The British Academy’s programme of public lectures provides distinguished academics with a forum for serious extended discussion of important issues. These lectures can subsequently be read or listened to via the Academy’s website.
The texts of the following three 2017 lectures can now be read freely in the Journal of the British Academy.
In his lecture to the British Academy, Professor John Burnside discussed an important strand of British fiction over the last thirty years – exemplified by work by Graham Swift, Adam Thorpe and Michael Bracewell – in which the growth of ‘cultural totalitarianism’ has engendered a profound grief for the consequent loss of communal and ritual life, as well as for the land itself which has been ‘savagely degraded’ over the same period. Read the full text of ‘“Soliloquies of suffering and consolation”: Fiction as elegy and refusal’.
In her lecture, Professor Rosemary Batt provides a chilling account of how the running of businesses can be distorted when the demands of the stock market are given undue influence. Read the full text of ‘When Wall Street manages Main Street’.
In her lecture, Professor Nicola Lacey FBA investigates the fate of women in the 20th-century English criminal legal system, including a fascinating overview of how female criminality has been depicted in literature. Read the full text of ‘Women, crime and character in the 20th century’.
Audio recordings of the following two 2018 lectures are available.
In her analysis of whether gender equality can be regarded as a core principle of ‘modern’ society, in this year when we mark the centenary of women being given the vote, Professor Anne Phillips FBA warns that ‘we should not assume too readily that modernity is on our side or that, if we just wait long enough, things will sort themselves out. The suffrage campaigners knew that there was no inevitability in the achievement of women’s suffrage, and we need to emulate them in our own campaigns.’ Listen to ‘Gender and modernity’.
And in her reflections ‘On Struggle, imagination and the quest for justice’, Professor Mona Siddiqui observes that justice is often a process, not a decision, ‘and it’s often the process that we see unfolding before us. The Hillsborough Disaster, in which 96 Liverpool FC fans died in a crush watching an FA Cup semi-final, is the most serious tragedy in UK sporting history, but it took 26 years for the survivors and families of the dead to get justice for their loved ones.’ Listen to ‘On Struggle, imagination and the quest for justice’.