Events and Seminars

Inaugural Lectures

Inaugural Lecture of Professor Laurence Grove, 17th December 2014

How to Get Away with Reading Comicsin an Ancient University
The short answer is impact. Comics can bring benefit via awareness of the cultures around us, and change in terms of educational public policy. This lecture will consider specific examples from Marcel Duchamp to Dr Who, but above all will ‘think outside the boxes’, turning Bamber Gascoigne and Jeremy Paxman upside down, as we consider the broader mindset behind comics.


 Laurence Grove’s research focuses on historical aspects of text/image forms, and in particular bande dessinée (French comics).  He is President of the International Bande Dessinée Society (‘’).  As well as serving on the consultative committees of a number of journals, he is general editor of Glasgow Emblem Studies, and joint-editor of European Comic Art.  Laurence Grove has authored (in full or jointly) nine books and approximately fifty chapters or articles.  He is currently co-preparing an exhibition on the World’s First Comic, and working on plans for a National Comics Academy, both of which will be mentioned in this lecture.

‌‌The Lecture As A Comic

Inaugural Lectures of Professors  Crameri and Syrotinski, 7th June 2014

Professor Kathryn Crameri: Passion, Pride and Power: Civil Pro-Independence Groups in Catalonia

Catalonia's recent shift towards majority support for independence has taken many people by surprise. One of the main claims surrounding this shift has been that the push for Catalan independence is now being driven by a 'bottom-up' movement: led by the people rather than Catalan politicians. This lecture questions this rather simplistic reading of what is in fact a complex and multidimensional phenomenon.

After looking at some examples of civil action, at both large and small scales, the lecture outlines a series of questions: how best might we analyse the true nature of the independence movement in Catalonia, and who holds the balance of power in creating a pro-independence consensus? The focus then turns to a particular civil association - the Catalan National Assembly - to explore these questions in more detail. To what extent does the Assembly have the power to influence the march towards a referendum on independence, and how reliant is it on the approval of the pro-independence political parties for its effectiveness? These power dynamics are then illustrated by a discussion of the leadership style of the Assembly's President, Carme Forcadell, and a brief discussion of the role of social media in supporting civil action.

Listen to Professor Crameri's lecture.

Professor Michael Syrotinski: Reprising Les Indépendances: Literary and Philosophical Engagements Fifty Years after African Decolonisation

What is the relationship of a postcolonial subject to a place, and to its history? How does this subject negotiate its problematic identity, particularly during and after independence struggles? And how does he or she write this relationship? These questions are central to postcolonial Francophone African literature and thought, and in this talk I focus on one writer, the well-known Cameroonian theorist of postcolonial Africa, Achille Mbembe, and his own project of ‘writing Africa’. I argue that his recent writing, in its debt both to a number of French and African thinkers, notably Jean-Luc Nancy, encompasses equally literature and philosophy, which in this context are themselves no longer taken as independent realms of intellectual activity, but are inseparably intertwined. His own autobiographical inscription within the history he is narrating is read in terms of a performative ‘reprise’ and reactivation of the energy that characterized anti-colonial and immediate post-Independence literature.

Listen to Professor Syrotinski's lecture.