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Public lectures – University of Reading

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Public lectures

Please check back in September 2018 to find out what Public Lectures we have in store for the autumn term.

2017/18 HIGHLIGHTS

SUFFRAGE AND CITIZENSHIP, October 2017

Suffrage is arguably the most important single event in women's history; despite popular conception it was not a fight for freedom, it was the campaign for equal citizenship waged by men and women across the class divide and the political spectrum. The refusal of the law to allow women to take part directly in political life relegated them to often disparate lobbyists and pressure groups, leaving the decision to grant the vote at the mercy of sympathetic individuals and the political priorities of the parliamentary parties. This lecture will consider the parliamentary politics, the campaigns and the divisive issues of class, marriage and militancy that fractured the suffrage movement and ultimately, we will ask the question - is this best described as first wave feminism?

Dr Jacqui Turner is a Lecturer in Modern History and Director of Outreach at the University of Reading. Her present research examines the contribution of female pioneers in politics and early female MPs. Jacqui currently works with Parliament on the Vote100 Project, BBC Radio 4 and the Smithsonian. In 2019 she will manage the Astor100 project celebrating the centenary of women sitting in the House of Commons.

 

LOST AND FOUND: EXCAVATING THE WORLD'S FIRST FARMERS IN IRAQ AND IRAN, 10,000 - 7,500 BC, November 2017

Forming part of the Being Human Festival, this richly-illustrated lecture delivered by Roger and Wendy Matthews will present the latest discoveries from their ongoing excavations at the World Heritage Tentative List site of Bestansur, dating to the Neolithic period at 7700 BC, and at the Iranian Neolithic site of Sheikh-e Abad, 10,000-7500 BC. Bestansur and Sheikh-e Abad were among the first farming settlements of the Middle East, and excavations there are investigating all aspects of life during the transition from hunting to farming, and from mobile to settled life-ways. A special feature of Bestansur is a large building with more than 70 human individuals buried under the floors, providing a wealth of new information about ancient life and death during this period. Roger and Wendy will discuss the special experiences, opportunities and pleasures of working in Iraq and Iran with their Iraqi and Iranian colleagues.

Roger and Wendy have co-directed archaeological projects in the Middle East for over 30 years, in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey.

 

BRAIN GLUE: STICKING IT TO DEMENTIA, February 2018

Nearly a million people in the UK today are living with dementia. Currently there is no treatment that will prevent, cure or slow down its progression. To overcome this scientists are now studying not only nerve cells in the brain, but these so called glial cells - previously thought to be just the 'glue' that sticks other brain cells together. Evidence suggests that these cells could provide insight and even early warning about the onset of disease, years before clinical symptoms develop.

The human brain is the most complex computer we have, yet we are still discovering the basics of how it works. This lecture will outline some of the challenges in finding treatments for brain diseases, and explore the potential of glial cells in the fight against Alzheimer's disease.

Dr Mark Dallas is a Lecturer in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience at the School of Pharmacy, University of Reading. He is the Academic Co-Ordinator for the Alzheimer's Research UK Oxford Network, Neuroscience Theme Lead for the Physiological Society and sits on the editorial board of Physiology News.

 

THE BEE'S NEEDS: HOW TO SAVE THE WORLD'S POLLINATORS, March 2018

Bees and other insects are crucially important, helping pollinate crops and support our wild ecosystems. The University of Reading is at the forefront of research into the decline of insect pollinators and understanding how valuable they are for crop production.

The lecture will outline current evidence on the status of pollinating insects in the UK and across the globe. The crucial role pollinators play for crop production will be explored as well as ways we can help protect these iconic species for the important role they have providing vital ecosystem services.

Dr Mike Garratt, a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Agriculture Policy and Development, will present the latest research on pollinators and what we can do to help protect them.

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