Lunchtime Talks Archive


  • 19 January

Dr Keri K. Wong, Betty Behrens Research Fellow, Clare Hall

‘Whom you trust shapes your development’

Research on epistemic trust shows that children from an early age monitor and distinguish between informants who give accurate or false testimony. Less is known about whether social trust (or mistrust of others) affects children’s development. Recent research shows that sustained childhood suspiciousness can have long-lasting consequences on children's well-being and subsequent social experiences. In discussing the reasons and developmental consequences of social mistrust, this talk will give voice to children’s conception of trust and consider the future implications of this research. As parents and educators, what are our roles in children’s development?

  • 26 January

Peter Wadhams

Professor of Ocean Physics at Dept of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics

‘The secret life of ocean chimneys’

In the central Greenland Sea at 75N 0W deep convection from the surface to 2500 m has been observed to occur in the form of anticyclonic long-lasting narrow cylinders called chimneys. Individual chimneys have been observed to last 3 years, with a fresh water surface layer cobvering them in summer and the chimney reopening in winter. Many aspects of their dynamics remain unexplained, and chimney production ceased in the last 2 decades when sea ice growth (which supplies the negative buoyancy flux via salt rejection) ceased in this area. There will be an impact on the Atlantic thermohaline circulation.

  • 2 February

Luciano Butti, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Law - University of Padua-

Department of Industrial Engineering

‘Autonomous cars, legal liabilities for accidents and the complex ethics of driverless algorithms’

The driverless technology will soon be available. There will be drastic advantages in terms of safety, emissions’ reduction and time management while travelling by car. However, some important legal and ethical issues still need to be addressed satisfactorily. The former are related to the allocation of liabilities for accidents. The latter concern the ethical choices the autonomous cars will have to make in an emergency (ethics of algorithms). The talk will describe the state of the art in these fields.

  • 9 February

Joel Peck

‘How can we encourage kindness?  A perspective from evolutionary biology’

The quality of human life depends on how we treat each other.  Evolutionary biologists often study “altruism” in humans and other animals.  How can their results inform the development of social policy?  Can they help us to reform our political system? The talk is intended for non-biologists.

  • 16 February

Dr.Yoshinori Wada-Tsukamoto, Faculty of Economics, Doshisha University, Kyoto

‘Religion and Economy in contemporary Japan’

In Japan, more than 180,000 religious corporations are registered and this number is larger than the automobile industry. Historical and legal reasons why various religious corporations are existing in japan will be explained. Contemporary Japanese attitudes toward religion and contemporary religious activities of several sects will be introduced.

  • 23 February

Professor Dr Jennifer A. Drobac, R. Bruce Townsend Professor of Law, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.

‘Exploring the Myth of Consent: Neurological and Psychosocial Science of Decision Making and Law’

This research project posits that legal capacity for consent is not an “on/off” switch, which flips on at “the age of consent,” and off again with early onset dementia. Using neurological and psychosocial science, this research suggests that negotiating parties, in a given moment or context, may possess rather less than legally presumed capacity to consent and it emphasises the need for legal reform. Rather than radical change, the project recommends systemic application of existing and newly devised tools to establish more a nuanced approach to our recognition of consent.

  • 9 March

Dr Nancy H. Ramage, Dana Professor of the Humanities and Arts Emerita, Art History Department, Ithaca College

‘Interpreting and Misinterpreting Antiquity: How ceramic figurines in the Fitzwilliam Museum reveal the thinking of 18th-century neoclassical artists’

By studying figurines of such mythical gods as Venus and Bacchus, or historical people such as Cleopatra and Marc Antony, one finds that ceramic artists of the 18th century gave well-known figures altered identities. They used large-scale works by ancient and Renaissance artists as models for small clay objects made for the home. These figures, well represented in the fine collections of the Fitzwilliam Museum, show us how neoclassical artisans borrowed from their sources and transformed them into newly messaged figures for an 18th-century audience.


  • 26 May

John Drew  'Not a Gentleman's Game, but the People's?'

What the gentry do gets written up as History. But how do we find out what happened in the Past when ordinary people invented and played the game of cricket?

This talk explores how we might find out something about two cricketings, one in the recent past (during the Battle of Britain 1940), the other long ago (in India in 1721) John's Ph.D. at Clare Hall was published as a book:

India and the Romantic Imagination. His talk today is part of a conspiracy to get everybody in the college to join in the celebratory cricketings this summer.

  • 2 June

Marko Tainio 'Public Health Modelling, and specifically the health effects of cycling'

Drawing from an example study of London Bicycle Sharing systems' health effects.

  • 9 June

Subhankar Banerjee 'Why Polar Bear?'

In the talk I will explore the complexity in images of polar bears (achieved through visual depiction, literary allusion, memory and performance), which collectively stand as an emblem of political ecology connecting the bear and its home, the Arctic, with its people, the Inuit, and to the rest of the planet in many unexpected ways, encouraging us to see the Arctic, the bellwether of climate change, a new.

  • 16 June

Rayna Patel - Details to be confirmed.

  • 6 October. Ed Emmott, Research Associate, Goodfellow Lab.

'The molecular biology of norovirus infection.'

  • 27 October. Luciano Botti, Affiliated Professor of International Environmental Law - University of Padua - Italy

'L'Aquila 2009 EARTHQUAKE: SCIENCE AND ITS COMMUNICATION ON TRIAL: From an Italian Court case important lessons about the science-law relationship'

On April 6 2009, during the night, hundreds of people died during an earthquake in L'Aquila, Italy. This major quake followed a long seismic swarm, which had lasted for several weeks. During this period, many people who lived in old or unsafe houses had decided to sleep in other cities or in their cars. However, a few days before the major quake, the Governmental Risks Commission spokesperson had 'reassured' the L'Aquila population that no major quake was likely to happen. Thus, many people went back to their homes, where some of them died during the 6 April quake. The scientists and the spokesperson for the Risks Commission were accused of manslaughter for their alleged role in the death of those who had gone back to their houses.

This talk will first analyse the decisions of the Italian Courts (First Instance Tribunal, Appeal Court, and Supreme Court). Then, the distinction between risk assessment (pertaining to science) and risk management (pertaining to politics) will be explored, taking into account the different views on this matter. We will see why appropriate communication of science is a decisive factor. Finally, four further critical aspects of the science-law relationship, emerging from the Italian Courts' decisions on the L'Aquila case, will be examined. 

  • 3 November
  • 10 November, Clive Sherlock

'Heart and mind: the consequences of (mis)translation in psychology’

  • 17 November, Professor Peter Wadhams

'The secret life of ocean chimneys'

Abstract. In the central Greenland Sea at 75N 0W deep convection from the surface to 2500 m has been observed to occur in the form of anticyclonic long-lasting narrow cylinders called chimneys. Individual chimneys have been observed to last 3 years, with a fresh water surface layer covering them in summer and the chimney reopening in winter. Many aspects of their dynamics remain unexplained, and chimney production ceased in the last 2 decades when sea ice growth (which supplies the negative buoyancy flux via salt rejection) ceased in this area. There will be an impact on the Atlantic thermohaline circulation. 

  • 24 November, Morten Broberg, Professor and Jean Monnet Chair (2012-15), Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen and Clare Hall Visiting Fellow

'The new 'normal' in climate change: some challenges to societies'

  • 1 December, Dr Roberto Ricciuti, Associate Professor of Economic Policy

Director, PhD in Economics and Management University of Verona

'Railways and the North-South Gap in Italy: Persistence and Divergence after Unification'

Abstract The political unification of Italy in 1861 led to the establishment of a single market with a single currency. Market integration was the economic outcome of this process. At the same time, the Kingdom of Italy started a large infrastructure project to spread railways all over the country. We find that railways played a positive effect on productivity, but this effect was stronger in the areas in which railways were already built, widening territorial disparities.


  • 8 October

Joel Peck, Is Life Impossible?

  • 22 October

Qasim Ayub, The Kalash Genetic Isolate from Pakistan

  • 29 October

Jerry Kutcher, Geoffrey Keynes’ Twofold Vision: Medical Savant Connoisseur and Literary Bibliographer

  • 5 November

Literary Talk: Claire Nicholson, Virginia Woolf’s ‘frock consciousness’. Chaired by Trudi Tate

  • 19 November

Juliet Dusinberre, Reading, Writing and Resistance: Nella Last's War

  • 26 November

Richard Hayes, Stage and City: Joseph Papp and the Public Theater

  • 10 December 

Jane Goldman on Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. Chaired by Susan Sellers


  • 16 January 2014

Jean Glasberg: Eric and Elena


  • 17 January 2013

Dr Aiping Mu: 'From an Exiled Teenager to a Leading Statesman: A Profile of China's New Leader,  Xi Jinping'. Dr Aiping Mu was the 2002 Ashby Lecturer, when she became an Associate, and is now a Life Member of the College

  • 7 February 2013

Dr. Cynthia Neville , George Munro Professor of History and Political Economy, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada: 'The Quality of Scottish Mercy: Royal Mercy in Scotland in the Later Middle Ages'

  • 14 February 2013

Dr. Robert Anderson, Vice President, Clare Hall, discusses his work transcribing an 18th century book of correspondence, in a talk titled: 'What an 18th-century Correspondence does and does not reveal'

  • 21 February 2013

Dr. David Ebrey, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Northwestern, University, Evaston, Illinois, and 2013 Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall, reexamines the debate in Plato and Aristotle: 'Is Virtue Teachable?  A New Account of an Ancient Debate'

  • 28 February 2013

Dr. Manuel-Antonio Garreton, Simon Bolivar Professor, Chair at the University of Cambridge Centre for Latin American Studies, and Visiting Fellow of Clare Hall, presents 'Reflections on Latin American Politics: the Aftermath of Democratization, and New Kinds of Social Mobilization'. Dr. Garreton is Professor of Political and Cultural Sociology at the University of Chile.  His talk relates to his personal research on the current status of Chilean and other Latin American societies.

  • 21 March 2013

The sinologist Dr. Margaret Pearson, Professor Emerita, Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, USA, is frequently in Cambridge where she first came as a Visiting fellow to Clare Hall in 1997.  She will discuss the topic "Women in Early China, as Reflected in the Zhouyi Book of Changes"

  • 28 March 2013

Gabriele Reifenberg, a well-known Cambridge personality, and a previous College Secretary in Newnham College, who has spent  many years in the Himalayan regions, will share her views on "Conservation and Change in Trans-Himalayan India: Ladakh"


  • 9 February 2012
    Destination Chile: Visual Impressions of a Varied Scenery
    God made Chile last, they say.  The Good Lord fitted in the tallest peaks, the most icy shores, steepest volcanoes, wettest rain forests, and driest deserts into one narrow country. We were lucky enough to have had a few weeks there, and I have been persuaded to share with friends at Clare Hall my photos of three wonderful parts of Chile.

Emeritus Fellow, Dr. Elizabeth Garnsey

  • 16 February 2012

Professor Julius Lipner

Karma and Rebirth in the Hindu Tradition
Belief in rebirth, usually in association with the concept of karma, is popular not only in Hinduism but also in other traditions, both religious and secular, in the East and in the West. This talk explored the main ideas involved in this belief with special reference to Hinduism, the source tradition for this view.  It looked at what is meant by karma and reincarnation, the philosophical basis of these concepts, their modern innovations, and the mechanisms for their implementation.

  • 23 February 2012 - Professor John Ellis
    Urban Repair in Sustainable Cities
    With professional expertise in the West Coast and elsewhere, Professor Ellis (University of Cambridge and University of California, Berkley) shared with Clare Hall members some of his thinking and experience on urban design, renewal and sustainability.
  • 1 March 2012 - Mrs Alison Sproston

The London Library, its history and collections
Come and find out about that other great repository of Knowledge, The London Library. Your speaker is Alison Sproston, lifelong librarian, mainly based in Cambridge College libraries, and recently retired after seven years as Deputy Librarian at The London Library.

  • 8 March 2012 - Dr Christiane Esche-Ramshorn
    The Western Stretch of the Silk Road: Christianity and Art Between Europe and Orient
    This talk focussed on the western European merchants, missionaries, and diplomats residing in and passing through the 14th century Mongol capitals of Tabriz and Sultaniyeh, and on the artistic and cultural exchange caused by their presence.  Trade, money, and the geo-politics of the Roman popes played an important role in this East-West dialogue, which is at the centre of a yet not very well-known chapter in the medieval history of western contacts in the Middle East.


  • 6 December 2012

Dr Covadonga Aldamiz-Echevarria, a Clare Hall Visiting Fellow from the University of the Basque Country, discusses how the cooperation and forward planning of a group of chefs succeeded in positioning the Basque Country as an international gastronomic centre of attraction

  • 13 December 2012

Dr Ruth Caston, Clare Hall Visiting Fellow from the University of Michigan, will share her insight on the emotion of Jealousy, as expressed in first-century Latin poetry, one of the subjects treated in her latest publication.


3 March 2011
Zhang Xiaoying

Globalisation: A Chinese perspective
As the biggest beneficiary of globalisation, China has now emerged as an economically powerful country. How does China view the world? How does the world view China and should view China? These questions become major issues of concern not only for westerners but also for Chinese themselves.
The talk will be based on the two op-eds I wrote for the Guardian recently, one concerning differing world views between the east and west and the other about China’s role in Africa, and the commentaries posted following the publication of the pieces. It is expected that the talk may serve as an interface for the exchange of knowledge between different cultures. The potential conflicts as a result of discussions will aspire to build more opened spaces that stimulate the decentralized debate, reflection, proposals building, experiences exchange and alliances among people of different cultures committed to building a more harmonious, consolidated and fair world.

10 March 2011
Tom Karen

A legendary and versatile Designer who has made his mark on twentieth century design thinking
Tom’s childhood was spent in Czechoslovakia.  He left after the Nazi occupation (March ’39) and reached the UK (via Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal by plane) in 1942. He studied aircraft engineering at Loughborough, later industrial design at the Central School, London.  Worked at Ford, Hotpoint, Philips and was then invited to take charge of Ogle in1962 following the fatal crash of David Ogle.  Ogle was a leading design organisation for product and transport design, model/prototype making and the development and manufacture of dummies for safety research.
His best known work includes  - the Scimitar GTE, Chopper bike, Bond Bug, ‘Pope- mobiles, the Kiddycraft Marble Run.  (Ogle also tackled vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, baths, and pushchairs – an exceptional range of products).  As part of the Prince Philip Designers Prize, Tom was highly commended for being ‘responsible for some of the most iconic British products of the 20th century’.

With his visionary zeal he proposes better planes, cars, buses, easier travel, better/safer living (the Floating City, a pedestrianised Regent Street).

Tom has lectured at Universities, tutored at the Royal College of Art, has Honorary Doctorates from two Universities, run workshops for children and makes toys for his grandchildren.

9 June 2011
Jessica Milner Davis

Taking Humour Seriously: The Cross-cultural Challenge

Because unfamiliar conventions about humour can throw light upon what is taken for granted in a familiar culture, the multi-disciplinary field of humour studies increasingly seeks to compare and contrast different cultural approaches to humour and laughter. Commonalities and differences both provide valuable insights. In working with expert scholars in Japan and China to prepare studies of humour in both societies, I learned much about variations in cultural rules governing what, where, when, how and with whom humour could properly (and improperly) be used. But I also learned much about what I had previously taken for granted – characteristic rituals in the Australian approach to humour. The lessons learned underline the methodological challenges and potential rewards of cross-cultural humour studies.

Thursday 16 June 2011 at 1pm
Artist, Oliver Soskice will talk about his work and the current exhibition
Venue: Meeting Room and then Gallery
His talk will be partly autobiographical going back to the late 1970s when he was painting in the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh and of some of the preoccupations of that time – hard edged abstraction etc. He will also touch on still life painting and landscape painting inspired by the airy fens around Cambridge where he has lived since 1988 and the abstracts that have developed from those landscapes.  A common theme running through the talk will consider how marks brushed out onto a flat canvas, combined with the spatial depth of an image, have a bearing on the luminosity peculiar to painting.


7 January 2010
Hanna Scolnicov, Professor of Theatre Studies at Tel-Aviv University
Chagall’s Lithographs for Shakespeare’s Tempest
In 1975 Chagall produced a series of lithographs for a collectors' edition of Shakespeare's Tempest. These lithographs are virtually unknown and they are Chagall's only illustrations to Shakespeare. In this work, Chagall interpreted Shakespeare's Renaissance figures in terms of his own private mythography, based on his childhood memories from the Russian Shtetl. The talk will be accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation of some of these lithographs.

Hanna Scolnicov is mainly concerned with the relationship between theare and the visual arts. She has published mainly on Shakespeare, Stoppard, and Pinter (on whom she is presently writing a book).

14 January 2010
Monica Bohm-Duchen
A Jewish Jesus?
Christian Motifs in the Work of Marc Chagall

Chagall himself tells us that he had long been “troubled by the pale face of Christ”. His first images depicting Christian subjects, albeit unconventionally, date from his very early years in Tsarist Russia; better known and more aesthetically radical are works such as Dedicated to Christ, painted in Paris in 1912. But it was from 1938 onwards, with works such as the magnificent White Crucifixion, that the image of Jesus as the archetypal symbol of Jewish martyrdom, the embodiment of present-day Jewish suffering in the Holocaust (and sometimes even of the artist’s personal anguish), came to preoccupy Chagall more and more. In later years, Jesus still features prominently in his work, but the references to the Shoah are less explicit. Although the choice of such imagery is necessarily controversial, among Jews and non-Jews alike, this illustrated lecture will set Chagall’s obsession in a wider cultural context, and show that he was by no means the first, or only, Jewish artist to depict Jesus as a Jew.

21 January 2010
Odette Magnet, Press Attache to the Chilean Embassy in London
Latin American and Chilean Female Writers
Latin America has suffered cruel dictatorships and women writers have turned to literature—fiction and non-fiction—in order to deal with the painful past. From Cuba to Patagonia, these women and many others have proved that imagination, words and memory are powerful tools to tell a good story, share the lessons learned and, if possible, begin to heal the wounds.

28 January 2010
Mary Helen Spooner
Chile After the Pinochet Years
Pinochet handed over the Chilean presidency in 1990 but the country's elected leaders have had to struggle with his legacy.  This is the story of the general's slow retreat from power and the fierce rearguard action he mounted up until the time of his death.

25 February 2010
Elizabeth Lloyd-Davies
Haydn in England
Reminiscences, and readings from Haydn's Letters and Diaries
During the 1790's London was a melting pot for artists, musicians, and writers from all over Europe, as well as aristocratic refugees from the French Revolution. When Prince Esterhazy died in 1790 and Haydn found himself without a job or an income, he accepted an invitation from the impresario Salomon to come to London. His letters and notebooks reveal a fascinating picture of the people and places which stimulated him to write some of his most brilliant music and make a fortune which enabled him to live in comfort for the rest of his life when he returned to Vienna.

4 March 2010
Dr Alan Marcus
Clare Hall and Erskine's Utopian Architecture
Alan Marcus will explain the relationship between Ralph Erskine's design for Clare Hall and his Arctic new town schemes.

18 March 2010
Fiona Bennett, Marina Velez Vago and Russell Cuthbert
Keep Off The Grass
What is the place of art in society and is contemporary art related in any way to today's problems?
The speakers are three students at the Cambridge School of Art who are currently in their final year. In their group exhibition Keep off the Grass in the Clare Hall Gallery they have attempted to address these questions through the medium of photography, sculpture and installation.
This talk provides the opportunity to raise these questions and expand on the role of the practicing artist in a post-modern world.

22 April 2010
Bruce Russell
A philosophical argument; a humorous medley of tunes
Bruce Russell's new work continues themes he has developed over a career of over 40 years.  He originally trained as a graphic designer, and has long been fascinated by contemporary culture's densely mediated system of signs, symbols and tropes - the clamor of advertising, insistence of signals, chatter of icons and legends.  The virtual electronic revolution of the last 30 years has ratcheted the babel exponentially, with the screen in hand or on desk now a panoptic hub of information and command, an infinite nexus of overlaid, simultaneous scapes, both convergent and divergent.

6 May 2010
Lung-kwong LO
Conflicts between Christianity and Chinese Culture:
The Case of Rites Controversy

The Rites Controversy (1615–1742) is the most important controversy in the history of Chinese Christianity. The Controversy arose among Catholic missionaries regarding how they should deal with ‘Chinese rites’ in the transitional years from the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) to the Qing dynasty (1644–1911). The Controversy broke out after the death of the most famous Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci (1552–1610).  The main issues were whether Chinese Christian converts should be permitted to continue the practice of the ancestral cult which was so central to the entire family and clan system? Whether they should be allowed to participate in the community festivals in honour of non-Christian divinities, as well as the veneration of Confucius in the temples dedicated to his name which were attached to every school in China? Whether the ancestral worship is a religion?  Whether ancestors are immortals after death and become gods? The issues continued among Protestant missionaries in the 19th century and even today. An analysis of these issues and the possible solutions will be discussed.

13 May 2010
Susie Turner and Serena Smith
Technology and Art: The practices and processes of fine art printmaking

The image of the artist as a creative individual, working in the isolation of their studio, is one that has never really matched the reality of the printmaker.  Born from a relationship with technology, theirs is an industrial heritage founded within the space of the collaborative workshop.  The work of the printmaker as such, evolves from a negotiated dependency on technology, resources, and inherited knowledge from a ‘community of practice’ that spans generations.  In their roles as educators, collaborators, and producers of printed artefacts, Susie Turner and Serena Smith reflect on technology, collaboration and the ‘work’ of the artist-printmaker.

2 November 2010
Sir Martin Harris

President, Clare Hall and Director of Fair Access
The Browne Review and the CSR

18 November 2010
Dr Aiping Mu

Where are the ‘Peasant Workers’?
China’s Labour Shortage
China’s economic achievement over the last thirty years has been based on low-cost manufacturing, which has made the country the second largest economy in the world. With its cheap labour, it is known as ‘the factory of the world’.  But given the on-going changes in society and its population, can China’s economic miracle continue?

25 November 2010
Elizabeth Garnsey

UK Supermarkets and their Business Ecosystem. How have a few supermarkets come to dominate the UK's food distribution system?
UK supermarkets have been pioneers in introducing IT and new business models to food retailing. In this talk, a brief history is provided of the rise of UK supermarket retailing since the 1960s. A conceptual approach inspired by ecology is used to uncover why and how leadership has been achieved by just four UK supermarkets.  The evidence shows how information technologies alongside innovative business models, have enabled the ‘Big 4’ to maintain and extend their dominance in the UK business ecosystem of food retailing and also of food production.  There are major productivity gains and benefits to consumers from the supermarkets’ business models, but also hidden and offloaded costs, including the elimination of local food production and distribution. What is the scope for change in this now entrenched system?

2 December 2010
Michael Brick
on his work and the present exhibition in the Clare Hall Gallery 'The Size of What I See'. A portfolio of 12 original prints, etchings, woodblock and screen prints with 12 poems from The Keeper of Sheep by Fernando Pessoa

9 December 2010
John Shelton Read

Dixie Bohemia:  The French Quarter of New Orleans in the 1920s
In the1920s the French Quarter of New Orleans attracted a number of artists and writers, of whom the best known was William Faulkner, and became for a time a Deep South version of Greenwich Village or the Left Bank.  I’m working on a book about this scene, not so much about the individuals involved (although there are some interesting stories there) as about the community they created. A few organizing themes are emerging.  For example, there is the familiar irony of a bohemian area “gentrified” by artists and writers to the point where artists and writers can no longer afford to live there, and wouldn’t want to anyway.  There is also the matter of race; unlike most contemporary Bohemias, this one was all-white, and rigidly segregated. Finally, I also hope to be able to say something intelligent about the emergence and natural history of Bohemias in general.


22 January 2009
Peter Stern, Editor SCIENCE Magazine
Manuscript selection at SCIENCE

29 January 2009
Dr. Marja Härmänmaa
Revolution in the Italian Kitchen: Marinetti, Futurism and Avant-Garde Cuisine

12 February 2009
Deborah Madsen
The Un-American: Rhetorical Genealogies

19 February 2009
Donna T Andrew
The Man Who Couldn’t Die

26 February 2009
Gitte Schwarze
Hans Küng's concept of World Religions - Universal Peace - Global Ethic

5 March 2009
Martin Harris
Current Issues in Higher Education

19 March 2009
Gerald Vizenor
On his creative writing as a poet, novelist, dramatist and essayist

2 April 2009
Marika Hedin
The Vasa – from 17th Century Fiasco to 21st Century Success?

30 April 2009
Erling Sandmo
Staging power, singing history:
Opera as politics in late 18th century Sweden

4 June 2009
Phil Roe

18 June 2009
Lawrence Lipkin
Who or what is The American Scholar?

5 November 2009
Julia Hedgecoe
Current exhibition, 3 Folios, in the Clare Hall Gallery

12 November 2009
Trudi Tate
King Baby:  Ideas of Infant Care at the end of the First World War

19 November 2009
Barbara Harris
The Criminal Justice System:  A Personal View
Barbara Harris has served on the Bench for over 15 years in three different areas.  She has held various related posts, for example, Chair of the Youth Bench and served on many committees during this time.  She will give a brief history of the system and also talk about her own particular experiences.

26 November 2009
Dávid Molnár
Some biological thoughts on aging
In the talk I would like to try and discuss some of the fundamental ideas that came up in biology about what aging is, and why it occurs in probably all living species; why it has different paces and why it is still there at all after such a long time of evolution.

3 December 2009
Trudi Tate
King Baby: Ideas of Infant Care at the end of the First World War
In the summer of 1917, a public campaign called Baby Week was established.  This aimed to educate mothers and to improve the health and welfare of  babies. Many babies died of avoidable causes, and there was concern to really tackle the infant mortality rate. As one commentator remarked drily; it seems we have discovered we cannot waste adult lives and infant lives at the same time.

In 1918, self-styled infant expert Truby King was invited to Britain to contribute to the campaigns to save the babies. Immensely influential in his native New Zealand before the war, Truby King had considerable impact on baby care in Britain during and after the First World War. My paper looks at King's mechanistic theories of infant care, and investigates their significance at this particular historical moment. I will explore how Truby King's ideas conflict with another important area of thinking which develops during this period: psychoanalysis.

My paper looks at the ways in which these conflicting ideas about babies are explored in literature of the period, including works by Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, and Elizabeth Bowen.


17 Jan 2008
Yoko Namikawa
Making a proper home outside Britain
The activities of British female missionaries in the 19th century

24 Jan 2008
Christiane Esche-Ramshorn
Tracing 15th century Ethiopa – from a recent visit

31 Jan 2008
Maria Ttofi
Parental sanctions and sibling bullying – a test of defiance theory

An investigation on the usefulness of defiance theory to explain bullying of siblings in families and peers in schools.

7 Feb 2008
Christine van Ruymbeke
Persian Animal Fables – 6th century fables of Kalila and Dimna: A study from Medieval Persian manuscripts

14 Feb 2008
Gillian Wu, Visiting Fellow
Genetics in autoimmunity?

21 Feb 2008
Katharine Carruthers
National Chinese Programme Co-ordinator for the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust China then and now – a personal perspective

28 Feb 2008
Betty Morgan Bowen, artist and writer
Her life and work
Born in Chicago, she graduated from Swarthmore College in English Literature and went on to study illustration.  At the age of twenty three, she wrote and illustrated her first children's book Milo's New World, the story of a young refugee boy she met while working in a refugee camp set up by President Roosevelt for Jewish immigrants during

6 Mar 2008
Samantha Owens
"Both Text and Morality are Against it":  Women Musicians at German Courts  in the late 17th and Early 18th Centuries

13 Mar 2008
Deborah Baumgold
Slavery discourse in the 17th century in England; an examination of the relationship between philosophical arguments and ordinary conceptions during the period of development of the African slave trade.

24 Apr 2008
Mike Petty on Edwardian Cambridge (1901-1910) featuring the paintings of William Matthison.
The death of Queen Victoria in 1901 marked the end of an era. She had visited Cambridge on two occasions, once to see her beloved husband, Prince Albert, made Chancellor of the University in 1847. He had been responsible for many reforms that brought science into the forefront of its teaching and research. Following other changes dons were now allowed to marry and two women’s colleges had been established.

Mildred Tuker had attended one of these, Newnham. In 1907 she published a book on Cambridge, recounting the history of the University which had grown to dominate the ancient riverside town in which it had sought sanctuary in the 13th-century.  Its magnificent architecture had transformed the mean town streets and its colleges provided employment to the population who served it, town tradesmen were licensed to trade with university students, town shops shut when the University went down at the end of term.

At the same time another lady, Eglantyne Jebb was surveying another Cambridge, the one the academics seldom glimpsed. It was a town whose residents were grappling with problems of poverty and unemployment, overcrowding and homelessness, issues that national Government was beginning to address.

The Cambridge that entered the 20th-century was undergoing dramatic change. New houses had grown up but with few of the facilities such as schools and churches. However now there was co-operation between town and gown with the University giving up many of its powers over civic affairs and electing its own members to the Borough Council.

The two communities walked the same streets but they never mixed. They spoke the same language but could not communicate with each other.  They had nothing in common except the town in which they lived and worked, some off the West Road, others off the East – and they were worlds apart. Academics whose names were famous around the world were unknown outside their college, where they were wrapped up in their own thoughts and studies.

Both sides of Edwardian Cambridge were captured by William Matthison who was commissioned to produce 72 paintings to illustrate Tuker’s book. These have not been reissued with a new introduction by Mike Petty.

8 May 2008
Chuck Stanton on 11th Century South Italy Naval Strategy
The Use of Naval Power in the Norman Conquest of Southern Italy and Sicily
In the latter half of eleventh century, small bands of Norman adventurers, led by the relentless Hauteville brothers, achieved what the Byzantine Empire, the Western Empire, the Papacy and Islam could not:  the conquest of southern Italy and Sicily.  Even more remarkable is the fact that the territory which these Norman knights managed to subjugate consisted of a large peninsula and a huge island which jutted out into the middle of the Mediterranean.  Geography dictates that these men could not have done so without benefit of some sort of naval capability, yet almost nothing is written about Norman naval power in the Mediterranean.  The objective of this presentation is to correct that omission, using fresh findings from marine archaeology and recent studies of medieval ship technology.  Ultimately, it will be shown that the subsequent establishment of an aggressive Norman naval presence in the central Mediterranean ushered in a new era of Western maritime ascendancy.

15 May 2008
John Barrow 
Cosmic Imagery: Key Images in the History of Science
Summary:  A look at the role of influential pictures in the development of science. We will describe a number of important images that played a part in influencing how we see the world, conveying information in new ways and revealing what had never been seen before. We will show examples from a range of sciences and periods in history. Who drew the first graphs? What is so special about the London Underground map? What does Vincent van Gogh owe to astronomers? Were there canals on Mars? What does the Hubble Space telescope owe to Thomas Moran? Come and find out.

22 May 2008
Dr Ithamar Theodor on ‘Towards Constructing a Comparative Notion of Personhood; Boethius  and the Bhagavata Purana
Summary: The talk is in the realm of Comparative Philosophy, and it is aiming at constructing a notion of personhood extracted from the Bhagavata Purana, which is a classical Sanskrit Hindu text composed around the 9th c.   This notion is constructed in dialogue with the classical notion of personhood articulated by the late Helenistic thinker Boethius, 5–6c.

29 May 2008
Norio Nakazawa
Nature of Japan and Japanese
Japan is still the second largest market in the world in spite of the current bullish presence of newly emerging markets such as China or India.  And there are lots of discussions on the nature of this country and its people, but most of them are out of the mark.  It is necessary to the know their profound sentiment, current circumstances and the social pressure in order to have got proper understanding of the mysterious country.

25 September 2008
Henry Ryan
The Homeland: From Catherine the Great to Harry S Truman, the People and Policies  that Created Israel

2 October 2008
Ann Goldstein
Earthlings in a Holographic Universe:  Human Biology in a 4-D World of Light and Sound

9 October 2008
Rid Dagupta
Conflicts and Compromises:  National Security, Guantanamo Bay, and the Changing Landscape of Detention Law in the United State

16 October 2008
Noel Myles
Tour of his present photographic exhibition Still Films

23 October 2008
Dr Glenn Adamson
Modern Craft: Developments and Divergence

6 November 2008
Andrew Kennedy
Can men write about women?

13 November 2008
Dr Cindy McCreery
The Royal Family and the Royal Navy in the nineteenth century: The world voyages of Prince Alfred (1867-1871)

20 November 2008
Magda Pluciennik
The reading mind. A novel as an intersubjective exercise

27 November 2008
Hilary Green
Sculpture, Experimental Psychology and Fiction: A Jack of all trades?


11 Oct 2007
Valerie Doulton
Vera Wheatley, novelist and biographer of Harriet Martineau
Vera Wheatley belongs, like Harriet Martineau, to the tradition of enterprising women from the manufacturing classes who turned their hand to literature. The biography of Martineau, published in 1957, pre-dates the great flow of literary biographies of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, and is still held in high regard. Wheatley's granddaughter, Valerie Doulton, is also active in the literary field. She will talk about her grandmother's activities, and prepare the ground for future talks on Harriet Martineau.

18 Oct 2007
John Warren
The relationship between Harriet Martineau (1802-76), author and journalist, and her adopted community of Ambleside, Cumbria

...where she lived from 1845 until her death. In particular, he will demonstrate intimate connections between her fictional and non-fictional writings and her participation in that community and argues that Martineau saw her newly-built house, The Knoll, as a focal point for reform. Indeed, Martineau consistently upheld the individual household as a key agent in social amelioration.

25 Oct 2007
The artist Carol Bernstein,
On her painting exhibition at Clare Hall
Summary: "A show of paintings which have been two years in the making.  These new works, mainly on canvas, are totally abstract and demonstrate the artist's interest in the dynamics of colour and movement.  The talk will expand on both past and present work and will be followed by a tour of the show."

1st Nov 2007
Wendy Harcourt
Transnational Feminism

8 Nov 2007
Adele Perry
Gender, Migration and Imperialism in one 19th century family

15 Nov 2007
Sarah Heidt
Symond's Daughter "Discovers" Father: Katharine Furse's Autobiographical Reading
The talk is based on a portion of Sarah Heidt's book in progress on Victorian autobiography.  It will focus on Victorian man of letters John Addington Symonds and on his daughter's struggles to locate her father's Memoirs and other papers in the 1920s and 1930s, while she was writing her own memoirs decades after his death in 1893.

22 Nov 2007
Margaret Pearson
A Reading from the Book of Changes

    24 May 2007
    Norwich outing photo album
    On 24 May 2007, members of the group joined a local archaeological society expedition to look at West Norfolk castles. 

    29 Nov 2007
    Rhea Quien
    The Life and Artwork of Clara Quien
    Clara Quien's work sculpted Mahatma Gandhi, J. Nehru, and many other prominent people. Later in life, stimulated by her capacity for synesthesia, she created abstract art.

    In 2006-2007 Women's Group Talks were again given by Clare Hall members and outside speakers. Speakers and topics were:

    In Michaelmas term:

    • Susanna Rostas on ‘The Aztecization of the Concheros Dance in Mexico City’
    • Dorothea Kehler and Christiane Esche-Ramshorn on the German film of Fontane’s novel ‘Effi Briest’
    • Sylvia Karastathi on ‘Still Life and the spaces of femininity in A.S. Byatt’s fiction’
    • Machi Tseloni on ‘Gender differences: globalisation and growth effects’
    • Elodie Nevin on ‘The Angel abroad: an exploration of early feminism in nineteenth-century German novels’
    • Marta Cavazza on ‘Gender and science in eighteenth-century Bologna: Laura Bassi and her colleagues’
    • Dorothea Kehler on ‘Unheaded women: the construction of Shakespeare’s widows’
    • Pamela Gerrish Nunn on ‘An art of one’s own: early twentieth-century British women artists’

    In Lent term:

    • Patricia Wyman on ‘All change: Germany since 1989’
    • Marilynn Desmond on ‘Gender, authorship and life-writing in the corpus of Christine de Pizan’
    • Tona Sironi Diemberger of Ecohimal on ‘Women of Tibet’
    • Frances Spalding on 'Charles Darwin’s granddaughter: Gwen Raverat and her view of Cambridge'
    • Anne Thompson on ‘Ugly nuns, seductive queens and cross-dressing saints: Some stories about women in a medieval English sermon collection’
    • Lesley Morgan on ‘Outsider Insides: infertility and creativity’

    In Easter term:

    • Jennifer Fellows on ‘Dragons two or three: dragon fights and their functions in some Middle English romances’
    • Christiane Esche-Ramshorn on ‘Silk Road Christians of the 15th century between Orient and Occident: Armenia, Persia, Itlay and Arts Interchange'
    • Yoko Namikawa on ‘British female missionaries in the 19th century’
    • Margaret Pearson on ‘A reading from the I Ching hexagon’
    • Susannah Tarbush on ‘Arab women as seen from 30 years in the camel corps’
    • Brigitte Schwarze on ‘Women in politics – Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany, and her cabinet’
    • Nataliya Arsenyeva on ‘Some aspects of Ekaterina the Great’s autocracy rule of Russia as a representative of the Romanov family’

    In 2005-06 we had another busy year, with Women's Group Talks given by Clare Hall members and outside speakers.

    Speakers and topics were:

    In Michaelmas term:

    • Charity Scott Stokes on ‘Women in the Canterbury Chronicle, 1346-64’
    • Elizabeth Mills on ‘Gender and HIV in South Africa’
    • Julia Boyd on ‘Elizabeth Blackwell’
    • Mary Berg on ‘Clorinda Matto de Turner’
    • Trudi Tate on ‘Race issues in Vietnam’
    • Lynette Russell on ‘Resisting dichotomies: indigenous histories and representations of race’
    • Clare Newbolt ‘On Her work in the Clare Hall art exhibition’
    • Brooke Hutchinson on ‘Camfed International’

    In Lent term:

    • Noriko Kubota on Virginia Woolf
    • Lore Lippmann on ‘Cuba and contemporary Spanish documentary film’
    • Xandra Bingley ‘On her book: Bertie, May and Mrs Fish’
    • Patricia Candy ‘On her paintings: Following the light: from California to Great Britain’
    • Yiriya Kumagai on ‘Intercultural sojourners — culture shock’
    • Robin Myers ‘On her experiences as first woman president of the Bibliographical Society and Archivist to the Stationers' Company’
    • Stacey Halberstadt on ‘Three Years in Bosnia — a female fieldworker's perspective’
    • Ruby Reid Thompson on ‘Michele Bachelet, first woman president of Chile’
    • Mireille Kaiser on ‘Gender, purity and power: the representation of social violence in Japan’

    In Easter term:

    • Anna Soci on ‘Teaching, visibility and scholarly production: a gender-based enquiry’
    • Mary Helen Spooner on ‘Recent military history in Chile’
    • Natascha Scott-Stokes on ‘Norfolk lepidopterist Margaret Fountaine’
    • Jutta Birnbickel on ‘The dominant sex: Mathilde Vaerting, as sociologist in the Weimar Republic’
    • Wazir Jahan Karin on ‘A theory of poverty - gender in the age of globalization’
    • Christiane Esche-Ramshorn on ‘World art - hybrid art: a look at art's borders’
    • Naama Goren-In bar on ‘Out of Africa and in the Levantine Corridor’
    • Margaret Pearson on ‘A reading from the I Ching’