British Academy

The British Academy is an independent national academy of Fellows elected for their eminence in research and publication. It is the UK's expert body that supports and speaks for the humanities and social sciences.

Venue Type:

Association or society

Opening hours

08:00 - 19:00.

Admission charges

There is no entry charge.

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

Keeping a spotless mind: The neuroscience of 'motivated forgetting'

  • 17 September 2015 6-7:15pm

People usually consider forgetting to be a problem—a human frailty to be avoided and overcome. Yet, a memory system that works too well burdens us with irrelevant and distracting information, and makes it difficult to adapt in the aftermath of unpleasant life experiences. Neuroscience has increasingly recognized that a healthy memory benefits from the ability to forget, and has established the existence of active mechanisms that foster forgetting of unwanted memories. Join Professor Anderson as he discusses research revealing how the brain accomplishes motivated forgetting, and how these brain mechanisms shape what we remember of life experience, protecting our mental health.

About the speaker:
Michael Anderson is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge. His work focuses on human memory, particularly on the brain mechanisms underlying people’s ability to actively forget. His work has appeared in Nature and Science, has been featured in the New York Times, Scientific American, the New Scientist and BBC.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Website

http://www.britac.ac.uk/events/2015/Keeping_a_spotless_mind.cfm

Transatlantic Barthes

  • 30 September 2015 6-7:30pm

To celebrate the centenary of the renowned philosopher Roland Barthes, US and French experts discuss the two-way traffic in ideas and images that has accompanied Barthes from the heyday of French structuralism to the present. One of the most significant and creative French intellectuals of the second half of the twentieth century, Barthes continues to influence cultural debate on both sides of the Atlantic. But what was Barthes for America and what was America for Barthes? How has he been perceived, and to what extent did he project himself, as a 'French' thinker and writer?

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Website

http://www.britac.ac.uk/events/2015/Transatlantic_Barthes.cfm

State, society and economy: Perspectives on African Constitutions

  • 1 October 2015 6-7:15pm

Over a hundred and thirty years ago Africa was carved up by European powers, and colonial constitutions replaced traditional modes of governance. On independence, about 75 years later, African states acquired new constitutions--the antithesis of the colonial constitution. Independence constitutions did not last long, replaced by either military rule or one party constitution. The end of the Cold War heralded a new era of democracy. The lecture will explore the reciprocal influences of state, society and economy,and constitutions. It will consider whether there are some distinct African features of these constitutions.

About the speaker:
Yash Ghai, a Kenyan, taught law at in various countries, starting his career at University of East Africa (1963), and ending at University of Hong Kong (2006). In between he helped several countries to make their constitutions, often mediating between warring factions. Currently he is a director of the Katiba Institute in Kenya, a civil society organisation dedicated to the implementation of the 2010 Constitution.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Website

http://www.britac.ac.uk/events/2015/State_society_and_economy.cfm

Interdisciplinary Barthes

  • 1 — 2 October 2015 9:15am-5:15pm

The writings of Roland Barthes (1915–1980) have provided multiple incitements to the creative crossing of disciplinary boundaries — between, for example, history, philosophy, literature, linguistics, semiology, sociology, music, film, painting and photography. By engaging with his own interdisciplinary texts, and with the concepts, figures and metaphors through which he opened up new critical pathways, speakers will assess the enduring stimulus Barthes offers to intellectually adventurous work across the human sciences — not least through posthumous publications and the newly accessible Roland Barthes Archive.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

Registration fee: £50 (£20 students/unwaged/retired)

Website

http://www.britac.ac.uk/events/2015/Interdisciplinary_Barthes.cfm

Economic impossibilities for our grandchildren?

  • 7 October 2015 6-7:15pm

Prominent economists have recently revived the hypothesis that ‘secular stagnation’ – negligible or zero economic growth – could lead to permanently depressed economies, in the absence of appropriate policy counter-measures. This lecture will take a historical look at the origins of this hypothesis and its plausibility, and will speculate about its relevance for policy-makers today.

About the speaker:
Kevin Hjortshøj O’Rourke is the Chichele Professor of Economic History at All Souls College Oxford, and Research Director of the Centre for Economic Policy Research. He has worked extensively on the history of the international economy.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Website

http://www.britac.ac.uk/events/2015/Economic_impossibilities_for_our_grandchildren.cfm

Energy and ethics: What are the costs to future generations in an unequal world?

  • 14 October 2015 From 6pm

How much are you prepared to pay for energy? Not just in terms of money now, but also the cost to other nations and future generations? Would you be prepared to join forces with your community to generate or access energy? 

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Where

ALEX Design Centre
Swansea
Wales

Website

http://www.britac.ac.uk/events/2015/energy-and-ethics.cfm

Water, water everywhere - even at Petra

  • 15 October 2015 6-7:15pm

… match me such marvel save in Eastern clime,
a rose-red city half as old as time (J.W. Burgon, 1845)

Burgon never saw Petra, but he has forever painted the site for us in the desert palette of its Eastern clime. The nature of that clime is clear. In our imaginary Petra appears, like the ‘rocks’ of its name, as dry as a bone.

Quite wrong. Water was everywhere, deployed for survival and for show. Archaeological work has rehydrated this landscape and now argues we look to the astonishing hydraulic systems of the past for solutions to present (and future) scarcities.

Image: David Roberts, El Deir, Petra

About the speaker:
Susan E. Alcock (Ph.D. 1989, University of Cambridge) is Director of the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World and Joukowsky Family Professor in Archaeology at Brown University. A classical archaeologist, with interests in the material culture of the Hellenistic and Roman eastern Mediterranean, much of her research to date has revolved around themes of landscape, imperialism, sacred space, and memory. She is presently co-directing the Brown University Petra Archaeological Project (BUPAP), exploring numerous aspects of the urban site and rural hinterland of Petra in southern Jordan.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Website

http://www.britac.ac.uk/events/2015/Water_water_everywhere.cfm

Classics?

  • 4 November 2015 6-7:15pm

Mary Beard is one of Britain’s best-known Classicists: her BBC TV series Meet the Romans aired in 2012, and she writes an engaging and thought-provoking blog, A Don’s Life. In this lecture, Professor Beard will offer some reflections on the study of Classics today, nationally and internationally, now and in the future – from philology to interdisciplinarity, from nostalgia to impact.

About the speaker: Mary Beard CBE FBA is Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Newnham College.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Website

http://www.britac.ac.uk/events/2015/Classics.cfm

Language in Italy in the 21st Century

  • 19 November 2015 9:30am-6:15pm

The symposium aims to take stock of the conflicting pressures — cultural and historical, political and social, digital and technological — which have influenced language in Italy in recent times, and by so doing to redraw the linguistic map of the modern nation. Sub-themes include the recent history of Italian, the role of the dialects and regional varieties, the presence of immigrant languages, Italian in the media and on the internet, and the consequences of bilingualism. The list of speakers includes specialists from Italy, the UK and Europe and brings together senior scholars and leading figures among the new generation of researchers.

Participants include:
Professor Paola Benincà, University of Padua
Professor Walter Breu, University of Konstanz
Professor Mari D’Agostino, University of Palermo
Professor Tullio De Mauro, University of Rome “La Sapienza”
Dr Francesco Goglia, University of Exeter
Professor Nicoletta Maraschio , University of Florence
Dr Emanuele Miola, University of Milano-Bicocca
Professor Mair Parry, University of Bristol
Dr Marco Tamburelli, Bangor University

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Website

http://www.britac.ac.uk/events/2015/Language_in_Italy_in_the_21st_Century.cfm

Thinkers for our Time: Sigmund Freud

  • 25 November 2015 6-7:30pm

Chaired by Professor Laura Marcus FBA, University of Oxford

The work of Freud has shaped ideas, discussion and social discourse since the start of the twentieth century. Join us as we revisit his key ideas and the influence they have had on society over the past hundred years. This event is the first in a new series re-thinking the life and works of influential historical figures from across the Academy’s disciplines.

Speakers:

Professor Stephen Frosh, Birkbeck, University of London
Dr Ankhi Mukherjee, University of Oxford
Dr Shohini Chaudhuri, University of Essex
Dr Jana Funke, University of Exeter

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Website

http://www.britac.ac.uk/events/2015/Sigmund_Freud.cfm#talk

Theology and the tragic: a debate revisited

  • 1 December 2015 6-7:15pm

Studies of tragic drama still refer from time to time to the argument that a theological/ religious worldview is inherently anti-tragic. The debate has drawn in figures as diverse as Helen Gardner, George Steiner and Terry Eagleton, as well as theologians like Donald MacKinnon. Recent studies of tragedy have complicated the issue further by questioning essentialist models of tragic drama or narrative, while a growing number of theologians have made use of dramatic categories. This lecture will attempt to see how the discussion has moved on, and how newer accounts of the tragic suggest different theological possibilities.

About the speaker:
Rowan Williams is Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, and served as Archbishop of Canterbury from 2002 to 2012. He is the author of a number of books on the frontiers of
theology, philosophy and literary studies, as well as several volumes of poetry. He is a Fellow of the Academy and of the Royal Society of Literature.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Website

http://www.britac.ac.uk/events/2015/Theology_and_the_tragic.cfm

Thomas Cromwell re-imagined

  • 3 December 2015 6-7:30pm

Thomas Cromwell remains one of the most controversial characters of the Tudor age. Just as in his own time, he makes enthusiastic friends and bitter enemies. Join author Hilary Mantel, actor Ben Miles, and Historian Diarmaid MacCulloch as they come together to explore and discuss this elusive but important Tudor.

Speakers:

Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch FBA, University of Oxford
Hilary Mantel, author, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies
Ben Miles, actor, portrayed Thomas Cromwell in the RSC production of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Where

The Priory Church of the Order of St John
St John's Square
London
EC1V 4JL

Website

http://www.britac.ac.uk/events/2015/Thomas_Cromwell.cfm

British Academy
10-11 Carlton House Terrace
London
Greater London
SW1Y 5AH
England

Website

www.britac.ac.uk/index.cfm

E-mail

press@britac.ac.uk

Telephone

020 7969 5200

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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