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Department of Sociology


Upcoming Events


Easter term 2019

lgbtQ+@cam is a new programme launched by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences in 2018 to promote research, outreach and network building related to queer, trans and sexuality studies at the University of Cambridge. View the termcard of events here.

For information about our Outreach events, please click here.

To inform us of your upcoming event, please click here.


Past events

Raewyn Connell

The University and Radical Change

Fri 14 June, 4:30-6pm, Newnham College Cambridge

Prof Raewyn Connell is one of Australia's leading social scientists and authour of "The Good University: What Universities actually do and why it's time for radical change" (Zed Books 2019). Raewyn will be in conversation with Dr Manali Desai, Department of Sociology.

Green Seminar Series

1 May, 8 May, 29 May, 12 June | 12-1:30pm, Cripps Meeting Room 3, Magdelene College

Our aim in launching our Green Seminar Series, chaired by Professor Jennifer Gabrysis to promote a global conversation about environmental research and practice, enabling people to make informed decisions about the issues that matter.

View the seminar list here.

Decolonise Sociology: Open Committee Meetings

Easter term 2019

Meetings this term will be on Wed 1 May (3-4pm) and Wed 15 May (3-4pm) in Room 10, Mill Lane Lecture Halls and Wed 29 May and Wed 12 June (3-4pm) in Room B, 17 Mill Lane. The committee is chaired this term by Dr Manali Desai. All welcome!

Find out more at

Intellectuals and Politics; Historical and Sociological Perspectives

Conference at Selwyn College, Cambridge on 31 May 2019

The aim of this interdisciplinary conference was to bring together sociologists and intellectual historians to explore the intersection between intellectual life and political context. The conference focused on the intersection of the intellectual and political sphere and used specific case-studies to tackle a variety of pressing questions, with the aim of forging new links, strengthening existing partnerships, and promoting cross-fertilization of ideas across both disciplinary and national boundaries.

Download the conference programme here. The conference was organised by Prof Patrick Baert.

Professor Kyung-Sup Chang

The Cultural Logic of Compressed Modernity: South Korea’s (Non)transition from Neotraditionalism to Multiculturalism

Tue 28 May, Room B, 17 Mill Lane. Refreshments from 12:00, Lecture from 12:30.

Professor Kyung-Sup Chang, Seoul National University, and visiting fellow of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge. Read Prof Chang's bio and the full event description here.

Angela Davis in conversation with Jackie Kay

Tuesday 23 April 2019 | Cambridge Corn Exchange

Decolonise Sociology was thrilled to host civil rights activist Angela Davis in conversation with novelist and poet Jackie Kay on Tue 23rd April 2019 at the Cambridge Corn Exchange. You can watch the event recording on Youtube.

This event was co-hosted by the Office for the Vice-Chancellor and co-sponsored by the: Centre for African Studies, Centre for Latin American Studies, Centre for Gender Studies, Faculty of Education, Faculty of History, POLIS, UCU Cambridge, Downing College and Lord Chris Smith, Master of Pembroke.

Lent Termcard 2019

Department of Sociology: Lunchtime Seminar Series

Lent term 2019

The Lunchtime Seminar Series is a showcase of sociological expertise both here in the Cambridge Department of Sociology and further afield. No registration is required, and a free lunch is provided.

This term's series has been co-ordinated by Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley and begins with a lecture from head of Department Prof Sarah Franklin.

Click here to view the full list of lunchtime seminars.

Decolonise Sociology Termcard Lent 2019

Decolonise Sociology: Open Committee Meetings

Lent term 2019

Continuing the conversation into the new term, join students and staff in the effort to decolonise the Sociology department. We invite all those interested to come along and get informed and involved in the work of this committee which is always open to new members!

Join the facebook event for meeting reminders here, and for more information visit the decolonising sociology website.

The committee is chaired this term by Dr Manali Desai.

Challenges of Experimental Government and Public Policy: Evening Seminar Series

Michaelmas and Lent terms 2018/19

This seminar series brings together leading academics, practitioners and policy makers to provide empirical evidence, case studies and field stories of how they go about responding to international health crises, diplomatic incidents to designing and implementing public policy as well as researching and documenting the everyday experiences of poverty and deprivation in modern society.

Each of the 10 seminars is hosted by the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge. No registration is required, if you have any queries please contact Dr Adam Coutts.

Funding kindly provided by the Health Foundation and the RCUK, Global Challenges Research Fund grant: Research for health in conflict (R4HC).

Click here to view the Michaelmas and Lent term Seminars

The Media Commons

Book Launch: The Media Commons and Social Movements. Grassroots Mediations Against  Neoliberal Politics.

Dr Jorge Saavedra Utman, Lecturer in Media, Culture and Society

Tuesday 5th March 2019 | 5 – 6pm | Room B, 17 Mill Lane (Cambridge, CB2 1RX)

Discussants: Dr Abeyamí Ortega and Dr David Lehmann

After the book launch and panel discussion there will be a drinks reception at the Department of Sociology (16 Mill Lane).

The Prism of Race

Book Launch: The Prism of Race. The Politics and Ideology of Affirmative Action in Brazil. 

Dr David Lehmann, Emeritus Reader, Social Science & former Director, Centre of Latin American Studies, University of Cambridge

Tuesday 22 January 2019 | 5 – 7pm | Room 9, Mill Lane Lecture Rooms (8 Mill Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1RX)

Discussants: Peter Wade, Social Anthropology, University of Manchester; Mónica Moreno Figueroa, Sociology, Cambridge & Pedro Mendes Loureiro, Centre of Latin American Studies, Cambridge
Chair: Maria Lúcia Pallares-Burke, Research Associate, Cambridge

Jo Cox Memorial Lecture

Annual Jo Cox Memorial Lecture

29th November 2018 | 5:00pm | Murray Edwards College, Cambridge

The Department of Sociology and Murray Edwards College jointly presented this annual memorial lecture to honour the memory of Jo Cox MP, a former student of Social and Political Sciences at Cambridge and committed politician, wife and mother.

The lecture was delivered by Kathryn Perera (NHS Horizons), who worked with Jo Cox on her loneliness initiative, and is titled "All the Lonely People? The Gender Politics of Social Isolation". A livestream of the event is available to view here.

50 Years Poster

50 Years of Sociology

12-13th November 2018 | Memorial Court, Clare College, Cambridge

We invited current and former students and staff from across the university to celebrate 50 years of sociological study at the University of Camrbidge; and to join in conversation and collective imagination about what the future may hold for sociology and for society.

The conference featured a keynote lecture from Professor Patricia Hill Collins in addition to a range of panels that reflected on the past, present and future of the discipline, as well as key issues such as inequalities, changing political economies, institutional change and decolonisation.

Video recordings of the conference sessions can be found on the dedicated anniversary website.

Reprosoc Fourth Annual Lecture

On Separation: Reproduction in Migra-Political Times

The Fourth Annual ReproSoc Lecture | Professor Charis Thompson

1st November 2018 | 5:00pm | The Pitt Building, Cambridge

In this talk, Charis Thompson presented her recent work advocating the addition of a migrapolitical lens to biopolitical and necropolitical ways of understanding the differential valuing of contemporary human life. With reference to her own concept of selective pronatalism, and in conversation with other bio- and necropolitical work on stratified reproduction, reproductive justice, selecting societies, and queer reproductions, Thompson argues for the importance of considering migration as foundational, with birth and death, to a new sociology of reproduction. To illustrate, she does a close reading of the concept of ‘separation’ as a kinship and family term, and argues that its current political salience in regard to migration can help us understand and potentially influence the role that migrapolitics play more generally in kinship and reproduction.

Join via the Facebook event here.

Marx in a high technology era

Marx in a High Technology Era: Globalisation, Capital and Class

26-27th October 2018 | Free

This two-day conference featured four panels and a roundtable, themed around Marxism and contemporary issues in the digital era, as well as the launch of Sergey Bodrunov's new book "Noonomy".

You can download the full conference programme here.

For enquires please contact: Prajakti Kalra, Centre for Development Studies


Transpositions (Festival of Ideas)

24th October 2018 | 8pm-10pm | Free

In honour of the work of Nobel-prize winning plant scientist Barbara McClintock, we celebrated her key concept of ‘Transpositions’ in an evening of performance, ritual, and artistic exchanges. Responding to ReproSoc's Reproductivities exhibition at Murray Edwards College, performance artist Sophie Seita reflected on the concept and choreography of transposition, queer kinship, and corn as a queer plant, and the cross-pollinating possibilities of flowery metaphors and of planting queer objects.

Read more about the Transpositions performance here. You can also find out more about the Reproductivities exhibition and Life in Glass project on their website.


The Social Life of Work

12-13th October 2018, £20/£40

Registration is now open for 'The Social Life of Work', an interdisciplinary conference on work and social inequalities. The conference will engage with qualitative scholarship on waged and unwaged work as well as repudiation of work, particularly in but not limited to the Global South. Twelve presenters from Sociology, Social Anthropology, History, Geography, International Development, and Gender Studies will bring their varied disciplinary approaches to this exciting discussion.

To see the full programme and register, please visit To express interest and for any queries, please contact Asiya Islam on

Department of Sociology: Lunchtime Seminar Series

Michaelmas term 2018

The Lunchtime Seminar Series is a showcase of sociological expertise both here in the Cambridge Department of Sociology and further afield. No registration is required, and a free lunch is provided.

Click here to view the full list of lunchtime seminars.

BOOK LAUNCH: Your Freedom and Mine: Abdullah Ocalan and the Kurdish Question in Turkey

11th July 2018 | 6.30-8.30 pm | SOAS, Russell Square, College Main Building, Room DLT, WC1H 0XG

BOOK LAUNCH, special event marking the release of Your Freedom and Mine: Abdullah Öcalan and the Kurdish Question in Erdoğan's Turkey. Edited by Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley and Dr Federico Venturini.

Speakers include: Dimitrios Roussopoulos political activist, ecologist, and publisher; Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley lecturer of political sociology at the University of Cambridge; Dr Radha D’Souza Reader in law at Westminster University; Julie Ward MEP (TBC); Jonathan Steele veteran journalist and author; Simon Dubbins UNITE international director; Joe Ryan Chair, Westminster Justice and Peace Commission. In addition, Adem Uzun, member of the Executive Council of the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK), will send a video-message.

The event will be chaired by: Dr Federico Venturini independent activist-researcher.

Bookings are available here.

The Risk Perception of Artificial Intelligence

2nd July 2018 | 12-1 pm | 17 Mill Lane, Room E

Artificial Intelligence became a popular term in the last years. As any other technology, lay people and specialists perceive that it may undesired effects for humans. But, the range of such undesired effects is large and has been shaped by different social forces, in particular, by scientists, philosophers, and other intellectuals. The aim of this presentation is to show an overview of the risk perceptions related to AI and how they turned to be so.


Vessel - Film Screening on Abortion Activism

29th June 2018

Murray Edwards College, Cambridge

Vessel is a documentary film by Diana Whitten about the work of Women on Waves, a Dutch pro-choice organisation founded by the physician Dr Rebecca Gomperts.

The film focuses on the work of Women on Waves and follows Gomperts as she sails a ship around the world and provides abortions at sea for women who have no legal alternative. Through years of successes and setbacks, we witness her create an underground network of emboldened, informed activists who trust women to handle abortion themselves.

We will be joined by Gomperts, who will give a presentation prior to the screening about abortion politics today, including a reflection on the recent referendum in Ireland. There will be a Q&A afterwards.

Click the image to view the trailer. Click here to book a place.

Doors open: 5.45
Event start: 6.00

There will be drinks and nibbles.

Free screening. Suggested donation £5 for Women on Waves.

Remaking Reproduction: The Global Politics of Reproductive Technologies

27-29th June 2018

Murray Edwards College, Cambridge

The rapid global growth of the fertility industry is one of the most significant contexts of contemporary social change, and these changes are the subject of an increasing amount of social research. This conference is designed both to consolidate core themes in the social study of reproductive technologies and to showcase new research, especially by early career scholars and doctoral students. Our core themes are designed to bring together old and new approaches to the study of reproduction, technology and society at a time when the politics of reproduction globally are changing rapidly. 

Throughout the conference, we will be running concurrent panels where you will have a chance to respond to the conference themes and share your research on reproduction. The paper panels will be divided across six themed streams: Race, Nation and Reproduction; Reproductive Bodies and Cultures; Changing In/Fertilities; Making New Biologies; Reproductive Futures; and Mediated Reproduction. Please consider which stream(s) your paper might fit best with when submitting your abstract.

Spain: Social Movements between Past and Present

Friday 8th June 2018 | Registration: 8.30 am |Room 9, History Faculty, Sidgwick Site

You are invited to discuss and share opinions of the social movements of Spain. Attendance is open and free to all, but please register by 4th June. If you wish to attend please email Tiago or Roseanna at or

For more information about the event and timings for the day, please click here.


Cambridge Series 20: Freezing Fertility, How Reproductive Ageing is changing in the 21st century

Sunday 3rd June 2018 | 11.30am | Starlight Stage

Dr Lucy van de Wiel, a research associate at Reprosoc, will be speaking at the Hay Festival this weekend as part of the Cambridge Series. She will be discussing how reproductive ageing is changing in the 21st century. Read more about her talk and book your ticket here:

 Click the title to view pictures from this event

Cambridge Series 4: Digital Fakery and its Consequences

Saturday 26th May 2018 | 1pm | Good Energy Stage

Drawing on her research about human rights reporting in the digital age, Dr Ella MacPherson argues that digital fakery’s consequences for democracy arise not because we are duped, but because of what we do to not be duped. Chaired by Rachael Jolley, editor of Index on Censorship.

Buy your ticket here:

For more information about the Hay Festival, click here.

The Political Economy of the Kurds of Turkey. From the Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic

17th May 2018 | 5-7pm | Mill Lane Lecture Theatre Room 1

Please join us for a presentation and discussion of Veli Yadirgi's timely new book, The Political Economy of the Kurds of Turkey. Yadirgi analyses the socioeconomic and political structures and transformations of the Kurdish people from the Ottoman era through to the modern Turkish Republic, arguing that there is a symbiotic relationship between the Kurdish question and the de-development of the predominantly Kurdish domains, making an ideal read for historians of the region and those studying the socio-political and economic evolution of the Kurds. First outlining theoretical perspectives on Kurdish identity, socioeconomic development and the Kurdish question, Yadirgi then explores the social, economic and political origins of Ottoman Kurdistan following its annexation by the Ottomans in 1514. Finally, he deals with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, and the subsequent foundation and evolution of the Kurdish question in the new Turkish Republic. 

Veli Yadirgi holds a B.A. in Philosophy (King’s College, London), an MSc. in Global Politics (LSE), and a PhD (SOAS), and has worked as a political correspondent and editor in different media companies in Europe. His doctoral dissertation was entitled ‘The Political Economy of the Kurdish Question in Turkey: De-development in Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia’. His expertise and research interests include: Political, Economic and Social History of Turkey and the Middle East with special reference to the Kurdish Question in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria; Politics and Development Economics of the Countries of the Middle East; Social Change; and Social Theory. Veli is a member of the London Middle East Institute, the Centre for Ottoman Studies and Neoliberalism, Globalisation and States (all at SOAS). His most recent publication is The Political Economy of the Kurds of Turkey: From the Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic. (Cambridge University Press, 2017).

White Bound: Nationalists, Antiracists, and the Shared Meanings of Race

14th May 2018 | 5pm | Room 1 Mill Lane Lecture Rooms

Discussions of race are inevitably fraught with tension, both in opinion and positioning. Too frequently, debates are framed as clear points of opposition—us versus them. And when considering white racial identity, a split between progressive movements and a neoconservative backlash is all too frequently assumed. Taken at face value, it would seem that whites are splintering into antagonistic groups, with differing worldviews, values, and ideological stances. 

White Bound investigates these dividing lines, questioning the very notion of a fracturing whiteness, and in so doing offers a unique view of white racial identity. 

Dr. Matthew Hughey (Associate Professor, University of Connecticut) spent over a year attending the meetings, reading the literature, and interviewing members of two white organizations—a white nationalist group and a white antiracist group. Though he found immediate political differences, he observed surprising similarities related to how both groups make meaning of race and whiteness. His talk will examine these similarities to illuminate not just the many ways of being white, but how these actors make meaning of whiteness in ways that collectively reproduce both white identity and, ultimately, white supremacy.

"Foreign Girls Come to London": Residency, Travel and Abortion Access, 1960-1975 - Professor Christabelle Sethna

11th May 2018 | 12:30 - 2pm | Room E, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge

Travel is one of the central barriers to abortion access; the further a woman has to travel for an abortion, the less likely she is to obtain one and the more likely she is to be young and underprivileged. Yet, this kind of travel persists. Often conducted over long range and across domestic and international borders, “abortion tourism” remains a commonplace transnational phenomenon. Today, the case of Irish women who travel to the UK to access legal abortion services is familiar to many. However, travel for abortion services has a much longer history.

This presentation is based on Christabelle Sethna’s research, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, which tracks women’s domestic and international travel for abortion services. It focuses on the complex transnational geopolitical and biopolitical issues raised once women began to travel to Britian for abortion services after the passage of the 1967 Abortion Act, a piece of legislation that did not include residency qualifications. The presentation explores the reasons why non-national women travelled to Britain, and to London in particular, for legal abortions in the 1960s and 1970s and discusses the transgressive relationships that exist between the crossing of sexual, legal and geographical borders. The presentation also opens up for timely consideration the fraught meanings of residency and travel across borders in the UK.

Dr. Christabelle Sethna is Professor in the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies, University of Ottawa. She is a historian who researches the history of sex education, contraception and abortion as well as animal representations. Her latest book, co-authored with Steve Hewitt, is Just Watch Us: RCMP Surveillance of the Women’s Liberation Movement in Cold War Canada (McGill-Queen’s University Press 2018).

Re-mediating ‘the Human’: Intuition, Digital Culture and New Social Movements 

3rd May 2018 | 4.30-6pm | Mill Lane Lecture Room 1

With the rise of new digital and smart technologies, ‘the human’ itself is being radically re-mediated.  For some, this is problematic: digitally colonized by global capitalism at the level of affect, gesture and habit, it is argued, we are now locked into cycles of mindless consumption and thus increasingly politically disaffected.  There are also, however, more hopeful visions of these new digital modes of personhood: Michel Serres (2015), for example, argues that, in delegating habits of mental synthesizing and processing to digital technologies, millennials have cleared cognitive space for the development of a more ‘intuitive’ mode of being-in-the-world.  A key term in continental philosophy, as well as contemporary theories of affect, habit and media ecologies, intuition offers a form of sensorial engagement with ‘the pre-emergent’ or that which is in process.  While there is no necessary link between intuition and progressive social change, this paper explores the significant resonances between the ‘intuitive digital subjects’ that Serres imagines and the logics and sensibilities of new social movements such as Occupy and Black Lives Matter.  Vitally enabled by digital technologies and forms of technè, these activisms, I argue, practice ‘pre-figurative politics’: they combine a tendency to oppose exploitation and oppression with a capacity to sense change as it is happening and thus remain radically open to alternative futures.

Carolyn Pedwell is Reader in Cultural Studies at the University of Kent, where she is Head of Cultural Studies and Media.  Carolyn has been Visiting Fellow at the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, University of Sydney; the Centre for the History of Emotions, Queen Mary, University of London; and the Gender Institute, London School of Economics.  She is the author of Affective Relations: The Transnational Politics of Empathy (Palgrave, 2014) and Feminism, Culture and Embodied Practice (Routledge, 2010). Her new book, Transforming Habit: Revolution, Routine and Social Change, is under contract with McGill-Queen’s University Press. Carolyn is also an Editor of Feminist Theory journal. 

Confrontation? Doing Feminist and Anti-Racist Work in Institutions, A Panel Discussion

1st May 2018 | 4-6pm | Lecture Theatre 1 (Room 1), Mill Lane Lecture Theatres
How can we confront institutions about their role in perpetuating violence and work to make institutions more open and inclusive spaces? 

In this panel we explore some of the paradoxes and difficulties of doing feminist and anti-racist work within institutions. Even when institutions claim to be committed to equality they are often deeply unequal and hierarchical spaces. A feminist and anti-racist project is to transform the institutions in which we work. The aim of transforming institutions is still however an institutional project: we often have to work through the structures we seek to dismantle. When our political work is resourced or supported by an institution does it become more difficult to confront the institution? Does following procedures or working in house constrain the kinds of work we can do? If for strategic reasons we try to avoid confrontation what else are we avoiding? And how and why are some of us perceived as being confrontational however we are doing the work?

The panel will be a chance to talk from as well as about our experiences of doing feminist and anti-racist work. We will consider who does (and does not) do the work of trying to transform institutions and how these distributions of labour can reproduce inequalities. We will discuss the costs of doing (and not doing) this labour and reflect on how institutions can exhaust us and wear us out. The panel will open up a discussion of how we can confront problems of institutional racism, institutional sexism (including sexual harassment and sexual misconduct) as well as institutional bullying. 

Speakers include:
Sara Ahmed
Monica Moreno Figueroa
Lola Olufemi
Tiffany Page
Leila Whitley

This is a launch event for a new feminist counter-institutional initiative FFF
FFF Fighting For Feminism
FFF When feminism is what we stand for 


LGBTQ+@Cambridge Presents...Queer Kinships

April 25th 2018, 3pm 

The Pitt Building and Pembroke College

Join us for an afternoon of talks on Queer Kinships from Sarah Franklin, Robert Pralat and Marcin Smietana. Coffee will be served at 3pm, and the talks will start at 3:30. Afterwards there will be a drinks reception, and you are warmly welcome to join us for a production of Scene, a play by Cambridge's Lola Olufemi and Martha Krish which is currently playing at Camden People's Theatre in London. All are welcome, feel free to share the poster. Please note, places at the play are free but limited, so it will be first come first served. RSVP to:


Post-Truth Teach-Out! Conference

15th - 17th March 2018

The post-truth phenomenon, ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief,’ as defined by Oxford Dictionaries, has been the subject of much instant commentary – though little academic analysis. This series of teach-out events and conference are an opportunity to consolidate and advance our understanding of the post-truth phenomenon through collaborative activities and interdisciplinary conversation.

For more information about the conference, click here.

The Technology and New Media Research Cluster

Our next session will be on Friday 9th March, 12-1.30 pm in Room G of 17 Mill Lane with Dr Jana Bacevic 'On the Land of Dark Ontology'. All are welcome to attend.

Queries can be directed to Amarpreet Kaur (

CUQM Annual Lecture 2018

This year the Cambridge Undergraduate Quantitative Methods Centre is delighted to welcome Branwen Jeffreys (BBC Education Editor) to give the CUQM Annual Lecture 2018, on “Data & A Journalist’s Sense of Smell”.

The Annual Lecture will be taking place in Bateman Auditorium, Gonville & Caius College. Thursday 1 March, 17:00-18:30, followed by a Wine Reception

Science as Affective, Embodied and Material Relations

Mianna Meskus

21st February 2018 | 12:30 - 2pm

Seminar Room, Department of Sociology, Free School Lane, Cambridge

This talk addresses “scientific craftwork” in the use of human biological material for the benefit of biomedicine, innovation and patients’ health. A revolutionary cellular reprogramming technique has made it possible to turn human skin and blood cells into pluripotent stem cells, thus providing an unprecedented opportunity to study the pathophysiology of diseases, understand human developmental biology, and generate new therapies. Using the so called iPS cell technology as a point of entry, I examine how the foundations of biomedical knowledge production lie in embodied skill and affective engagement with cellular research material. Combining relational materialism and pragmatist philosophy of experience, I develop the idea of an instrumentality-care continuum as a core dynamic of biomedical craft, involving both researchers and patients as tissue donors. This continuum opens up a novel perspective to the commercialization and industrial-scale appropriation of human biology, and thereby to the future of ethical biomedical research.

Digital Fakery and its Consequences

Dr Ella McPherson, Cambridge Sociology Department.

A Postcolonial Rethinking of the State and Nation: From Comparative to Connected Sociologies

Professor Gurminder Bhambra, University of Essex.