Birkbeck Medical Humanities reading group events in Spring term, 2016

This Spring term, the Birkbeck Medical Humanities reading group will explore the theme of medicine and care.

First session: Wednesday 17 February

Time: 3.30-5:00pm

Where: Room 112, 43 Gordon Square.

We will look at Marion Coutts’s The Iceberg: A Memoir (2015), an account of the death of her husband, Tom Lubbock. Please note that we will not be supplying copies of this book, but rather ask members to borrow or buy the book directly themselves. It is available online to buy for between £7-9, or available on Kindle for around £4.50.
Our next session will be held on Wednesday 16 March, 3.30-5pm, also in room 112, 43 Gordon Square. I will circulate details of reading nearer the time.

More information on the reading group, including past events, is available on our website.

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Call for Papers: Periodical Counter Cultures: Tradition, Conformity, and Dissent; deadline 25 January 2016

Periodical Counter Cultures: Tradition, Conformity, and Dissent 

CALL FOR PAPERS, deadline 25 January 2016

The 5th International Conference of the European Society for Periodical Research (ESPRit),

7-8 July 2016
Liverpool John Moores University, UK

From the Black Dwarf to the little magazines of the European avant-gardes, from protest literature of the industrial revolution to the samizdat publications of the Soviet Bloc, from Punch to punk, periodical publications have long been associated with a challenge to dominant and mainstream culture. For ESPRit 2016 we return to this aspect of periodical culture, exploring the counter-cultural role of periodicals with particular emphasis on comparative and methodological points of view. Proposals are invited on topics that include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

  • Periodicals as sites for the genesis and dissemination of counter-cultural ideas, programmes, and manifestos
  • The assimilation of periodical counter cultures into the tradition
  • Theoretical and methodological approaches to the periodical as counter culture and as establishment
  • The agency of periodicals at threshold moments of social, political, and cultural change
  • Illegal and underground publications
  • The interplay between established periodicals and radical newcomers
  • Change and disruption in the history of long-standing periodicals

ESPRit encourages proposals that speak both within and across local, regional and national boundaries and especially those that are able to offer a comparative perspective. We also encourage proposals that examine the full range of periodical culture, that is, all types of periodical publication, including newspapers and specialist magazines, and all aspects of the periodical as an object of study, including design and backroom production.

Please send proposals for 20-minute papers (max 250 words), panels of three or four papers, round tables, one-hour workshops or other suitable sessions, together with a short CV (max. one page), to 2016esprit@gmail.comThe deadline for proposals is 25 January 2016.

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Cañada Blanch Centre Seminar presented by Eladi Mainar, Thursday 28 January 2016

The Cañada Blanch Centre’s next seminar, War within the Spanish Church at the End of Franco’s Regime, presented by Dr. Eladi Mainar, will take place at 6pm on Thursday 28 January 2016.

When the Catholic Church began to adopt more liberal positions in the 1960s, the Franco regime had to react and did so ruthlessly. Since the Church had been one of the fundamental mainstays of the regime since the end of the Civil War, the strategy was clear: to derail the whole process of the Catholic Church’s move to a more democratic stance. The regime still had resources to stop the move to modernity in the Church, and the Franciscan Father Miguel Oltra was the right instrument to use. He was a friend of many in the Francoist authorities and even knew the Generalissimo himself. His involvement in the political and security structures of the regime was manifold. He was a close associate of the secret services and received secret reports. Oltra was thus a tool of Francoism against the new Spanish Church. His task was clear, to hinder the process of transition of the Church and its detachment from the regime. Together with other priests with the same ultra-conservative ideology, Oltra founded the Hermandad Sacerdotal Española (Spanish Sacerdotal Fraternity) and started a merciless war against the new Spanish hierarchy headed by Cardinal Tarancón.

 EMEladi Mainar completed his doctorate in History at the University of Valencia. Since 1985, he has been a teacher of Spanish history at the IES Montdúver de Xeraco School. Throughout his career he has written numerous articles and a number of books on the Spanish civil war, including L’alçament militar de juliol de 1936 a València (The Military Rising in Valencia in July 1936), first published in 1996, and most recently most recently El último cruzado español. El padre Oltra y el Franquismo. He has served as mayor for his hometown of Simat de la Valldigna in Valencia and runs a small publishing house, La Xara Edicions, which has published books since 1996 largely dedicated to historical themes. He is currently the director of the magazine L’Avenc de la Valldigna.

The event is free and open to the public. Seats will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.


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CILAVS Seminar Series talk: ‘Memory as Montage: The Visual Archive of the Spanish Civil War’, Tuesday 9 February 2016

You are warmly invited to the next Seminar Series talk organised by the Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies (CILAVS)

Professor Sebastiaan Faber (Oberlin College)

Memory as Montage:
The Visual Archive of the Spanish Civil War

Tuesday 9 February 2016, 6.00pm

Keynes Library, School of Arts
Birkbeck, University of London
London WC1H 0PD

Images were central to the story of the Spanish Civil War and continue to be central in its memory today. After all, the war in Spain was the first major armed conflict to be covered by the modern visual media, equipped with newly portable photo and film cameras. Telling this visual story was not a mere matter of shooting films and photographs, however; it was also one of cutting and pasting. The photomontage, whose use had spread rapidly since the 1920s, became a crucial tool not just for propaganda posters but in journalism as well. And yet the centrality of montage as a tool for truth-telling has not been sufficiently acknowledged. A treasure hunt through the visual archive of the Spanish Civil War yields some surprising finds that place long-standing debates about the historical memory of the conflict in a new light.

Sebastiaan Faber is Professor of Hispanic Studies at Oberlin College and visiting researcher at the Radboud University in Nijmegen. He has published widely on Spanish and Latin American literature and culture. He is the author of Exile and Cultural Hegemony: Spanish Intellectuals in Mexico, 1939-1975 (Vanderbilt, 2002) and Anglo-American Hispanists and the Spanish Civil War: Hispanophilia, Commitment, and Discipline (Palgrave, 2008), and has co-edited Contra el olvido. El exilio expañol en Estados Unidos (U de Alcalá, 2009). From 2010 till 2015 he served as the Chair of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA), whose quarterly journal The Volunteer he co-edits.

A drinks reception will follow.

All welcome, no booking is required

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British Library Doctoral Open Day: 17th & 18th Century Collections, 19 February 2016

The British Library’s Open Day for Doctoral Students interested in the 17th and 18th Century Collections is taking place on 19 February 2016.

The Doctoral Open Days are a chance for PhD students who are new to the Library to discover the British Library’s unique research materials. From newspapers to maps, datasets to manuscripts, ships’ logs to websites, the collections cover a wide range of formats and languages spanning the last 3,000 years. Doctoral Open Days are designed to explain the practicalities of using the Library and its services, plus help students navigate the physical and online collections.

Each day concentrates on a different aspect of the Library’s collections and they take an inter-disciplinary approach.  As well as hearing from their expert and friendly staff students will have the opportunity to meet researchers in all disciplines. Students are welcome to choose the day they feel is most relevant to their studies.

For details of the all Open Days and how to book please see their website. Places cost £5.00 including lunch. Numbers are limited and pre-booking is required.

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Call for Papers: Troubled Contemporary Art Practices in the Middle East, deadline 29 January 2016

Call for Papers

Troubled Contemporary Art Practices in the Middle East:  Post-colonial conflicts, Pedagogies of art history, and Precarious artistic mobilization

2 – 4  June  2016

Birkbeck University of London | University of Nicosia
The conference will be held at the University of Nicosia, Cyprus

Deadline for Abstract submissions:  29.01.2016

Confirmed Keynote speakers
Prof. Wendy Shaw, Frei Universität Berlin
Catherine David, Curator, Deputy Director Musée National d’Art Moderne at the Centre Pompidou.

Deadline for Abstracts for 20 minute presentations: 29.01.2016
To apply please send a title, 250 word abstract and a short CV/Biography note to

Academic and Organising Committee
Dr Sophie Hope, Birkbeck University of London
Dr Gabriel Koureas, Birkbeck University of London
Dr Evanthia Tselika, University of Nicosia

Administrative Assistance
Mr Ioannis Hadjipanayis, Art and Design Technical Officer, University of Nicosia

The conference will concentrate amongst other issues on:
Post-colonial Conflicts and art
Pedagogies of art history
Precarious artistic mobilisation
Shifts of centre and periphery
Development of art histories in contexts of conflict
Shifts to curatorial practices- changing field of ‘art history’ in the university context
Socially engaged art turns
Issues of labour and organization in contemporary art practices
Practice-based research
Art History and education in the Middle East- relationship to western Europe

Please refer to the full call for abstracts (PDF attachment) for more detailed information.

The cost for presenting and participating at the conference is
40 Euros (full conference fee)
30 Euros (for part time and full time students, unemployed)

There might be a possibility of some travel expenses being covered by bursaries especially for participants from the Middle East.

Find updates at:
For any queries please contact the organisers on the email addresses provided above.

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Call for papers: first international symposium on fin-de-siècle writer Ernest Dowson (1867-1900), deadline Friday 26 February 2016

Ernest Dowson (1867-1900): Poet, translator, novelist
Goldsmiths, University of London
15 April 2016

Keynote: Dr Kostas Boyiopoulos (Durham University)
Plenary: Jad Adams (Institute of English)

Proposals are welcome for short readings of original creative writing inspired by Dowsonian themes.

Please send abstracts of 300 words, with your institutional affiliation and a brief biography, to Jessica Gossling and Alice Condé at by Friday 26 February 2016.

The Department of English and Comparative Literature at Goldsmiths are pleased to announce the first international symposium on the fin-de-siècle writer Ernest Dowson (1867-1900).

Born in South London, Dowson lived and died during the last days of English Decadence. Poet, translator, and novelist, he had an affinity with the capital city’s impoverished and intellectual spaces, and engaged with international literary and artistic circles. In the 120 years since the publication of Verses, Dowson has become something of a Decadent legend, but is still considered a minor figure of the fin de siècle.

This symposium seeks to develop new perspectives on Ernest Dowson. We welcome papers on any aspect of his life and works. In particular, we are interested in submissions that address the following areas:

  • Dowson’s poetry, short fiction, drama, and co-authored novels
  • The complex critical positioning of Dowson’s writing within fin de siècle studies
  • Death, drugs and dry docking – the label ‘Decadent’, and its influence on our reading of Dowson
  • Optimism and pessimism, and other Dowsonian contradictions
  • Translation, correspondence, and rivalry in Dowson’s works
  • The viol, the violet and the vine – motifs and images in Dowson’s poetry
  • Moonbeams and maidens – Dowson’s treatment of gender and sexuality
  • Hotels, harlots and halitosis – places, spaces and bodies
  • ‘Slimy trails and holy places’ – Catholicism and ritual in Dowson’s life and work
  • Dirty talk, clean words – the relationship between his sordid lifestyle and clean poetic imagery


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Oxford Centre for Life-Writing (OCLW) Hilary Term 2016 Events

Oxford Centre for Life-Writing (OCLW)
Hilary Term 2016: Events
(all events free of charge unless otherwise stated)


Thursday 21 January (Week 1), 1-2pm, Haldane Room, Wolfson College

Life-Writing Lunch – Lucasta Miller: ‘Letitia Landon: portraiture and the slippery subject in post-Byronic literary culture’

Register via (browse ‘Products’ for ‘Oxford Centre for Life-Writing’). A buffet sandwich lunch will be provided.


Thursday 21 January (Week 1), 5:30 – 7pm, LWA (Leonard Wolfson Auditorium)

Ian Bostridge (tenor): ‘Schubert’s winter journey: an illustrated talk’


WEINREBE LECTURE SERIES: ‘Variations on Biography’

Tuesday 26 January (Week 2), 5.30-7pm, LWA

Weinrebe Lecture 1: Julian Barnes: ‘Some of my best friends are biographers’

Tuesday 2 February (Week 3), 5.30-7pm, LWA

Weinrebe Lecture 2: Marcus du Sautoy: ‘The life of primes: the biography of a mathematical idea’

Tuesday 16 February (Week 5), 5:30-7pm, LWA

Weinrebe Lecture 3: Adam Phillips: ‘Against Biography’

Monday 22 February (Week 6), 5.30-7pm, LWA

Weinrebe Lecture 4: Alexandra Harris:  ‘Tempered Lives: Weathers, Seasons, and Biography’


Saturday 13 February (Week 4), 9:30am-4:45pm, LWA

Life-Writing Workshop: on the theme of ‘Emotional Lives’

Speakers: Hermione Lee, Patrick Hayes

Tickets available to purchase at


Tuesday 8 March (Week 8), 1-2pm, Haldane Room

Life Writing Lunch: Karen Arrandale: ‘Edward J Dent – A Serpentine Life’

Register at (buffet sandwich lunch provided)


Tuesday 8 March (Week 8), 5.30-7pm, LWA

‘Writing War, Writing Lives’ – Chair: Lara Feigel, panellists: Santanu Das, Hope Wolf, Kate McLoughlin, Sue Vice, Victoria Stewart

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Birkbeck Law School Research Seminar, 20 January 2016

Birkbeck Law School Research Seminar

“Sovereignty Enisled” by Stewart Motha
(Birkbeck, University of London)

When: Wednesday 20 January 1:00-2:30pm
Where: 43 Gordon Square, Room B06

Sovereignty has defied the many obituaries that have heralded its demise or imminent end. Its resurgence might be observed among the erection of borders to limit the movement of migrants, the new nationalisms in Europe, declarations of war and emergency following terrorist attacks, and struggles for economic independence amidst externally imposed austerity measures. In each instance the underlying assumption is that sovereignty represents the possibility of being secure, independent, and autonomous. These measures repeat an archaic belief in the possibility of sovereign solitude – the sense that a sovereign subject or people are capable of being and thriving if they are enisled. The discussion will explore the conditions and implications of such sovereign pretensions. The paper will consider the UK’s expulsion of Chagos Islanders in order to shore-up the security interests of the United States in the Indian Ocean, and Australia’s excision of islands from jurisdiction and internment of refugees offshore. In each instance a sovereign exceptionalism proclaims a self-sufficiency that is undermined by the need for political and legal alibis. Should the political response on the left be based on the essential plurality of being, or another (sovereign) solitude – the sense that the other must remain, as Derrida suggested, “wholly other”?

This is a free and public seminar, part of the School of Law Research Seminar Series at Birkbeck, University of London. A light lunch will be available.

Forthcoming seminars

3 February 2016: Marco Wan (University of Hong Kong) “Feminist Literary Theory, Legal Texts: an Encounter”

9 March 2016: Yael Navaro-Yashin (University of Cambridge), “In the Land of Khidr: Cosmography Beyond Territorialization at the Turkish-Syrian Interface”

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Call for Papers: The Modern Body 1830-Present, deadline 4 March 2016

The Modern Body, 1830-Present 
3 June 2016, University of York
Hosted by the Centre for Modern Studies

Deadline for abstracts: 4 March 2016 

We use bodies to work, to express, to question and to reveal. Bodies are spaces and sites of concern, becoming central foci in art, literature, media, and every aspect of culture. We talk about bodies in relation to health, power, strength, beauty, personality. After all the body is the ultimate site of identity. We ascertain our individualism and seek to define our selfhood by delineating boundaries between bodies, and between what is personal and impersonal.

Yet the body persists as a site of tension, full of contradictions, and anxieties of personal agency and control. This is especially pertinent in the Modern period, from 1830 to present day. In a period which experienced the introduction to evolutionary biology; the industrial revolution; social and political upheaval and progress; along with numerous medical and scientific advancements, the ways we view and use the physical body have been radically questioned, with the result that the body is represented in numerous provoking ways.

Bodies can be tools of protest and resistance, of violence, or even self-defence. Of course bodies are not always singular and individual. Groups, crowds and masses of people constitute bodies, coming together. Nor are they always somatic; we have political, bureaucratic and governmental bodies; we have bodies of knowledge and bodies of work. What bodies tell us and how the body can be represented across artistic and cultural forms has and continues to be a contested point of discussion across various disciplines.

The Centre for Modern Studies invites papers across all Arts and Humanities disciplines, on the subject on the Modern Body in the period from 1830 – present.

We welcome papers on various topics including, but not limited to:

  • Mechanical bodies
  • Industry and labour
  • Mind/ body relationships
  • Bodies of work
  • Bodies of knowledge
  • Embodied discourses
  • Ethnicities and race
  • Posthumanism
  • Sexuality
  • Senses
  • Health, illness and pain
  • Bodies at war
  • Performance

Please direct any queries to and we look forward to accepting proposals. Information about registration and conference details will be circulated shortly.

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