Author - Catherine Ellis, Blog, events, Lecture, MLAC events, News, PG events, Research Groups


Monday 13th March

Banipal Visiting Writer Fellow 2017, Ali Bader, reads from his short story ‘The Corporal’ and his new novel Liar Takes All

16:00-18:00, ER247

Iraqi author Ali Bader, the Banipal Visiting Writer Fellow 2017, will give a talk to MLaC staff and students with readings from his short story ‘The Corporal’ and his new novel Liar Takes All, in ER247, followed by an informal gathering at 6pm in A56 with drinks and nibbles.

Ali Bader is an award-winning Iraqi novelist, poet and essayist, well known as an author of philosophical fiction, whose work is making an important contribution to contemporary Arabic literature. He has published 13 novels – two now translated into English – as well as short stories, poetry and essays. He has twice been longlisted for the Arab Booker Prize (IPAF). Ali Bader was born in Baghdad, where he studied western philosophy and French literature, and now lives in Brussels. He is the holder of the 1st Banipal Visiting Writer Fellowship, Durham, Jan–April 2017.


Please click here or email for more information.


Tuesday 14th March

Musicon Concert Series

13:15-14:15, Department of Music, Palace Green

Festival of East Asian Music

Concert 2
Two Faces of Nature
Kiku Day and Hibiki Ichikawa
This concert presents two highly contrasting and utterly captivating aspects of Japanese music.

Contact for more information about this event.
Click here for more information.


Persian New Year

16:45-18:00, ER143

Persian language students celebrate Persian New Year (Nowruz) on Tuesday 14th March with Persian music, poetry reading in Persian and English, and short talks about Nowruz in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan.

All are very welcome.


Colonial Iconoclash: Mimetic rivalry, collecting networks in Britain and India

18:00-20:00, Lecture Room 009, Elvet Hill House

A lecture by Dr Natasha Eaton, Reader in the History of Art at UCL on the collecting ‘ethic’ of three colonial museums during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

This paper explores the contested agency of Mughal and Hindu art objects in late eighteenth and early nineteenth–century India and London by taking as its focus the intense ideological and market competition between the English East India Company and the evangelical London Missionary Society (LMS).

It investigates the collecting ‘ethic’ of three colonial museums – the Oriental Repository in East India House (London), The Indian Museum, Calcutta and the LMS Museum (London).

Working with a limited number of powerful collectors and sites in India, this period saw the development for the first time of a global network in the trade for both Mughal and Hindu art and opened up debates about comparative artistic hierarchies. In spite of the differences in collecting practices, all three museums would come to be termed jadhu ghurs – wonder houses – a borderline status which this paper seeks to explore.

This lecture is one of a series being held in parallel with our exhibition ‘In the Image of the Other: Visualising a British-Himalayan Town, Shimla’, on view now at the Oriental Museum.

The lecture will run for approximately 1 hour, with time for questions and answers at the end of the talk.

Free of charge, all are welcome.

Click here for more information.


Musicon Concert Series

19:30-21:30, Town Hall, Market Place Durham

Festival of East Asian Music
Concert 3

A String Conversation
Lingling Yu and Gan Guo.
Lingling Yu is considered to be one of the greatest virtuosi on the Chinese pipa (lute). She is joined in this concert by Gan Guo, a master of the erhu (two-stringed fiddle).

Contact for more information about this event.

Click here for more information.


Wednesday 15th March

Work in Progress Seminar

12:00-13:00, ER152

Transnationalism Research Group: What Next? – Zoë Roth and Sam Bootle.

Current Research Projects in Medieval and Early Modern Studies – Daniel Newman and Will McKenzie.


Global Citizenship at Durham – Open Workshop

14.00-15:00, IAS Meeting Room, Palace Green

This meeting/workshop is for staff and students alike and will offer a short information session (15-20 minutes) of Durham’s global citizenship developments, including the Durham Award component/Durham Global Citizenship Programme and the Matariki Global Citizenship Programme. The rest of the time will be a chance for participants to input into these processes through group work. Students from the new Global Citizenship Student Team will help facilitate. If you are available, please come along!


Introducing the National Museum of Japanese History: opportunities for research and collaboration

14:30-17:00, Lecture Room 101, Elvet Hill House, adjacent to the Oriental Museum.

All are welcome to attend a symposium marking the signing of a five year agreement for collaborative research and engagement between the National Museum of Japanese History and Durham University.

The National Museum of Japanese History is an inter-university research institute and part of the Japan’s National Institute for the Humanities. This symposium marks the signing of a five year agreement for collaborative research and engagement between the National Museum of Japanese History and Durham University.

The afternoon will include three papers demonstrating the range of ways in which Durham University academics and students might be able to benefit from this collaboration.

Dr. Hiroshi Kurushima, Director of the National Museum of Japanese History, will provide an Introduction to the National Museum of Japanese History in order to outline the activities of the museum and possibilities for collaboration

Dr. Jun-ichi Ohkubo, a senior academic at the National Museum of Japanese History will speak about Japanese men’s fashion in Ukiyo-e prints reflecting the themes of the Oriental Museum’s current exhibition, Dressed to Impress, itself created in partnership with the British Museum.

Dr. Yasushi Harada, University of Hakodate, will speak about his field of expertise in Japanese Museum Exhibition Design.

The symposium will be followed at 5pm by a reception in the Oriental Museum with an opportunity for informal discussion with all of the members of the Japanese delegation. The signing of the agreement will be marked during this reception by the performance of a ceremonial sword demonstration by the members of Durham’s Shodai Ryu dojo.

Free entry and open to all. No need to book.

Contact for more information about this event.


Thursday 16th March

OWRI Language & Identity in Post-Soviet Spaces Seminar: ‘Language Ideologies within, across and against Borders’

11:30-17:00, Russkiy Mir Centre, A29

The process of language-based border-making has historically been associated with the process of nation-building where the formula of ‘one nation – one language’ was exercised through governmental policies of monolingualism or domineering of one particular language (variant) over other ones. But linguistic ideologies have also proved to be a driving force for minorities within forcedly homogenised spaces on their way to self-identification as opposing to standardised languages, domineering discourses, or social inequalities brought by linguistic factors. In shifting contemporary contexts of post-colonial re-inventions, supranational associations and multidirectional mobility flows, language ideologies have also obtained a new shape of cross-border phenomena which consolidate communities transnationally. This seminar will bring together researchers working on post-Soviet and wider Eurasian cultural spaces to discuss their perspectives of the concept of ‘language ideologies’ and its relation to national, cultural, and social borders.

The event is organised as part of the ‘Language & Identity in Post-Soviet Spaces’ event series within the transnational strand of the ‘Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community’ research programme funded through the AHRC’s Open World Research Initiative (

Attendance is free but registration is required. If you wish to attend any or all seminar panels, please register by contacting Polina Kliuchnikova at

Click here for more information.


Ecologies and the Arts Research Group Seminar: Dr Rebecca Jarman (Leeds University) ‘The Nature of Revolution: Disasters, Citizenship and Countercultures in Bolivarian Venezuela’

17:00, A56, Elvet Riverside I

All welcome.

Contact for more information about this event.


Yoav Peled and Horit Herman PeledThe Religionization of Israeli Society 

17:00-18:30, ER157

This talk presents an examination of the growing saliency of religious personalities, religious themes, and the religious outlook in Jewish Israeli society, in order to test the argument that Israeli society is undergoing a process of religionization, as well as the counter-argument, that secular-religious relations among Jews in Israel went into crisis in the 1980s and that the society had actually secularized, in one way or another, during the 1990s. We seek to explain the causes and significance of these two processes and the seeming contradiction between them, as well as the variance in the trajectory of religionization as between different historical periods.


Saturday 18th March

IAS Scale of Nature Conference

09:00-19:00, Pemberton Rooms

Keynote Address: Professor Peter Bowler (Queen’s University, Belfast)

Amongst the paradigms current in nineteenth-century culture the Great Chain of Being frequently held pride of place, vying against Darwinian approaches in what historian of science Peter Bowler described broadly as the ‘non-Darwinian revolution’. Arming scientists with a scale of nature – a fixed hierarchical arrangement of the natural world from the lowest rudimentary forms of life to its apogee in man – the Great Chain helped Victorian Britain reassert order and control in the face of perceived threats by the inherent randomness, chance and uncertainty of Darwin’s evolutionary theory. Paradoxically, in the battle between The Great Chain and Darwin, it was the Great Chain of Being that was frequently the fittest survivor. This one-day interdisciplinary conference examines this phenomenon, exploring Britain’s understanding of the Scale of Nature by investigating the Great Chain of Being in the context of the pre-, non- and post-Darwinian as well as Darwinian evolutionary culture in the long nineteenth century. It pays particular attention to visual representations of natural hierarchies.

For more information, please contact Bennett Zon at or

Ludmilla Jordanova at

Visit the conference webpage:

Click here for more information.


Walk from Finchale Priory to Durham Cathedral


Following last year’s successful event, a short pilgrimage from Finchale Priory to Durham Cathedral on Saturday 18 March is to be hosted by the Chairman of the County Council. The walk marks the historic link between St Godric, Finchale Priory and the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain. St Godric of Finchale was one of the first British pilgrims to follow the pilgrims’ way to Santiago de Compostela. This year we will be joined at Finchale by doing St Cuthbert’s Walk from Chester le Street.

Free transport to Finchale Priory for walkers is provided from Durham County Hall (DH1 5UL) at 11.00, but pre-booking is essential, in the following link:

The length of the walk is about 4 miles (6.7 km). A certificate will be available to all who complete the walk. This certificate is recognised by the Xacobeo and will allow all those doing the Camino Inglés from A Coruña in North Spain, to receive the Compostela (that certifies that the pilgrim has done at least 100 km of the Camino).

Please share news of this event with your colleagues and contacts who might be interested in joining the walk.

For further information contact



Bowes Lecture Series to accompany ‘Only in England’ exhibition: Mark Sealy, OBE ‘A Different England’

14:30, The Bowes Museum, Mark Sealy, OBE

Mark Sealy is interested in the relationship between photography and social change, identity politics, race, and human rights. He has been director of Autograph ABP (London) since 1991 and has produced artist publications, curated exhibitions, and commissioned photographers and filmmakers worldwide, including the recent critically acclaimed project Human Rights Human Wrongs exhibition.

He has served as a photography jury member for World Press Photo, the Carmignac Gestion photojournalism award, and the Sony World Photo award. In 2015, he chaired the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation Book award. He is in high demand internationally as a speaker, and recently gained a PhD from Durham University for a thesis examining the relationship between photography and cultural violence.

More information from the Bowes Museum.

Click here for more information.


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