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Durham University

Hatfield College

Research Events at Hatfield

Details of research events at Hatfield College will be posted here.


Michaelmas Term 2016 - MCR Narrative Conversazione

28th November 2016, 19:30 to 21:30, Birley Room, Rectory Building, Hatfield College

In a casual, generalist setting amongst peers, the termly conversazioni provide the opportunity to hear about Hatfielders research in Social Sciences, Science, the Arts and Humanities. All welcome!

Language-as-text’ and ‘writing culture’, Mr Anthony Rizk (Durham University)
The study of narratives, in the form of text, has long been one of the many tools anthropologists use. This has served a dual purpose. On one hand, anthropologists have used texts to discern subjective and symbolic meanings. On the other, anthropologists themselves ‘textualise’ cultures through producing ethnographies. Since the 1980s, both of these uses have come under scrutiny and sharply changed the discipline’s use of text. To complicate what we ‘mean’ by narratives, I will present key cognitive and textual critiques—as developed by anthropologists—to understand ‘language-as-text’ and ‘writing culture’ in anthropology.

The Centre for Narrative Gravity: Narrative and the Philosophy of Selfhood after Dennett, Dr Richard Walsh (The University of York)
When Daniel Dennett coined the phrase ‘centre of narrative gravity’ in the course of his deflationary account of selfhood, he brought together a metaphor from the domain of physics and some version of the concept of narrative in a way that has proved suggestive, or provocative, in part because neither component is very clearly theorized. Reading Dennett retrospectively, through the prism of several responses to the idea (direct and indirect, from philosophical and psychological perspectives), I propose to press a little harder upon the questions posed by the underspecification of Dennett’s idea. I am interested in the force of the ‘centre of gravity’ metaphor as applied to selfhood and in the sense in which narrative’s role can be understood in relation to that metaphor. Ultimately, however, I am less concerned with the adequacy of Dennett’s phrase to the range of things we might want the notion of ‘self’ to mean, than with the possible implications for the concept of narrative itself. Narrative already had some currency as a way of conceptualizing selfhood before Dennett got hold of it, but my claim is that his specific formulation, and the responses it has prompted, invite theoretical reflections upon narrative that go beyond Dennett’s own premises, and even beyond some of the assumptions that Dennett and his critics share.

Senescence: The Key to curing Ageing? Dr Matthew Holmes (Durham University)
By 2030, the percentage of the population aged 70 or more will have doubled, posing all kinds of challenges to society. Our research group are leading the charge to challenge the established narrative and have ageing recognised and treated as a disease, with innovative research and thought provoking data.

‘There is a charge for the eyeing of my scars’: Performance in the Poetry of Sylvia Plath and the Price of the Ticket, Mister Roop Majumdar (Durham University)
A glimpse of the theatrical in the poetry of Sylvia Plath is not without invitation. Playing the victim, a child, and a ‘White Godiva’, amongst various further roles, Plath’s schizoid ‘I’ is split into an ensemble cast of the danse macabre. What price must the spectator pay?

Contact hatfield.mcracademic@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.