Think Kent lecture videos
Think Kent provides a series of short videos which give an overview of our academics and their research and teaching expertise. The series of videos provides an insight into some of the areas of research which our world-leading academics are investigating and which play a key role in forming the internationally revelant education which is characteristic of the international learning experience at Kent. By viewing some of these video lectures, you will have an opportunity to see the breadth of our curriculum and wide range of academic expertise within the Kent community.
School of Architecture
Sauf aux Riverains: the riverine memorial of Georges-Henri Pingusson
At the extreme eastern end of the Ile de la Cité, behind the chevet of the cathedral of Notre Dame, you find a low concrete mass split in two places by narrow stairs. Descending, you pass between a pair of concrete ‘grindstones’ and arrive at a hard, concrete courtyard, hemmed in by bush-hammered walls. Above, the sky; while ahead, you see and hear the Seine rushing past, its waters virtually level with the pavement at your feet. This was the scene designed by the French architect Georges-Henri Pingusson (1894-1978), a late masterpiece completed in 1962. The external sunken courtyard leads to a labyrinth of cave-like spaces that tunnel beneath the tip of the island; the whole ensemble is the monument to the deported, the place of ‘collective memory’ for Paris to remember those of its citizens, largely Jews, who - during the German occupation in the Second World War – were rounded up and deported, eventually east to the extermination camps in the Reich.
Architects as Failures and Losers
Architectural history and criticism tend to emphasise the innovatory and the successful. But in fact, most buildings are not innovative, and being considered a success at the time of construction is no guide to significance. If we are to have something to say about the great majority of buildings that go up, we have to cast the net wider and welcome different ways of telling their stories. This talk suggests other ways in which we can have a debate about architecture.
School of Arts
Documentary landscapes of the Holocaust
This talk focuses on a group of documentaries filmed in Poland and portraying journeys of postmemory to the sites of Jewish life before the war and Jewish destruction during the Holocaust. Articulated by Marianne Hirsch as a form of memory by imagination - rather than by recall - experienced by the children of Holocaust survivors, the concept of postmemory will be used to investigate the ways in which these cinematic journeys enact a strategy for the acquisition of knowledge and bring to the present and to reality what had belonged to the past and to myth.
Why Watch War in the Theatre?
The ‘war of images’ is a field of combat that can be as powerful as armed conflict. Spectacle, rhetoric, décor, choreography and mise en scène are essential weapons in warfare. Moreover, today, spectacle and conflict have joined forces via audio-visual technologies in ways that are more powerful than ever. How, then, has theatre ‘reclaimed’ these theatrical components?
In this talk, Clare Finburgh, author of Watching War on the Twenty-First-Century Stage: Spectacles of Conflict (2017), asks how can theatre present possibilities for a more informed engagement with how spectacles of war are produced and circulated.
Narratives for India’s Modernity: The Aesthetic of BM Anand
A trenchant critic of both British Imperium and Indian militarism, Brij Mohan Anand’s highly politicised aesthetic tracked aspects of India’s emergence from Partition, Independence and its journey through the technological challenges of the Cold War and the complex modernity of the later twentieth century.
An accomplished and principally self-taught artist, BM Anand (1928-1986), fashioned an exceptional range of work, from scratchboards, sketches, genre scenes, pastoral images and starkly modernist figure compositions to a series of late, apocalyptic landscapes.
Centre for English and World Languages
Academic writing: an imbalanced relationship?
For far too long, and in spite of educational movements to redress the situation, the relationship between the academy and the aspiring academic writer (particularly those whose first language is not English) has been one of imbalance. Without trying to negate the 'master-student' relationship, a more constructive and humanistic approach to academic writing may be called for: that of 'partnership'.
School of English
5 Reasons You Should Go For A Run Today
There is a reason that 70s Kung Fu icon Bruce Lee called running ‘the king of all exercises’. The problem seems to be that many of us have forgotten how to do it and have since begun to associate it with negative and unpleasant feelings (anyone who has run for a bus will know what I mean). But it doesn’t have to be this way. Once you learn how to run (the main lesson seems to be that beginners don’t do it slowly enough) there is a world of physiological, psychological, neurological, immunological, even environmental benefits waiting for you which this talk will introduce you to.
Indian Ocean Journeys
Fra Mauro’s Mappa Mundi (1448-53) was one of the earliest maps to imagine the Indian Ocean as open waters rather than closed in by a southern land-mass. There are many remarkable matters concerning the map, but perhaps most interesting is its representation of the Indian Ocean as so thoroughly knowable and interlinked, as a world connected and enriched by travel and by stories.
Beirut, Lebanon and White Flags: A Short Introduction
White flags are usually taken to be signs of truce or surrender. This lecture, based on the experience of making an arts documentary entitled White Flags in the context of post-conflict Lebanon, explores how Lebanese citizens from different professional and religious backgrounds bring a range of conceptual, ethical and artistic meanings to the white flag. This atypical flag may be considered to unfurl here as a marker of utopian yet realistic initiatives towards the peaceful rebuilding of civil societies shattered by violent allegiances.
School of European Culture and Languages
Life as a Sociolinguist
Most English speakers are aware of differences in speech varieties, be they geographical (Geordie vs. Cockney), social (‘posh’ v ‘working-class’ accents), or stylistic (all of us modify our speech according to our circumstances and audience). So it was surprising that sociolinguistics, which explores the relationship between language and society, was not considered an important area of study until the 1960s. In this lecture, David Hornsby explores some early sociolinguistic findings, and then considers the more complex questions that sociolinguists are currently asking.
Mindfulness and the Buddhist Tradition
In the early twenty-first century mindfulness meditation has become all the rage being widely adopted in health care systems, the business world and the military. This talk explores traditional Buddhist understandings of mental training (bhavana), factors affecting the transformation of Buddhist meditative practice in the twentieth-century and finally, offers some comparative remarks regarding traditional Buddhist and modern secular accounts of mindfulness.
The Roman Empire: Migration & Mobility
Migration is the key challenge of the 21st century, but almost 2,000 years ago in the Roman Empire, migration rates were higher than those in Europe today. In this lecture, Professor Ray Laurence, Professor of Roman History and Archaeology at the University of Kent, examines how the Roman Empire enabled the mobility of both the forces of the state and of its subjects.
Does religious unbelief exist?
The past 10 years have witnessed rapidly growing interest in atheism and other forms of religious ‘unbelief’. But underlying these phenomena and our interest in them is a paradox. What is it exactly that we are interested in? After all, aren’t atheism and unbelief not phenomena in themselves, so much as they are ways of describing the absence of other phenomena – belief in God, or other religious beliefs? And if unbelief does not exist in any meaningful way, why do have so much to say about it?
Responsibility is a familiar concept that we employ in a variety of everyday contexts. Yet, on reflection, many of our familiar intuitions about responsibility are difficult to reconcile. In this talk, Dr Lubomira Radoilska identifies and explores four major puzzles that derive from current thinking about responsibility. She then shows how they could be addressed by rethinking responsibility on the model of authorship.
A History of Cuba
Dr Rowlandson introduces his research into Cuban history, leading to his particular focus on the early revolutionary period. He evaluates a number of non-Cuban authors, such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Ernest Hemingway, Graham Greene, Susan Sontag, LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka), Allen Ginsberg, Julio Cortázar and Gabriel García Márquez and their relationship with the Cuban Revolution in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
School of History
Not so silent nights: The 1914 Christmas Truce
The famous Christmas Truce of 1914 now looms large in public perceptions of the First World War. As a moment of fraternization and reconciliation between enemies, it is portrayed as an event which shows the full futility of the Great War. However, the reality was much more complex. In this lecture, Professor Mark Connelly revisits this amazing event to explore Christmas 1914 in more detail and question what it tells us about the wider history of the conflict.
The Fashion Dilemmas of Science Communication
Stuck for a gift for the geek in your life? Why not buy them a T-Shirt with a slogan about science? You’ll be spoilt for choice: there are all manner of them available. But what do their jokey catchphrases really tell us about science? In this lecture, Professor Sleigh reveals how messages about science circulate in some unexpected ways, and to some unexpected people. She argues that a distinction between ‘science’ and ‘the public’, conceived as single entities, is inaccurate and unhelpful. She reflects on how current attacks upon expertise are in danger of provoking science communicators to a more fundamentalist message about their own field.