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University College

Durham Castle Lecture Series

Durham Castle Lecture Series 2013/14 Programme Watch the Durham Castle Lecture Series Cutting Edge Lecture Series

The Durham Castle Public Lecture Series is devoted to bringing high-profile speakers to Durham who can contribute to academic and public discussion on issues of global significance. The presenters have made an outstanding contribution to their fields and we are delighted to host them at University College.

This is your chance to see, hear and learn from incredible speakers, to ask questions and think about answers. The aim is to create a vibrant atmosphere for intellectual debate on major issues.

The lectures will take place in the stunning setting of Durham Castle's Great Hall. With a maximum capacity of 250 the Great Hall provides a unique, historic location.

The Durham Castle Public Lecture series has been made possible thanks to a generous gift from Santander Universities

All of the lectures in the series are free and open to all.

Seats are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Doors will open from 7.45pm.
Lectures will begin at 8pm, with questions for the speaker at 9pm.

30 October 2013 

Dr Shereen El Feki

In cooperation with Islam, Law and Modernity (Durham Law School)

'Does the Arab Spring need a Summer of Love? Sex and Politics in a Time of Transition'

As political change sweeps the streets and squares, parliaments and presidential palaces of the Arab world, this lecture looks at upheaval a little closer to home –in the sexual lives of men and women in Egypt and across the region. Sex is entwined in religion and tradition, politics and economics, gender and generations, making it a powerful lens for examining the region's complex social landscape. With a look back at changing sexual attitudes in the Middle East, and West, this lecture examines what has been driving a shift towards today’s anxieties in the Arab region, and how this plays out in everyday lives: from the taboo of premarital sex to trouble in the conjugal bed; from sexed-up writing to censored movies; from debates over sexual education and abortion to the incendiary topic of unwed motherhood; from the booming business of sex work to the struggles of those who break the heterosexual mould.

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20 November 2013

Sir Thomas Allen

 World-renowned Baritone

Chancellor of Durham University

A future for Classical Music: Sir Thomas Allen in Conversation with Professor Jeremy Dibble.”

World famous singer and Chancellor of Durham University, Sir Thomas Allen, discusses his vision for the future of opera, singing and classical music in general with Jeremy Dibble, Professor in the Department of Music. Frequently outspoken, Sir Thomas received widespread coverage for his keynote address at the 2002 Royal Philharmonic Society Awards when he criticised the music industry for turning a noble profession into a "money-grabbing, PR-led" exercise. Over ten years on, does he still agree?

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04 December 2013

Professor Emilios Avgouleas

Chair in International Banking Law & Finance, School of Law, University of Edinburgh

How Can One Control the Forces of Doom Looming Over the Global Economy

Lack of effective institutions to regulate international financial markets has meant that an ever-growing shadow banking sector has become a true menace for global financial stability and, in the long run, for the viability of open global markets. Yet this need not have been the case and it is largely the fault of governments who have implemented region- or ethno-centric and timid reforms of the financial sector. Emilios Avgouleas argues that, in spite strong regional and national resistance, establishment of new International institutions as part of an effective governance model for global finance could lead to effective controls on the shadow banking sector, averting a return to financial protectionism. At the same time, a strong governance system for global financial markets could effectively steer international finance towards welfare enhancing goals.

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22 January 2014 

Professor Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

 University Professor, Columbia University

 'Humanities and Development’’

The proper training of the Humanities is our best weapon for producing problem-solvers. If they are acknowledged as imaginative activists, rearranging desires, building the possibility of constructing self and world differently as objects of knowing, producing the intuitions of democracy outside of the demands of electoral politics, the power and difficulties of the task emerge. To implement this is an uphill road, since the priorities for developing societies seem to be located elsewhere. My paper will consider this problem as practically as possible, considering, along the way, such typical criticisms as individualism, mere liberalism, etc.

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05 February 2014 

Professor Richard Sennett

Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics

'The Open City'

Building on his pioneering work on cities, Professor Richard Sennett reflects in this lecture on urban spaces as open systems. He will show how an open and diverse way of life relates to certain key principles of design. Design is crucial to the structure of cities and can profoundly affect the nature of urban living. The lecture will draw together social and visual analysis. The talk will be heavily illustrated. 


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19 February 2014 

Professor Saskia Sassen

Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology

Department of Sociology and Co-Chair, Committee on Global Thought, Colombia University. 

 Expulsions: Complexity and Brutality in the Global Political Economy

The past two decades have seen a sharp growth in the number of people, enterprises, and places expelled from the core social and economic orders of our time. This tipping into radical expulsion was enabled by elementary decisions in some cases, but in others by some of our most advanced economic and technical achievements. I use the notion of expulsions to go beyond the more familiar notion of growing inequality, and get at some of the more complex pathologies of today’s global capitalism. It brings to the fore the fact that forms of knowledge and intelligence we respect and admire are often at the origin of long transaction chains that can end in simple expulsions.

 The talk is based on Saskia Sassen’s forthcoming book Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy (Harvard University Press, 2014). 


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05 March 2014 

Professor Sebastiano Maffettone

University Professor and Dean of the Department of Political Science at Luiss ‘G. Carli’ University of Rome

Director Center for Ethics and Global Justice

 “The Problem of Global Justice”


There is a bourgeoning literature on global justice. This literature often originates from (post-Rawlsian) political liberalism. Authors like Thomas Nagel, Amartya Sen, Charles Beitz, Thomas Pogge, Kok ChorTan are representative of the liberal vision on global justice. This lecture is conceived and worked out within the boundaries of this vision. However, it aims to present some original features concerning both the nature of a political-philosophical approach to global justice and the main substantive thesis.

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30 April 2014

Ms. Jaclyn Friedman

Writer of ‘Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape.

Executive Director of Women, Action & the Media.


Beyond Consent: Sexual Liberation, Sexual Violence and Human Rights

Media manipulation, religious propaganda, laws, government institutions and more all conspire to control and define our sexuality, often leaving us alienated from our own desires and boundaries.These external limits can leave us living in confusion, denial, and fear, making us easily manipulated by those who want to sell us products as well as those who want to do physical violence to us. Dominant models of sexuality often alienate us from each other as well, encouraging us to police each other rather than work together for productive, mutually beneficial change. Friedman will propose multiple ways to reverse the effects of sexualization and sexual violence by resisting and transforming popular and limiting sexual paradigms, from the simple (but difficult) radical act of reclaiming one's authentic sexuality, to the movement to locate sexual freedom among our universal human rights.

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07 May 2014

Dr Rowan Williams - CANCELLED

Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge

Former Archbishop of Canterbury


The Tree of Knowledge: Bodies, Minds and Thoughts

We regret that this lecture has been cancelled due to circumstances outside of our control. We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause. We hope that Dr Williams will be able to join us for the 2014-15 lecture series.

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14 May 2014

Professor Thomas Pogge

Leitner Professor of Philosophy and Internal Affairs at Yale University

Director of the Global Justice Program

"Global Development Goals beyond 2015"

Adopted in 2000, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were an attempt, within the UN system, to commit all governments to a concerted effort to make progress against poverty on a clear schedule subject to objective tracking. Because the MDGs, covering the period from 1990 to 2015, are about to expire, a major process is now underway to replace them. To inform this process, it is crucial to learn from the failures of the MDGs. The tracking of the MDGs was entrusted to politically vulnerable and exposed agencies which predictably succumbed to political pressures to deliver rosy trend lines achieved through repeated redefinitions and methodological revisions; and rather than clear goals assigned to specific agents, the MDGs were a detached wish list, which allowed the affluent countries to avoid any concrete responsibilities. Getting serious about poverty requires formulation of precise institutional reform goals monitored by politically independent expert groups employing pre-set standards and methods.

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22 May 2014

Professor Noam Chomsky

Institute Professor & Professor of Linguistics (Emeritus)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Title TBC

28 May 2014

Professor Ritch Savin-Williams

In cooperation with the Centre for Sex, Gender and Sexualities

Development Psychology Professor of Human Development at Cornell University

Director of the Sex & Gender Lab at Cornell University.

New Developments in Youth Sexuality: Mostly Straights, Diverse Bisexuals, and Healthy Gays & Lesbians

Within the last few years the sexual revolution has evolved to assume new dimensions not previously envisioned by either sexual scientists or the public at large. The new developments, engineered and accepted by today’s youth, might well shock many adults. Are these developments real or temporary illusions of progressive contemporary societies? First, science confirms that mostly straights (straight with a “little bit” of gayness) outnumber all other non-heterosexual youth groups combined (based on self-report, eye dilation, and genital arousal measures). Second, recent research has demonstrated not only that bisexuals exist (it was doubted) but also that there are multiple types of bisexuals. Third, despite the widespread belief that gay and lesbian youth are suicidal, depressed, and a complete mess, these individuals are among the healthiest, normal adolescents alive today. Indeed, they possess abilities and skills needed for humanity’s future. I present the scientific evidence and you will be the judge.

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