Queen's College Symposia

It’s good for the mind, good for the soul, and good for the stomach!



The Queen's College Symposia are a collection of talks by MCR and SCR members of the college. They're short and accessible, so whether it's a particular subject that takes your fancy or you simply want to sample the vast cornucopia of Queen's scholarship, please come along! Our guests are also invited to a free dinner afterwards in the Magrath Room.





Queen's College Symposia





Queen's College Symposia

Trinity Term 2018 QCS

Tyrants of Liberty: Goethe’s Warning from the French Revolution

Alexander Mortimore

In 1823, one of Germany’s greatest ever writers and thinkers, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), reflected on the French Revolution as ‘the most terrible of events’. Unlike most of his intellectual contemporaries, Goethe opposed the Revolution from the outset... As early as 1790, he reacted sceptically to the Revolution, and ironically referred to its leading advocates as ‘apostles of freedom’. What did Goethe mean by this phrase? Drawing mainly on his fictional writings on the Revolution, this talk illustrates how Goethe saw the Revolutionaries’ mantra of ‘liberty, equality, fraternity’ as a mere veneer for selfishness and oppression. Instead of seeking the general good, Goethe feared that many were driven by vindictive and self-aggrandising aims. This helps to explain why Goethe did not see the Revolution as ‘progressive’, but as politically, socially, and morally destructive. Furthermore, it shows the perils of those who will not brook opposition in their crusade to do ‘what is right’.

From Eternal Greece to Eternal Greeks: the Photographs of Nelly

Marina Lambrakis

My doctoral research examines the uses of archaeological sites within Modern Greek culture in the 20th century, through the lens of the experiencing body. How are these spaces coded as 'ancient', 'classical', or 'archaeological', and what does that mean for the bodies that come into contact with them? In this talk I will draw on the photography of Elli Souyoultzoglou Seraidari, active 1925-1940. Her work developed and articulated a visual language of Greekness that became part of the nationalist-fascist Metaxas regime (1936-41) but has endured beyond this narrow political context and remains pervasive to this day. I argue that her photographic art used bodily practice to enable and enact a conceptual shift from ‘Eternal Greece’ to ‘Eternal Greeks’—Nelly’s photographs simultaneously work to prove modern Greece’s antiquity and ancient Greece’s modernity, to both international and native audiences.

Dramatic Ecologies of As You Like It

Bill Kroeger

As You Like It’s treatment of forest culture as existential cartography is unique among Shakespeare’s plays. Starting with a story of exile, it challenges its protagonists to negotiate personal and political crises crossing vectors of class, gender, color, and species – all catalyzed by their pastoral experiences of Arden. Locating literary and cultural influences from Ovid to Spenser and Montaigne to the roles of mechanism and literacy in an emerging renaissance episteme, this ecocritical analysis considers character worldviews, relationships, and dramatic encounters as ecological praxes, ways of engaging the world... My presentation will begin with a discussion of ecological theory and ecocritical methodology, for the broad discourse of literary criticism and within the milieu of early modern literature. I will describe each chapter and its character-ecology – drawing on close textual reading, and contextualized by both historical research and theoretical analysis of contemporary relevance. I aim to address the specific, if potentially expansive question: how do As You Like It’s multiple intersecting value systems use ecopoesis to forge responsive subjectivities?

Air quality and why diesel engines are not the main problem

Peter Dobson

The world and especially the UK could make some serious mistakes for regulations that are based on misinformation being put about by lobbyists! We are being told that diesel engines are to blame for somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000 premature deaths in the UK because of particulates and nitrogen oxide emissions... No-one seems to be challenging this and no-one seems to know what is meant by “premature death” and as one examines this assertion it is hard to find any evidence to support it. The Government agency DEFRA has been monitoring air quality for the past 2 decades and all of the gases and particulates, with the exception of ammonia (from farming) have reduced by very large amounts (a factor of 7 to 10) and continue to fall. Diesel engines have improved and are still improving as a result of huge investment. We need more responsibility by the media and more accountability by lobby groups to prove their case. We need to identify what might be causing poor air quality (if it exists) and look at other sources, such as tyre and rail wear, particulates from clothing, cooking, central heating, paints and furnishings including natural emissions.

QCS Picture Gallery

Some memories from previous QCS




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