We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

St Cuthbert's Society

Lectures & Symposia

St Cuthbert's Society is proud to sponsor lectures and organise symposia throughout the year on a wide range of topics. They are open to all, regardless of faculty or degree level, as an opportunity for members of the Cuth's community to learn more about the research that goes on within it.

Annual Fellows' Lecture 2018

'Islamophobia and the Struggle for Recognition', Professor Tariq Modood, University of Bristol

Elvet Riverside 201, 18:00, Friday 16th November


The Runnymede Trust (London) launched the public career of the concept of Islamophobia in 1997. It was too located in the field of religious tolerance and pluralism and I pioneered an alternative understanding of Islamophobia that defines it as anti-Muslim racism in the context of multicultural citizenship. I am delighted that this is emerging as the dominant interpretation of Islamophobia, (having been accepted some years ago by UNESCO and recently by the Runnymede Trust itself). And more generally that the concept is establishing itself in social science and public discourse alike. Yet I have some misgivings by the direction that some Islamophobia/Muslim studies are taking. My approach sees racialised ethno-religious group identity as having an ‘inside’ but in much of social science it is understood as something that is ‘constructed from the outside’, namely that it is an ascribed identity, constructed as a form of ‘Othering’. I think that both these aspects of groupness have a real world existence and political significance, and cannot be reduced to each other, but a lot of social studies is focused on ‘othering’ alone. I challenge this latter orientation by arguing that being a Muslim is an identity that is capable of being ‘recognised’ and so necessarily has a dimension of group inter-subjectivity. I make a multiculturalist plea for studying Islamophobia (and groups negatively perceived from the outside, generally) within a normative framework which priorities groups fighting outsider perceptions by boosting insider identifications (‘the struggle for recognition’).

This is a free public lecture and open to all.

Tariq Modood is Professor of Sociology, Politics and Public Policy and the founding Director of the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship at the University of Bristol and the co-founder of the international journal, Ethnicities. He has held over 40 grants and consultancies, has over 35 (co-)authored and (co-)edited books and reports and over 200 articles and chapters. He was a Robert Schuman Fellow at the European University Institute for part of 2013-15, a ‘Thinker in Residence’ at the Royal Academy of Flanders, Brussels in 2017.

He is highly committed to public engagement. His work is frequently cited by policy-makers and practitioners and on several occasions has influenced policy. His impact case study, ‘Influencing law, policy and public discourse on the accommodation of Muslims in Britain’ was one of three which collectively were ranked as 3rd in the UK by the Sociology 2013 REF.

He was awarded a MBE for services to social sciences and ethnic relations in 2001, was made a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2004 and elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2017. He served on the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, the National Equality Panel, and the Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life.

His latest books include Multiculturalism: A Civic Idea (2nd ed; 2013); and as co-editor Multiculturalism Rethought (2015), Multiculturalism and Interculturalism: Debating the Dividing Lines (2016) and The Problem of Religious Diversity: European Problems, Asian Challenges (2017). His website is

Islamophobia and the Struggle for Recognition

Islamophobia and the Struggle for Recognition

Views: 171

In this talk, Prof.Tariq Modood examines the concept of Islamophobia and its use in public discourse and social science, and how it raises important questions concerning multiculturalism, identity and racism.

IAS Fellow's Lecture

'Rethinking Commensality: The Sensory Politics of Eating Together in Contemporary Times', Professor David Sutton (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale)

Dining Hall, St Cuthbert's Society, 18:15 to 19:15, 13th November 2018


In this talk, Professor David Sutton will explore the venerable topic of commensality, or eating at shared table, and suggests that it needs a reconsideration. Drawing on images from popular culture as well as his own research in Greece, Professor Sutton will argue for the neglected importance of commensality in understanding its relationship to creating sociability and its political potential in contemporary, precarious times. How does cooking and eating together become a political act that challenges some of the key aspects of neoliberal times? By looking at the “Social Kitchen” movement in Greece, he will show some of the ways that sharing food becomes both a symbol and a practice representing resistance to contemporary alienation.

This lecture is free and open to all.

Directions to Dining Hall, St Cuthbert's Society

Map - St Cuthbert's Society is denoted as building No. 16

Past events:

Annual Fellows' Lecture

Professor Anya Hurlbert on 'Light and Colour in Life and Art'

6pm, Wednesday 1st November 2017, Elvet Riverside 201

Light shapes human behaviour, giving rise to conscious perception and unconscious biological rhythms. We both see and feel variations in light, constructing colours in our minds from the light reflected by objects, and adapting our moods to changes in the environmental illumination. Why are strawberries red even when they reflect blue light? What does it mean to see red? Does blue light make us more alert? Why do different people see colours differently? Was Monet unusually “colour-inconstant”? In this talk, Professor Anya Hurlbert of the Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University explored the effects of light and colour on seeing and feeling, in the natural world and in art, and examined the challenges and opportunities afforded by new lighting technologies, for human perception and performance.

St Cuthbert’s Society Annual Fellows’ Lecture: ‘Light and Colour in Life and Art'

St Cuthbert’s Society Annual Fellows’ Lecture: ‘Light and Colour in Life and Art'

Views: 156

In this lecture, Professor Anya Hurlbert of the Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University, explores the effects of light and colour on seeing and feeling, in the natural world and in art. She explores the challenges and opportunities afforded by new lighting technologies for human perception and performance.

Annual Fellows' Lecture

The Rt Hon the Lord Falconer of Thoroton on 'The Future of Politics'

Friday 11th November 2016

On Friday 11th November, we were delighted to welcome Lord Falconer - Labour peer and Lord Chancellor in Tony Blair’s government - to Durham to deliver the Annual Fellows’ Lecture. Lord Falconer chose as the topic of his lecture, ‘The Future of Politics’, and presented a clear, methodical, and insightful analysis of the current decisions faced by the UK in light of the EU Referendum. The public lecture was well attended from people from all across County Durham, including sixth-form pupils from local schools, the Mayor and Mayoress of Durham, the Chief Constable of Durham Police Mike Barton, along with our own students and SCR members.

St Cuthbert's Society's Annual Fellows' Lecture: 'The Future of Politics'

St Cuthbert's Society's Annual Fellows' Lecture: 'The Future of Politics'

Views: 121

The Rt Hon Lord Falconer of Thoroton PC QC, former Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs presented the Annual Fellows’ Lecture of Durham University's St Cuthbert’s Society. Lord Falconer had a distinguished career as a barrister before joining Tony Blair's government in 1997. He was shadow Justice Secretary in Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet, but resigned after the EU Referendum. The lecture examines the future of British politics following the referendum result.

Annual Fellows’ Lecture

Prof Sir Arnold Wolfendale on ‘Art and Science’

Wednesday 21st October, 2015

Sir Arnold gave a memorable masterclass on interdisciplinarity in his richly illustrated lecture, delighting the audience with his engaging mixture of erudition, wit and charm. His theme was the important and productive influence of art on science, and of science on art. His illustrations included antique clocks, cartoons, scientific diagrams, and works of art, including some from his own collection. Several artist friends of Sir Arnold’s were in the audience, and one discussed a piece of his own work on a scientific theme. Philip Tattersall provided musical interludes, including Tom Lehrer’s immortal ‘Element Song’. This wonderful lecture fitted very well into our ongoing research theme of ‘Art and Science’, demonstrating beyond doubt the mutual dependence of the two.

125 Anniversary Lecture

Sarah Dunant on 'Getting Under Their Skin: History, Fiction and Art'

Tuesday 7th October, 2014

The final installment of the Cuth's 125 Anniversary lectures welcomed journalist, critic and Author, Sarah Dunant, who spoke on her inspiration and research for her novels on women in Renaissance Italy: The Birth of Venus; In the Company of the Courtesan; and Sacred Hearts. Finding herself in Florence, and wanting to instil in her daughters the beauty, culture and significance of Renaissance Italy, Sarah was struck by how little such history had been attributed to women. Thus, she began the search for a women's renaissance, hidden in the background of paintings or in forgotten manuscripts, until she was able to piece together what it was really like for the other half of the population at that time.

Sarah's lecture demonstrated the interdisciplinary approach that we encourage at Cuth's, appealing to those studying history, literature, creative writing, languages, art history (and undoubtedly more!), as well as being relevant to those interested in human rights, civil rights, feminism and storytelling.

We hope that Sarah will be able to return to Durham in the near future to work with us further.

More past events: