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Inaugural lecture series to celebrate Birkbeck professorial promotions

A fascinating series of free-to-attend inaugural lectures will be held at Birkbeck throughout June.

Inaugural lecture - Jurisprudence

A fascinating series of free-to-attend lectures, covering topics as diverse as distortions in body image, the killing of Reeva Steenkamp and the intersections of jurisprudence and poverty, will be held at Birkbeck throughout June.

Six professors from across the College will present inaugural lectures on topics of their own choosing to audiences of peers and members of the public.

June’s programme of inaugural lectures is:

Microtubules and microscopes: Studies of the cytoskeleton in health and disease (Professor Carolyn Moores)

  • Monday, June 1, 5pm, Room B01, Clore Management Centre
  • Just as human bodies have a skeleton providing support and strength, so also do the cells of our bodies; this framework is called cytoskeleton. It is involved in many cell functions - movement, definition of architecture, and multiplication.
  • Professor Moores’s lecture will describe some of her team’s recent discoveries that shed light on how healthy cells work, but also how malfunctions of the cytoskeleton cause disease.

Spatial Distortions in Perception and Cognition (Professor Matthew Longo)

  • Thursday, June 4, 5pm, Room B01, Clore Management Centre
  • Spatial distortions have long been known to characterise early representatives of the senses in the brain. Recent studies have revealed traces of these distortions in higher- level aspects of perception and cognition.
  • In his inaugural lecture, Professor Longo will describe this research, focusing on distorted representation of body size and shape. In particular, he will describe distorted body representations underlying touch and proprioception, as well as in our conscious body image.

“Bantu in the bathroom”: Sex and Race in the New Millennium (Professor Jacqueline Rose)

  • Thursday, June 11, 6pm, Room B01, Clore Management Centre
  • Please note: This event is fully subscribed
  • The killing of the South African former model, Reeva Steenkamp, in February 2013 and the trial of her boyfriend, the Paralympian runner Oscar Pistorius, touched on some of the most difficult questions of sexual and racial violence in the twenty-first century
  • Professor Rose will draw on her feminist and psychoanalytic understanding to argue that this is a test case for the humanities, as it pushes us to the limits of contemporary thought.

Extreme Cycling: The Challenges of Understanding Global Element Circulation (Professor Karen Hudson-Edwards)

  • Monday, June 15, 5pm, Room B01, Clore Management Centre
  • Global biogeochemical cycles give vital information to help understand and manage pollution, nutrients and climate change, and to evaluate natural and anthropogenic effects on these issues.
  • Professor Hudson-Edwards will give an overview of the extreme cycling of key nutrients and pollutants, explain the geochemical and mineralogical processes by which these elements are circulated and outline future challenges for research.

Lives That Slide Out of View: Jurisprudence and Poverty (Professor Adam Gearey)

  • Wednesday, June 17, 5pm, Birkbeck, B34, Malet Street
  • Professor Gearey will explore those peculiar figures from Jack London, through to George Orwell and the poverty lawyers of 1960s and 70s who have 'gone underground' and engaged with poverty in the US and the UK.
  • He will pose such probing questions as: What can these accounts of living amongst and acting for 'the poor' tell us about the unwillingness of jurisprudence to deal with social degradation and 'lives that slide out of view'?

Modelling Cognitive Function and Dysfunction (Professor Rick Cooper)

  • Thursday, June 18, 6pm, Room B01, Clore Management Centre
  • Understanding the human mind, given its complexity, requires drawing upon many tools and many sources of evidence.
  • Professor Cooper will discuss how computational modelling of the cognitive processes underlying action and thought, and of how those processes break down following neurological injury, can help shed light on the organization and operation of the mind.

Master of Birkbeck, Professor David Latchman CBE, said:

“I would like to extend my congratulations once again to our new professorial appointees. Inaugural lectures are a firm annual tradition at Birkbeck. While they allow us to celebrate new professorial appointments from across the College’s schools and institutes, they are also an excellent way for the public to engage with people who are at the very forefront of their fields of expertise.

All lectures will be held on campus, and will include open Q&A opportunities. To book a space on an event, click an event title above or below.

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