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Departmental Colloquium, 2017/2018

Colloquia take place from 4.15pm to 6:00pm in room S0.17 unless otherwise indicated. They are followed by drinks and then dinner for those interested. For further information, please contact Quassim Cassam Details of previous years’ colloquia can be found here.

Wed, Oct 11, '17
4pm - 6pm
Department Colloquium

Speaker: Anil Gomes (Oxford) Title: Perception and Autonomy

Wed, Nov 1, '17
4pm - 6pm
Department Colloquium

Speaker: Rebecca Roache (Royal Holloway) Title: Why is swearing mysterious?

Wed, Nov 15, '17
4pm - 6pm
Department Colloquium

Speaker: Wayne Martin (Essex) Title: Objectivity, Mental Health and Human Rights


Wed, Jan 24, '18
4:15pm - 6pm
Department Colloquium

Speaker: Genia Schoenbaumsfeld (Southampton) Title: How Threatening are Local Sceptical Scenarios?

Wed, Feb 7, '18
4:15pm - 6pm
Department Colloquium

Speaker: Clare Chambers (Cambridge) Title: 'Against Marriage'


This talk will outline the arguments in Clare's recent book 'Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defence of the Marriage-Free State'. The book is a radical argument for the abolition of state-recognised marriage. Clare will argue that state-recognised marriage violates both equality and liberty, even when expanded to include same-sex couples. Instead, she proposes the marriage-free state: an egalitarian state in which religious or secular marriages are permitted but have no legal status.

The talk will focus on the case against marriage. Feminists have long argued that marriage is a violation of equality since it is both sexist and heterosexist. Clare endorses the feminist view and argues, in contrast to recent egalitarian pro-marriage movements, that same-sex marriage is not enough to make marriage equal. She will then argue that state-recognised marriage is also problematic for liberalism, particularly political liberalism, since it imposes a controversial, hierarchical conception of the family that excludes many adults and children. Clare's talk will end with an outline of the alternative model of regulation that she proposes: the marriage-free state. In the marriage-free state, regulation is based on relationship practices not relationship status, and these practices are regulated separately rather than as a bundle. The marriage-free state thus employs piecemeal, practice-based regulation.

5pm - 7pm
Warwick Workshop for Interdisciplinary German Studies
H2.44, Humanities Building

Alison Gibbons (Sheffield Hallam): 'Uses and Abuses of Reading Life: Morality, Fictionality and the Trial of Ahmed Naji'

"...they are accusing me as if I were the fictional character in the novel. Whatever the fictional character is doing in the novel, the prosecution is dealing with it as if it were my personal confessions. If the court gives us a verdict and if the court agrees that this is literature, this is a novel, I think this will have a huge effect on the freedom of expression in Egypt"

These are the words of Egyptian journalist and novelist Ahmed Naji, speaking in January 2016 (RNW Media 2016) about his prosecution by the state for 'violating public modesty'. The case went to trial with Naji acquitted in December 2015. Subsequently, though, the prosecution appealed; Naji was re-tried at a higher court and found guilty in February 2016, then sentenced to the maximum two-years in prison. Since then, Naji's case has been taken up by PEN International and high-profile novelists such as Zadie Smith have written in support. In December 2016, Naji's sentence was temporarily suspended and he was released from prison, subject to retrial. His case has captured the public interest, yet is indicative of more widespread suppression of free speech in the Arabic world. This paper analyses Ahmed Naji's trial in its socio-political context, considering the legal arguments, public discourse surrounding the case, and style of the translated except.

Tue, Feb 20, '18
5:30pm - 7:30pm
Post-Kantian European Philosophy Seminar

Speaker: Tina Röck (Dundee). Title: 'Husserl's Reply to Meillassoux. A Phenomenological Way Into Speculative Realism'

Wed, Feb 28, '18
4:15pm - 6pm
Cancelled: Department Colloquium

Speaker: Heather Logue (Leeds): CANCELLED

Thu, Mar 1, '18
6:30pm - 8:30pm
The Fourteenth Annual Edward Said Memorial Lecture 2018
(S.021) Social Sciences Building

Talk by Professor Michael Denning (Yale University). This year's lecture explores the soundscape of "modern times", the musical and cultural revolution triggered by the worldwide recording of vernacular musics between the development of electrical recording in 1925 and the outset of the Great Depression in the early 1930s. The musical styles and idioms etched out onto shellac disks reverberated around the world, igniting the first great battle over popular music, becoming the sountrack of decolonisation and remaking our musical ear.

6.30pm - Drinks Reception

7.00pm - Talk

Michael Denning is William R Kenan Jr Professor of American Studies at Yale Univesity. He is the author of Noises Uprising: The Audiopolitics of a World Musical Revolution (2015) and Culture in the Age of Three Worlds (2004).

Fri, Mar 2, '18
6:15pm - 8pm
Public Lecture: 'Disorientating Empire: Poetry and Imperial Expansion in Ancient Rome', Talk by Professor Basil Dufallo, IAS International Visiting Fellowship
Oculus Room 0.03

Basil Dufallo, Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Michigan, is the author of The Ghosts of the Past: Latin Literature, the Dead, and Rome’s Transition to a Principate (Ohio, 2007) and The Captor’s Image: Greek Culture in Roman Ecphrasis (Oxford, 2013) and has edited, with Peggy McCracken, Dead Lovers: Erotic Bonds and the Study of Premodern Europe (Michigan, 2006). Current projects, to be explored during the Warwick Fellowship, include a book - Founding Error: Wandering and Roman Expansion in Republican Latin Poetry - and an edited volume, Roman Error: Classical Reception and the Problem of Rome’s Flaws, forthcoming in the Classical Presences series at OUP (February, 2018). These twin volumes investigate the processes of disorientation or getting lost in Roman Republican texts, and consider how these processes express ambivalent attitudes toward Rome’s rapid imperial expansion in the 3rd-1st centuries BCE.

Sat, Mar 3, '18
Ancient Worlds Uncovered Event
Nuneaton Local Library

The event 'Ancient Worlds Uncovered' is taking place at Nuneaton Library on Saturday 3rd March, as part of the nationwide calendar of events in honour of the BBC Civilisations season. Several staff and Postgraduates from the Classics and Ancient History Department are headlining at this all-day family festival.

For more information see:

Tue, Mar 6, '18
4pm - 6pm
*POSTPONED* WMA Talk: Barbora Siposova (Warwick) Title: 'On Attending and Knowing Together: A new look at joint attention and common knowledge and their role in co-ordination'
Room B2.04/5 (Sci Conc)


There is still surprisingly little agreement about what exactly joint attention is. Part of the problem is that joint attention is not a single process, but rather it includes a cluster of different cognitive skills. First, Barbora Siposova outlines a typology of joint attention levels (from followed to common, mutual, and shared attention), along with corresponding levels of common knowledge. A key distinction she makes in all of this is second-personal vs. third-personal relations. She argues that it is useful to distinguish these levesl because they have different consequences in terms of what kinds of interactions they support.

Secondly, she introduces two empirical studies with children that investigated the role of sharing attention in promoting co-operation. During the decision-making phase, children's partners made either ostenstive, communicative eye contact or looked non-communicatively at them. In Study 1, the results showed that communicative looks produced an expectation of collaboration. In Study 2, children normatively protested when their partner did not co-operate, thus showing an understanding of the communicative looks as a commitment to co-operate. This is the first experimental evidence, in adults or children, that in the right context, communicative but not non-communicative looks can signal not only an expectation but also a commitment.

Wed, May 2, '18
4:30pm - 7pm
Philosophy Department Colloquium: 'Let's Not Be Stupid'
L5, Science Concourse

This is a special Departmental Colloquium focussing on the Philosophy of Stupidity.

The Speakers will be:

Professor Quassim Cassam

Professor Miguel de Beistegui

Professor Diarmuid Costello