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MLAC EVENTS BULLETIN: 6th-12th November

Monday 6th November

IAS Fellow’s Seminar – The Future (and) Value of Ethnography for Education: thinking forward and looking back?

13:00-14:00, IAS Seminar Room, Palace Green, Professor Dennis Beach (University of Gothenburg)

Recently, when writing in the new international handbook of ethnography and education, Mats Trondman, Paul Willis and Anna Lund recalled a 1907 debate in Paris on the possibilities of ethnography for social theorising. René Worms was one of the first speakers. He described ethnography as a method for describing ‘primitive societies’. Emile Durkheim followed Worms. He said that ethnography need not only be descriptive, but can provide a sound basis for analysing cultures, cultural processes and their past development. Furthermore he added, as all human societies have their version of civilization, ethnography is applicable to any of them, not only so-called primitive ones. Two points of view on ethnography are immediately obvious.

That of a systematic documentation and scientific analysis of a culture or cultural phenomena and that of an objectifying method for describing a more primitive folk. They have been extensively aired by supporters of the approach and its critics alike and were discussed in Nordic empirical classroom research in the 1970s and 1980s, as recounted by Karen Borgnakke in her various writings on field research and educational process analysis there. In this seminar Professor Beach will present the development of ethnography of education from the debate between Worms and Durkheim onwards, in Europe, the Uk, the Nordic traditions, the USA and more globally.

The presentation will consider the so-called golden age period of ethnography of education, the policy turn, and the new era of the proliferation of methodologies, and aims to set a foundation for a discussion of the possibilities and value of ethnography in education research for the future, when thinking forward and looking back.

Places are limited at these lunchtime seminars and so any academic colleagues interested in attending, should contact the Institute in advance to reserve a place.

Contact for more information about this event.


Public Talk: ‘The Charter of the Forest 1217: Its Origins and Implementation, 1170 to 1235’.

18:00-19:30, Prior’s Hall, The College, Durham Cathedra, Professor Guy Standing and Dr Cherry Leonardi

The Charter of the Forest: Contexts and Conversations

To mark the 800th anniversary of the Charter of the Forest, the charter that gave Magna Carta its name, Durham Cathedral and Palace Green Library will host a series of talks that explore the historical meaning and relevance of the charter today. The talks will address a range of issues that are at once historical and contemporary: the depletion of the commons and conflicts about natural resources; ideas and practices of citizenship; the relationship between landscape, memory, and identity.

This talk will be given by Professor Guy Standing, a founding member of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), and Dr Cherry Leonardi, Department of History, Durham University.

This event is free. The talk will begin at 18:30, with tea and coffee served from 18:00.


Tuesday 7th November

DUCCAH seminars: ‘Parties and patronage in Kenyan elections’

17:15, Seminar Room 1, Department of History, Dr Justin Willis (Durham University)


IAS Fellow’s Public Lecture – Music, Health and Wellbeing

17:30-18:30, Birley Room, Hatfield College, Professor William Thompson (Macquarie University, Australia)

Throughout history and in all known human cultures, music has been used to promote health and wellbeing. Until recently, however, there has virtually no scientific research, let alone understanding, of the mechanisms by which music can have therapeutic health benefits. In this talk, Professor Thompson will review current uses of music as a treatment for neurological disorders that often affect the elderly: Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and dementia. He will argue that music can be understood as a combination therapy that interacts with neurological disorders on multiple levels of function, allowing patients to circumvent their impairments, affecting neurochemical systems and stimulating processes of brain plasticity that can lead to recovery of function.

Contact for more information about this event.


MLaC Language Café

18:00-20:00, Student’s Union

The first MLaC Language Café will take place on Tuesday 7th of November 2017 from 6.00 to 8.00pm in the Students’ Union, Elvet Riverside. Everybody is welcome to attend – students as well as people from the wider community – who want to practise a foreign language informally. Members from several languages will be present. See the attached poster



Walpole, Catholicism, and the Visual Arts

18:15-19:15, ER 141, Clare Haynes (University of East Anglia)

Discover how Horace Walpole brought Catholic culture back into fashion in Britain, at this lecture in our series Horace Walpole and his Legacies. Join the conversation via #WalpoleLegacies.

Walpole spent a great deal of his life engaging with Catholic culture in one way or another: collecting, and writing admiringly about, Catholic art; using Gothic ornament so extensively at Strawberry Hill and in his friendship with Roman Catholics, such as the Duchess of Norfolk. And yet, Walpole was very clearly not a crypto-Catholic. He sounded his antipathy to the church and its teachings frequently, and often stridently.

His position may therefore seem paradoxical, perhaps even perverse, but it was not. Focusing on his writings about art, this paper explores Walpole’s attitudes towards the past, and particularly the Reformation. It proposes that one of the central concerns of Walpole’s scholarship was to encourage the re-naturalization of art in post-Reformation Britain.

Image credit: Sassoferrato (1609-1689), Madonna & Child, Hermitage.

Contact for more information about this event.


Wednesday 8th November

Work in Progress Seminar: Dr William Schaefer and Dr Adam Talib – New Approaches to Photography and Poetry

12:00-13:00, ER 153, Elvet Riverside

William Schaefer: Circulatory Environments, Circulatory Histories, and Photographic Ecologies

Adam Talib: ‘Last Night I Dreamt that Somebody Loved me’: The frustrated narrative of an anonymous Ottoman-era Arabic love poem

Contact for more information about this event.


Lunchtime Concert: National Saxophone Day

13:15-13:45, Concert Room, Music Department

A concert to celebrate National Saxophone Day. Laura Buckingham (president of Durham University Big Band) will be performing alongside a Saxophone Quartet. The concert is free of charge.

Contact for more information about this event.


Print and the Reformation: a drama in three acts

17:30, Palace Green Library Learning Centre, Professor Andrew Pettegree (University of St Andrews)

11th Annual History of the Book Lecture 2017, jointly hosted by the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies and the Department of History, Durham University, to be followed by a drinks reception in the Palace Green Library Cafe.

This event is free to attend and open to all, however, booking is essential (click here to book). If you wish to book for the lecture only, please skip the questions about catering.

Abstract: Throughout the history of printing, questions of design have been crucial to the development of the book industry. This is especially the case with the development of the title-page, the most crucial design feature for which there was no obvious model inherited from the manuscript book world. The Reformation both revolutionized the market for books and stimulated crucial innovations in the design and selling of books. This began in Wittenberg, where the partnership of Martin Luther and Lucas Cranach played a critical role in shaping the Reformation pamphlet. In lands more hostile to the Reformation the design task was more complex, since design features intended to facilitate identification could place the seller or owner in deadly danger. The paper concludes with an examination of the market for devotional literature in the Dutch Republic, the home to Europe’s most buoyant centre of book production.

Andrew Pettegree is Professor of Modern History at the University of St Andrews and Director of the Universal Short Title Catalogue. He is the author of over a dozen books in the fields of Reformation history and the history of communication including Reformation and the Culture of Persuasion (Cambridge University Press, 2005), The Book in the Renaissance (Yale University Press, 2010) and The Invention of News (Yale University Press, 2014). His most recent book, Brand Luther: 1517, Print and the Making of the Reformation (Penguin USA) was published in October 2015. His new projects include a study of the book culture of the Dutch Golden Age for Yale University Press and ‘Preserving the World’s Rarest Books’, a collaborative project with libraries funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Further information can be found here.

Contact for more information about this event.


Writing at the End of Capitalism: The Politics of Reconnection in the Contemporary London Novel

16:30-18:00, Seminar Room, Hallgarth House, Grant Hamilton (Chinese University of Honk Kong)

A staff and postgraduate research seminar exploring capitalism and contemporary fiction.

Grant Hamilton is Associate Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His interests lie in twentieth century world literature (especially anglophone African literature); literary theory (especially postcolonialism, poststructuralism, and postmodernism); philosophy and literature (especially the work of Gilles Deleuze).

His most recent book was The World of Failing Machines: Speculative Realism and Literature (2016).

Contact for more information about this event.




Later this term


Tuesday 28th November

History of Innovation in the Humanities OWRI seminar series: Bakhtin and the Institutionalisation of Knowledge in the Russian Humanities 

16:00, A29, Elvet Riverside, Dr Dušan Radunović

The event is organised as part of the AHRC-funded Cross-Language Dynamics programme of research.

The paper considers how Mikhail Bakhtin’s early ideas were affected by the processes of institutionalization and professionalization of research in the Russian humanities during the 1910s and 1920s. The customary view of Bakhtin’s formative intellectual years (1919-1927) stipulates that the corpus of his chief conceptual advances in that period, such as answerability, authorship and form, took shape independently from the dominant currents of early-Soviet literary and art scholarship: Russian formalism, the Moscow school of phenomenological aesthetics and/or Marxism-inspired sociological poetics. By taking Bakhtin’s 1924 discussion of form as a case study, this paper demonstrates that despite his isolated status in the early-Soviet academic network, all key aspects of his scholarly pursuits were either decisively influenced by the official network of knowledge production or emulated its collaborative mode of work. This testifies to the pervading impact of the transformation of research in the humanities from individual effort to professional practice even in semi-official groupings and circles, which took place between the late imperial and early Soviet periods.

For further detail on the above series contact:



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