Sessions are hosted by the University of Exeter's Institute for Cultural Enquiry and will be held on Zoom.

New lecture series will examine role of humanities in today's global crises

A new University of Exeter lecture series will examine the role of humanities experts in tackling global crises, including health, the climate emergency and racial injustice.

The online events, free and open to the public, will also showcase discussions on how humanities research can help universities better conduct their global activities and be agents of positive change.

Academics from around the world will bring their varied disciplinary perspectives to modern global events: from the 'long view' of history, to compassion-based understanding of human needs, to promoting better intercultural understanding. Amidst so much upheaval, universities can play a leading role in the world but they also need to reckon honestly with some of their imperfections. This forum provides a creative space for such a reappraisal.

Professor Melissa Percival, Associate Dean Global for the College of Humanities, who is organising the events, said: “We are looking forward to hearing from humanities experts who are leaders in their fields about how their disciplines are playing a role in community-building, strategy, partnership and engagement.

“These should be fascinating and important discussions which will help us all reflect on the extraordinary events of this year, and the role of the humanities now and in the future.”

Sessions are hosted by the University of Exeter's Institute for Cultural Enquiry and will be held on Zoom.

On Tuesday 13th October at 4:30pm. Professor Louise Lawrence, from the University of Exeter, will discuss "Compassionate Research and Curricula? The Bible, Disability, and Cognitive [In-] Justice". Showcasing her research project in Namibia, Professor Lawrence will speak about how the academy, and its research and teaching, has been shaped by certain (privileged) perspectives and (able) bodies, and how these can be challenged and reimagined more inclusively. 

On Tuesday 17th November at 6:30pm. Professor Clare Corbould, from Deakin University, will discuss how legacies of injustice are being addressed within higher education in “Slavery and Public History inside and outside Australian Universities”.

On Tuesday 1st December at 4:30pm Dr João Florêncio, from the University of Exeter, will chair a roundtable on “COVID-19: Pandemics, Care and Communities”. Participants will discuss the recent increase in covid-related research by humanities experts, from projects investigating the rhetoric of public health responses to projects that focus on the cultural and social dimensions and repercussions of pandemics past and present.

The roundtable comprises members of The Care Collective: Professor Andreas Chatzidakis, Dr Jamie Hakim, Professor Jo Littler, Professor Catherine Rottenberg and Professor Lynne Segal, as well as Dr edna bonhomme from the Max Planck Institute, Berlin, and Sascia Bailer, a curator based in Northern Germany.

Sign up for the events at:

Planning is in progress for the Spring 2021 programme. For suggestions please contact

Date: 2 October 2020