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Events

The Department of Sociology host various events throughout the year. Please find below a list of our upcoming events.


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.

For information about our Outreach events, please click here.

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

 

Past events

Spain: Social Movements between Past and Present

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

You're 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 tmlc3@cam.ac.uk or rw561@cam.ac.uk.

 

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: https://bit.ly/2LFtalh

 

Click the title or image to view pictures from the 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: https://bit.ly/2KGr4Qw

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: hls56@cam.ac.uk

posttruthconference

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 (ak997@cam.ac.uk)

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 https://goo.gl/vXmrdf

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.