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The Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities | EVENTS | Critical Thought in Times of Attrition: A University Weekend

Critical Thought in Times of Attrition: A University Weekend

Venue Birkbeck Main Building, Clore B01

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Event description


Over the past few years, political events – Brexit, the Trump presidency, austerity, the rise of neo-fascism and racism across the world, continuing violence against women, climate change, the ongoing exploitation of the global South – have cast a dark shadow over the world, making it all the more urgent to preserve a space for dissent in intellectual life.

In this spirit, and in collaboration with the London Review of Books, Birkbeck, University of London is delighted to announce the first of a series of weekends in which distinguished academics, writers and thinkers will address some of the most challenging issues of our time: the state of journalism in zones of crisis; the control of property; the disruption by technology of the way we write and publish; the power of devices over our lives and whether it can be resisted; gender, race and trauma in the therapeutic setting; student protest; the links between personal and academic modes of understanding; migration and storytelling.

You will be welcome whatever your walk of life, whether you once pursued, or are pursuing, university study or have taken a different path. For both Birkbeck and the London Review of Books, the aim is to be in dialogue with as diverse a range of people as possible. We can promise you a stimulating two days of talks and conversations, the possibility of mingling with like-minded students and speakers, and being part of a unique space dedicated to deepening our understanding of the 21st century world.

Alongside the standard tickets, we have a limited number of tickets available for students / unwaged attendees. If you have registered for a student concession ticket, please be prepared to show your student ID at registration.

Each day will run from 10:30am - 4:30pm (registration from 9:30am),and will include four 1-hour sessions, with time for questions and discussion.

The ticket includes tea, coffee and refreshments. Lunch will not be included. A detailed timetable with the running order of speakers will be confirmed shortly and added to this page.


Download the full speaker details here (Clicking this link will automatically download the programme)


  • Jeremy Harding on "Other People's Difficulty" (London Review of Books)
  • Rosemary Hill on "England Changing Hands" (London Review of Books)
  • John Lanchester "On being disrupted: the economic landscape of publishing and journalism since the mid-80s" (London Review of Books)
  • Professor Esther Leslie on "Work in the Age of the Device" (Birkbeck College)
  • Dr Gail Lewis on "Thinking outside the frame: trauma, race and gender" (Birkbeck College)
  • James Meek on "Imagining the Imagined: Exploring the World-Picture of the English in the 21st Century" (London Review of Books)
  • Professor Jacqueline Rose on "Political Protest on campus: South African students take the lead" (Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities)
  • Professor Marina Warner on "No man’s land - No, nor woman’s neither: Is there a refuge in words?" (Birkbeck College)


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