April 2017 Newsletter

Welcome to our April 2017 newsletter. Last month has seen a lot of changes for us; mainly still re-organising the new website and working our way through the glitches in the archive. Should you come across any problems on any of our webpages please report them so we can fix them.

March was a busy month, with a great number of interesting talks we recorded, so let’s start with our regulars: The Royal Asiatic society contributed with two talks:

Ed Weech and Nancy Charley – Exploring the RAS Collections

Roy Fischel – Sultans of Many Idioms: Kingship, Ideology, and Locality in Bijapur and Golkonda, ca. 1600

The Physics outreach team at Royal Holloway organised another taster session for potential Physics students, this time on Astro-Physics:

Stewart Boogert – Astronomy: a journey from amateur to (more) professional

The Politics department at Birkbeck had invited the MP Margaret Hodge (or to be absolutely correct, the Rt Hon Dame Margaret Hodge MP) to speak about her book ‘Called to Account’ about the Public Accounts committee at the House of Commons. Unfortunately, this was the day of the Westminster attack and she found herself locked down in the palace of Westminster, so the talk went ahead without her, with the former MP Tony Wright, Times journalist Philip Collins and UCL’s Lucy Barnes, very competently discussing her book in her absence:

Who Should Be Called to Account? – Margaret Hodge in debate with Philip Collins and Lucy Barnes

Some of you might remember the two conferences at Birkbeck on Pain in 2011 and 2012, by the ‘Birkbeck Pain Project’, led by Professor Joanna Bourke. This project has expanded and continued over the last few years, now under the new name of ‘The Birkbeck Trauma Project’ in order to incorporate psychological pain. Whereas you can access all the talks, past and present, here, we recorded the three keynotes of the recent ‘Gender and Pain in Modern History’ conference at Birkbeck. All three astonishing and extremely informative:

Wendy Kline – Psychedelic Birth: The Countercultural Politics of Pain

Lisa Smith – Imagining the Hidden: Inexpressible Suffering in the Eighteenth Century

Keith Wailoo – Pain with a ‘Psychogenic Overlay’: The Gendered Politics of Experience and Disability in US Society

The Birkbeck Institute for Social Research has held another very topical event, this time on the refugee crisis enveloping Europe and the rest of the world with this contribution:

Vicki Squire – Crossing the Mediterranean Sea by Boat: Human Dignity and Biophysical Violence

Also at Birkbeck, the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism had this lecture recorded:

Shaul Bassi – The Ghetto Of Venice: Past, Present, Future

The Birkbeck Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies (CILAVS) held an event to accompany Freddy Dewe Mathews’ exhibition ‘El Encanto’ at the Peltz Gallery entitled ‘Landscapes of Abandonment’ which considers the histories of the Putumayo region in Colombia and the challenges of a critical artistic practice that interrogates the legacies of exploitative activities on abandoned places:

‘Landscapes of Abandonment’ Roundtable

For those of you who have been following the Leo Baeck Institute lecture series ‘The Legacy of the Left and Israel: 1967-2017’, you might have noticed that Jan Gerber’s talk did not appear – he was unwell and we wish him a speedy recovery. However, the series continued with the concluding roundtable:

The Legacy of the Left and Israel: 1967-2017 – Roundtable Discussion

with Nick Cohen (The Observer and The Spectator), Professor David Feldman (Birkbeck University of London), Professor Christina Späti (University of Fribourg, Switzerland) and Dr Peter Ullrich.

There was also the annual Leo Baeck lecture, this year with the author Edmund deWaal, speaking about his best-selling novel ‘The Hare with the Amber Eyes’:

Edmund de Waal – On the Eve of Departure: Art and Exile

And a further contribution from the Leo Baeck Institute was a memorial event for the Institute’s founder and first director, Arno Paucker. He was a wonderful, gentle and warm-hearted man who will be greatly missed:

Arno Paucker – Scholar and Friend

The Holocaust Research Centre at Royal Holloway has been elevated to ‘The Holocaust Research Institute’ and has taken on new members of staff, and one of them, Dr Simone Gigliotti, has presented her research into the immediate aftermath of the displaced persons and former concentration camp inmates with this talk:

Simone Gigliotti – “The real places!, the real people!, and the real story!”: Writing history with a camera in Meyer Levin’s The Illegals

Also, the Institute organised a conference to celebrate Prof David Cesarani’s work through presenting and debating leading and new research in Holocaust history and memory; Zionism; anti-Semitism as an intellectual tradition and political movement; and the history of Anglo-Jewry. We recorded the three keynotes addresses:

David Feldman – Zionism and the Labour Party – The Last 100 Years

Rob Rozett – Synthesis as Catalyst: Some Comments on David Cesarani and His Writings

Todd Endelman – Fighting Antisemitism with Numbers in Early-Twentieth-Century Britain

Dr Louise Lauchbury at the Institute of Modern Languages Research at the School of Advanced Study, University of London organised a fascinating conference entitled ‘Francospheres of Resistance and Revolution’ and we recorded the panel on Louise Michel, the revolutionary from the Paris Commune:

Paul Mason – On Divine Chaos of Starry Things

Mary and Bryan Talbot on The Red Virgin in conversation with Charles Forsdick

The lecture series ‘Public Lectures on Philosophy, Politics and the Arts’ from the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP) at Kingston concluded with these three talks:

Éric Alliez – Capital’s Art of War

Peter Hallward – Mass Sovereignty and the Eclipse of Representation

Willow Verkerk – Friendship, Love and Women

And now, last but not least, Howard Caygill (CRMEP, Kingston) gave a masterclass on Kafka’s work at the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities ‘Image and Accident in Kafka’s Novels’:

Howard Caygill – Image and Accident in Kafka’s Novels – Session 1 (on Amerika)

Howard Caygill – Image and Accident in Kafka’s Novels – Session 2 (on The Trial)

Howard Caygill – Image and Accident in Kafka’s Novels – Session 3 (on The Castle)

OK, that’s it for now – we are (still) busy correcting and editing mistakes on the new website – should you notice something that isn’t working, or in the wrong place (like images etc) or simply can’t find it, and of course for any booking or inquiries about recording, please email or, if you’re in the UK, phone (01865 240 009). 

All the best,


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