Listed below are forthcoming events in Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology.

See also all events in the College of Social Sciences and International Studies.

Any college staff or postgraduates may always attend. Anyone else should contact the department or the centre in question.

WhenTimeDescriptionLocationAdd to Calendar
12 March 201515:00

"Developmental symbiosis: We are all lichens" - Prof Scott Gilbert (Swarthmore College, USA)

Professor Scott Gilbert, one of the leading figures in evolutionary developmental biology (eve-devo) and the pioneer of its expanded reformulation as eco-evo-devo, (see his groundbreaking book, S.F.Gilbert and D. Epel, Ecological Developmental Biology: Integrating Epigenetics, Medicine and Evolution, Sinauer 2009) will be visiting Egenis at 3.00 p.m. on Thursday March 12th, where he will give a talk entitled "Developmental symbiosis: We are all lichens". If you are interested in attending this talk, could you please contact John Dupre (, copying Chee Wong (, as space will be limited. Full details
Byrne HouseAdd this to your calendar
18 March 201515:00

"Stress and the Midlife Crisis" - Prof Mark Jackson (University of Exeter)

The story is familiar, perhaps timeless. A middle-aged man falters. The family begins to crumble. Or the reverse: his wife is frustrated and turns away. Their children have left. The home is empty, or perhaps filled with a common sadness. No one is surprised that a marriage is over. In 1965, this process of individual and family trauma acquired a new name. That year, a Canadian sociologist and psychoanalyst more famous for his studies of work, human capability and social justice introduced the world to the `midlife crisis’. For Elliott Jaques, the concept signified a crisis of confidence, a period of intense psychological uncertainty triggered by awareness of death and the fear of declining, or possibly too late flowering, creativity. Over subsequent decades, the meaning of the term expanded to include a variety of stereotypical features: dissatisfaction with work; disillusionment with life; a desperation to postpone the mental and physical decline associated with advancing age; shifting fashion sense; the replacement of the comfortable family saloon with a two-seater sports car or motorbike; a gradual detachment from family responsibilities; and, perhaps most catastrophically, sex with a younger, more athletic accomplice. This paper explores two contrasting explanations for the `midlife crisis’ that emerged during the 1960s and 1970s: a continuing psychoanalytical focus on internal psychological conflict; and the growing emphasis of stress researchers on external situational factors, or `stressful life events’. Although seemingly incongruent, both approaches were rooted in the experiences and understandings of inter-war and post-war populations in terms of: demographic shifts: marital relationships; biological clocks; situational stress; and spiritual fulfilment. Full details
Byrne HouseAdd this to your calendar
23 March 201515:00

"Ethical harmonization across space: logistic and regulatory issues in implementing a multi-national clinical trial" - Prof Christine Hauskeller & Nicole Baur (UoE)

In this talk we report findings from an empirical investigation of the process in which a stem cell clinical trial is being implemented across 10 European countries. As part of a clinical trial team, we had the unique opportunity to study implementation – including its events and problems - while it happened. Obstacles for swift patient recruitment across clinical sites arose for a variety of reasons, but most are related to the minute standardization of practice which is the basis for the scientific approach in medicine that identifies clinical trials as ultimate evidence for clinical efficacy. We identified differences in resource management and in locally entrenched daily routines of patient care, but also in the practical implementation of regulations and insurance requirements, for example, which as such relate back to specific understandings of best practice in clinical care. Our findings show that the policies developed to harmonise medical practice and clinical trials in Europe can lead to serious delays before patient recruitment even starts. We especially focus on problems with the logistics and technological requirements following European Medicines Agency (EMA) regulations and the effects of the Voluntary Harmonisation Procedure (VHP), a protocol aimed at simplifying multinational ethics approval of general agreements which depend on both trust and coherence in other policies. Full details
Byrne HouseAdd this to your calendar
25 March 201515:00

"The Wild-Indoors: The Room Spaces of Scientific Inquiry” - Dr Ann Kelly (University of Exeter)

The paper examines three locations where scientists engage in the experimental manipulation of mosquitoes: the insectary, the semi-field station, and the outdoors. Scientific and regulatory discourses (and, often, science studies scholarship) place these locations in a linear trajectory of ever-diminishing containment and ever-greater approximation to the real world. Instead, we propose to treat each of these sites as creating a distinct mode of interiority, a particular room-space (Clark 2013). It is through the fabrication of a sense of proximity that researchers substantiate their observations and can take in – and be taken in by – the world of mosquitoes. Full details
Byrne HouseAdd this to your calendar
29 April 201515:00

"Is there a duty to re-contact patients in light of new genetic findings?" - Dr Daniele Carrieri (University of Exeter)

Egenis seminar Full details
Byrne HouseAdd this to your calendar
6 May 201515:00

Prof. Rob Hagendijk, Amsterdam. Title tbc

SPA Research Seminar Full details
Building OneAdd this to your calendar
13 May 201515:00

"Pathogenicities and the spatialities of disease situations" - Prof Steve Hinchliffe (University of Exeter)

What would a geography of emerging infectious diseases look like? A familiar answer to this question is based on a map or surface upon and across which diseases emerge and travel. The language is one of hotspots and viral traffic. It’s a contagionist as well as topographical disease imagination. In this paper I want to trace out alternatives that are based on what can be called a disease situation. In social theory, situations borrow from what might be called site ontologies. Situations link sites, but in ways that are non-coherent, and certainly fall short of any free-floating whole or emergent property. Situations are, I will argue, spatially and materially composite; they are, after Stengers, ecologies of practices that may well be eventful. To illustrate, I engage with a particular disease situation called avian flu. The aim is to demonstrate the spatial multiplicity that is involved when the object of concern flips between a pathogen and pathogenicity. The latter is a configurational issue, and invites a range of topological sensibilities. These sensibilities in turn seem to invite a form of abductive logic, a tacking back and forth between evidence and speculation. Whether this abductive logic reproduces a security neurosis or opens up new ways of addressing the emergence of disease emergencies is, I argue, an empirical question and requires engaging with disease events as reconfigured situations. Full details
Byrne HouseAdd this to your calendar
20 May 201515:00

"Triebhaftes Fähigsein – Heidegger’s crypto-vitalist concept of organism" Dr Anne Sophie Spann (University of Exeter)

In his early lecture “The fundamental concepts of metaphysics” (1929/30), Heidegger develops a concept of organism which stresses the functional wholeness of organisms and the ontological priority and primitiveness of life. His arguments thereby heavily rely on ideas and experiments of Uexküll and Driesch. Nevertheless Heidegger denies being a vitalist. Instead, his concept of organism is meant to be an alternative not only to the mechanistic paradigm but also to contemporary versions of vitalism. In my talk, I want to explore whether Heidegger is right in telling us this. In particular, the key notion of the organism’s driven capacity (‘triebhaftes Fähigsein’) might make us worry about whether the difference to vitalism is actually as deep as Heidegger suggests. Full details
Byrne HouseAdd this to your calendar
27 May 201515:00

"Things are Material Processes" - John Pemberton (London School of Economics)

I suppose an ontology, such as that of Aristotle, in which powers in suitable contact over some period give rise to changing over that period within the bearers of the powers, and hence a process of change, e.g. a star gravitationally attracting a planet (giving rise to its movement through an elliptic orbit), a fire heating a kettle, a heart pumping blood. I show how this ontology of change fits well with contemporary science, and how it licenses an account of things (e.g. organisms, atoms, molecules, larger chemical structures, bundles, mechanisms, artefacts, stars) as being material processes: functional parts performing functional roles at each stage so as to bring about the next stage of the process. This process view stands in opposition to the received view that things can be adequately characterised by a list of properties, e.g. things are co-instantiated universals, bundles of properties, collocated tropes, bare particulars with properties, collections of powers, etc. The list-of-properties view offers a static and discretised reconstruction (often reifying point-in-time entities) which misrepresents the complex inter-twining of dynamic processes apparent in the world, I argue. I show how recognising that things are processes provides a solution to van Inwagen’s ‘Special Composition Question’, and helps to address some major challenges within the philosophy of science. Full details
Byrne HouseAdd this to your calendar
3 June 201515:00

Dr. Sam Liao, Singapore/Leeds

SPA Research Seminar Full details
Amory B316Add this to your calendar
10 June 201515:00

"Data sharing in low resource settings: a capabilities approach." - Dr Louise Bezuidenhout

Egenis seminar Full details
Byrne HouseAdd this to your calendar
13 - 14 June 2015

The Seventh British Wittgenstein Society Annual Conference: Wittgenstein and the Social Sciences

Speakers: Jeff Coulter (Boston) John Dupré (Exeter) Raimond Gaita (Melbourne / King's College London) John Gunnell (UC, Davis) William Kitchen (Belfast) Sabina Lovibond (Oxford) Albert Ogien (CNRS Paris) John Searle (UC Berkeley) Wes Sharrock (Manchester) James Thompson (Halle-Wittenberg). Full details
Southgate Hotel Exeter (Mecure)Add this to your calendar
17 June 201515:00

Dr Ginny Russell

Egenis seminar Full details
Byrne HouseAdd this to your calendar