportunity of engaging in monthly literary activity with writers and readers in Durham, the North East of England, and London, in addition to pursuing his work-in-progress.

For full details, please see the attached poster and press release.


MEMSA Seminar

Dominic Birch: The Construction of (Early Modern) Social Reality

18:00, World Heritage Centre

Tea and biscuits from 17.40. All welcome

Click here for more information.


Language Café

18:00-20:00, Students’ Union, Dunelm House

The MLaC Language Café will take place on 28 February 2017 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 or the attached poster. For more information, please contact Christopher Da Silva ( or Laura Wichmann (


Wednesday 1st March

WIPS – Curriculum Review

12:00-13:00, ER152


Temporal and Spatial Scales: Scale in Ecological Systems, Past and Present – seminar series

12:00-14:00, Kenworthy Hall, St Mary’s College

Seminar 6

March 1st 2017 – informal discussion / presentation forum.

Topic[s] to be confirmed.

All are welcome. Attendance should be confirmed with

Click here for more information.


Uncovering Policy Legacy: An Ethnographic Account of a Secondary School’s Commitment to Creativity

13:00-14:00, ED134, School of Education

Pauline Moger and Professor Carl Bagley are from the School of Education, Durham University. Everyone is welcome to attend and booking is not required.

To-date qualitative research in the field of policy enactment has tended to focus on investigating existing national policy discourse and the ways in which this discourse is creatively reconstituted in school-based contexts of practice. The focus of our seminar presentation is to reveal how ethnographic research uncovered the ways in which a school-based commitment to a specific policy – in this case creativity – is sustained and has a legacy even after national policy discourse and priorities have changed. Pauline and Carl will primarily discuss the legacy of policy at a school-based level and illuminate the social actions undertaken by teachers as they established, nurtured and protected their institutional and professional investment in and commitment towards creativity.

Contact for more information about this event.

Click here for more information.


Resilience through Change: The Politics of Indigeneity in Contemporary Bolivia

17:30-19:00, Lindisfarne Centre, St Aidan’s College

St Aidan’s College Resilience Forum
Peter Baker is currently a Lecturer in Hispanic Studies in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures. He will explore the notion of resilience drawing from his research into contemporary political activism among indigenous groups in Bolivia.

Resilience’ appears to be an increasingly significant concept throughout a world in crisis. In each of our daily lives ‘resilience’ can seem a necessary priority, from survival to notions of success.

Please contact to register your attendance
(to assist with catering numbers) or simply turn up on the day.

Light refreshments and drinks will be provided.

Contact for more information about this event

Click here for more information.


Thursday 2nd March

Agamben Reading Group

17:00, A56

The Use of Bodies is possibly Agamben’s master work, concluding his famous Homo Sacer series. Moving from early Greek philosophy to the present, from Plato and Aristotle, through Paul and the Church Fathers, scholasticism, Leibniz and Spinoza, to Heidegger, Debord and Foucault, the book asks the following questions: What are bodies? What is at stake philosophically in the exploitation of our own bodies and those of others? How are bodies affected by our habits, our care, our mastery of techniques? How might thought about human potentiality and life be reinvigorated by a new conception of bodies and their uses? Because Agamben’s thought ranges so widely, the group aims to bring together colleagues and postgraduates from MLAC and other departments to collectively read this fascinating and complex text.

The reading for 2 March is Part III, Chapters 1 to 4.

Contact for more information about this event.


The art of cruising art in John Wieners’ The Hotel Wentley Poems

18:00-19:00, Seminar Room, Hallgarth House, Dr Barry Shiels

Contact for more information about this event.

Click here for more information.


Human Scale: Time on a Human Scale Public Lecture series – The Idea of Time in the Nineteenth-Century Iberian World

18:15-19:15, PG20, Pemberton Lecture Rooms, Palace Green

Javier Fernandez Sebastien (University of the Basque Country)

The aim of Professor Fernández-Sebastián’s talk is to survey the uses of the concept of crisis applied to the political-social sphere, especially to historiography, in the first theories of historical crises in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Analysis of the vocabularies of crisis and its gradual expansion might help us to gain some insight into how ideas of crisis were diffused in European culture, particularly Iberian culture. The analysis also suggests some wider reasons for the extraordinary success of the idea of crisis as a category in historical and social sciences over the past two centuries.

Javier Fernández-Sebastián is a professor of History of Political Thought at the Universidad del País Vasco (Bilbao, Spain). He has published extensively on modern intellectual and conceptual history, in particular focused on Spain and the Ibero-American world. He has recently published the article “A World in the Making: Discovering the Future in the Hispanic World” (Contributions to the History of Concepts 11(2) 2016) and he co-edited, with W. Steinmetz and M. Freeden, the volume Conceptual History in the European Space (Berghahn, 2017, forthcoming).

Click here for more information.


Friday 3rd March

Kaminari UK, Taiko Drummers

12:45, Lafacdio Hearn Cultural Centre, Teikyo University

A special one-day event to promote Japanese language and its culture will take place on Friday 3rd March, supported by the Oriental Museum and the Japan Foundation London. We will be hosting pupils from 3 local schools in the North East.

The talk and the workshop on Taiko (Japanese drums), followed by a performance is open to the public and to University staff and students. It will start from 12:45pm at the Lafcadio Hearn Cultural Centre (Teikyo University in Durham) and last about an hour. Please come along if you are interested. You would be very welcome to join us.

Any enquiries should come to Ritsuko Koso-Kirk (


Rationality and Religion

19:00-21:30, Physics Dept, Ogden Centre W, Durham University, South Road, DH1 3LE, The Bishop of Durham; Professor Stewart Clark; Professor Tom McLeish

Contact for more information about this event.

Click here for more information.


Classical Ensemble Spring Concert

19:30-21:00, Hild Bede Chapel

Join the Classical Ensemble for their second concert of the year.

Contact for more information about this event.

Click here for more information.


Saturday 4th March

Aldborough the Roman town of Isurium Brigantum: recent work.

14:30-15:30, Elvet Riverside Room 140

Professor Martin Millett, Laurence Professor of Classical Archaeology from the University of Cambridge, will be presenting recent archaeological research conducted at Roman Aldborough to the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland in this public lecture.

Aldborough, the Roman town of Isurium Brigantum was one of the key
administrative centres for the Roman north – capital of the civitas of
the Brigantes. After important excavations in the 19th century there was little further research on the site, partly because it lies largely
beneath a village. Since 2009 a team from Cambridge has been undertaking
a survey of the site which has revealed important new information about
the nature and development of the town. This lecture will present that
work and plans for future research.

Everyone Welcome!

Contact for more information about this even

Click here for more information.


Orchestral Society

19:30-22:00, Elvet Methodist Church

Save the date for the Orchestral Society’s 2nd term concert featuring both the Symphony and Chamber Orchestra.

Contact for more information about this event.





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