December 2018 Newsletter

Welcome to our December 2018 newsletter, informing you on all the events we recorded over the last month or so. It has been busy, with many topical talks and lectures. From what I can gather, the ongoing uncertainties over Brexit and the current government is affecting the universities rather unfavourably (same as all businesses) and it hasn’t been easy for us either. However, we still manage to get exciting and intellectually stimulating lectures and debates to you, so let’s start with our regulars The Royal Asiatic Society. We recorded five of their events:


Ian Gow – The Scottish Sinologist Alexander Wylie 1815-1887: Missionary, Man of Letters, Mathematician

Elguja Khintibidze and Henry Sanford – Britain-Georgia Connection through Personalities & Arts; Rustaveli and Shakespeare

Jacob Ghazarian – The Ancient Silk Road: Its enduring impact on China and renewed objectives

Moin Mir – The Prince Who Beat the Empire: How an Indian Ruler took on the might of the East India Company

Alexandra Green – Sir Stamford Raffles: Civilised Views of Java


And two from the Aristotelian Society:

Stephen Neale – Means Means Means

Rae Langton – Empathy and First Personal Imagining


2018 is the year of many anniversaries, most notably the centenary of the vote for women in the UK, and another event to help celebrate this, the politics department at Birkbeck asked Dr Mari Takayanagi, senior Parliamentary archivist, to tell us what is in the archives in the Place of Westminster:

Celebrating, Commemorating, Centenaries of Suffrage


Another anniversary is the founding of the state of Israel in 1948. The Leo Baeck Institute London, as part of their lecture series ‘Seeing Jews in Art: Networks, Fantasies and Dreams’ had Dr Ruth Oren (University of Haifa) look at photographs from before, during and after the birth of the state of Israel:

Ruth Oren – ‘Coming back to History’ –The Jewish Image in Landscape Photographs of ‘Eretz-Israel’, 1898-1961


Ten years before then, in 1938, the attacks and destruction of synagogues and Jewish businesses in Germany, ‘Kristallnacht’, gave rise to the ‘Kindertransporte’- Jewish children from Austria and Germany being evacuated to Britain. This event is reviewed by historians in:

1938 in Retrospect


The controversies surrounding these events and issues are ever present, as this event from the Pears Institute (Birkbeck) shows:

Challenging Denial: from Slavery to the Holocaust


Another refugee from Nazi Germany was the Warburg Institute, founded by Aby Warburg (1866–1929) in Hamburg, which settled in London in 1933/34. From the Warburg we have three talks:

Reflections on Mantegna and Bellini

Mnemonic Waves – Postgraduate Symposium

Carlo Ginzburg – Unintended Convergences: Ernesto de Martino and Aby Warburg


The annual Physics Christmas lecture from the Physics Department at Royal Holloway looked at crystals and crystallography:

Moreton Moore – Beauty in Science


From the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP), one event:

Antonia Birnbaum – Radical Equality: The Material Reason of Emancipation


The annual David Vilaseca lecture at Royal Holloway was given this year by Professor Catherine Grant (known to many

as not only an excellent film Studies academic, but also the person who brings youfilmstudiesforfree):

Catherine Grant – Screen studies as device?: Working through the video essay


And so we move on to the issue of technology and the Humanities – Professor Marina Warner and guests look at the influence of technology and literature:

Words on the Move 3 – Oh Lord! Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood


Technology and Politics are in the foreground here:

Alan Finlayson – The Changing Rhetorical Culture of British Politics: From Parliament and PEBs to Twitter and Youtube


And moving on to all the political consequences of the new technologies, as well as populist policies and movements are discussed here:

Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration and the Future of White Majorities


As well as the debate around Human Rights:

Are Human Rights Neoliberal?


And finally, an event long overdue – the Institute for Historical Research, very well aware how important history is to Black and Asian Britons, yet very Black and Asian students chose to study it at university level, looked at the reasons for this with an extraordinarily well organised and stimulating evening in Senate House:

‘Where do we fit in?’ Black and Asian British History on the Curriculum

Ok, that’s it for this year from Backdoor Bridcasting. Wishing you all a good break and some well earned rest. We will be back in the second week of January 2019.

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All the best,

René