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Department of Geography

 

Research seminars

Research seminars

Jump to: Main Departmental seminars | Cultural and Historical Geography | Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure | Conservation | Environmental Systems and Processes | Political ecology | Polar physical science | Histories, cultures, environments and politics research seminars | Gender | Quaternary Discussion Group (QDG) | Cambridge Volcanology | Cambridge Cultural and Historical Geography | Biogeography and Biogeomorphology | Graduate Workshops in Economic and Social History | Other talks | Reading groups

Directions to the Department are available.

Main Departmental seminar series

Main Departmental seminar series at the Department of Geography.

View the archive of previous seminars.

# Thursday 23rd November 2017, 4.15pm - Dr Richard Streeter, School of Geography and Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews
Measuring landscape resilience: tephra, soil and spatial patterns
Venue: Small Lecture Theatre, Department of Geography, Downing Site

A key challenge this paper addresses is understanding how and when landscapes are likely to become degraded. The concept of ecological ‘resilience’ and the related idea that there are generic ‘early warning signals’ prior to changes in state have created the possibility that we might be able to quantify the vulnerability of systems to change. This paper highlights the possibilities for both using both tephra layers (layers of volcanic ash) and the analysis of spatial patterns of erosion as approaches to understanding the resilience of landscapes, past and present. When tephra falls onto vegetated surface its thickness reflects aspects of the vegetation structure at the time. These variations in tephra thickness preserve information that can be used to assess the resilience of the land surface at the time of the eruption. This approach could be used to assess land surface resilience in the past. Using UAV imagery we can quickly and easily capture high-resolution images from currently eroding landscapes. These images are used to generate metrics such as patch-size distributions, which can be used to assess present landscape resilience. This paper will review these approaches and report on findings from fieldwork in the sub-arctic landscapes of Iceland.

# Thursday 30th November 2017, 4.15pm - Professor Richard Sennett, Department of Sociology, London School of Economics
The Open City: its ethics and its design
Venue: Small Lecture Theatre, Department of Geography, Downing Site

A city should foster experiment in its form and functions, thereby expanding the experience of its citizens. This is the open city, in principle. Cities today are not open: they inhibit experiment in form, are becoming more rigid in function, and as a result are shrinking the experience of urbanites. What can be done?

# Thursday 8th February 2018, 4.15pm - Professor Cheryl McEwan, Geography Department, Durham University
Protean geographies: Navigating between postcolonialism and decoloniality from South Africa
Venue: Small Lecture Theatre, Department of Geography, Downing Site

Abstract not available

# Thursday 1st March 2018, 4.15pm - Professor Mike Hulme, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
What sort of challenge is climate change? Fifty years of editorialising in ‘Nature’ and ‘Science’
Venue: Small Lecture Theatre, Department of Geography, Downing Site

Abstract not available

# Thursday 8th March 2018, 4.15pm - Dr Walter Immerzeel, Faculty of Geosciences, Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands
Recent advances in understanding climate, glacier and river dynamics in high mountain Asia
Venue: Small Lecture Theatre, Department of Geography, Downing Site

Abstract not available

Seminars in Cultural and Historical Geography

All seminars begin at 1pm and take place in the Hardy Building, Room 101 (unless otherwise stated), Department of Geography. All welcome!

View the archive of previous seminars.

# Thursday 30th November 2017, 1.00pm - Philip Howell, University of Cambridge
The slow death of Victorian liberal governmentality
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

This talk considers the fate of nineteenth-century technologies of urban government and the essentially liberal vision of a ‘benign panopticon’. It raises the place of the state (particularly the local state) in theories of governmentality, and, in particular, the ‘state phobia’ of Foucault’s account of power. Revisiting discussions of the Victorian information state, information society, and inspection state, we might wonder whether we are living in the ruins and with the relics of a liberal governmentality? In neoliberal times, should we be less complacent about the ‘siren song of civil society’, and more bullish about the state’s role in promoting affirmative biopower?

The Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure - seminar series

Research seminar series run by the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure.
The support of the Trevelyan Fund (Faculty of History) is gratefully acknowledged.

Sandwiches and fruit will be available from 12.45pm.

Convenors: Leigh Shaw-Taylor (lmws2@cam.ac.uk), Romola Davenport (rjd23@cam.ac.uk) and Alice Reid (alice.reid@geog.cam.ac.uk).

There are no forthcoming seminars at present. Please check back here later.

You may wish to view the archive of previous seminars.

Cambridge Conservation Seminars

The series is intended to provide a research and social focus for university lecturers, research staff and postgraduate students interested in conservation research. The primary aim is to inform university colleagues of what research is going on in different departments and to bring in high quality outside speakers. Equally, members of conservation organisations are welcome to attend. A key element is the opportunity after each talk to socialise with colleagues from different departments and organisations.

Generously funded by the CCI Strategic Initiative Fund
http://www.conservation.cam.ac.uk/

There are no forthcoming seminars at present. Please check back here later.

You may wish to view the archive of previous seminars.

Climate and Environmental Dynamics - Department of Geography

Seminars which may be of interest to members of the Climate and Environmental Dynamics research group within the Department of Geography.

View the archive of previous seminars.

# Thursday 23rd November 2017, 1.00pm - Dr Rachael Turton, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
Developing land surface and vegetation models... by a field working ecologist!
Venue: Rm 101, William Hardy Building, Department of Geography, Downing Site

I’m going to give a two part presentation, firstly on my PhD research on snow-vegetation interactions in JULES (Joint UK Land Environment Simulator), the UK land surface model. Secondly, I’ll introduce my PDRA on representing plant growth processes in the HYBRID vegetation model, using data from a novel chilling experiment at Harvard Forest.

The radiative balance of sparse seasonally snow-covered forests are poorly represented within land surface models. High latitudes sparse canopies appear dense and impenetrable in early spring due to low solar elevation. Shortwave radiation penetration is highly spatial and temporally variable, and long shadows are cast over the snow surface. Yet incident shortwave radiation acts to increase longwave radiation to the snow surface. Field measurements are used to parameterise a new shaded gap tile, which improves the land-surface snow interactions in the JULES model.

Current global vegetation models drive plant growth with photosynthesis, which is controlled by light, temperature, water, and CO2. In this way they are able to reproduce the historical land carbon sink as a consequence of CO2 fertilization. However, experimental work suggests that the vegetation response to rising CO2 is strongly limited by the sink (growth) capacity of the tree rather than the source (photosynthesis) under natural conditions. Studies have shown high concentrations of non-structural carbon (a product of photosynthesis) observed in wood, thus indicating photosynthesis is not limiting tree growth, at least in the short-term. Observations on mature pine, maple, and oak trees at Harvard Forest will be used to incorporate the processes controlling growth and wood development within a sink-limited vegetation model, which will examine the implications for the historical and future global carbon balance.

# Thursday 23rd November 2017, 4.15pm - Dr Richard Streeter, School of Geography and Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews
Measuring landscape resilience: tephra, soil and spatial patterns
Venue: Small Lecture Theatre, Department of Geography, Downing Site

A key challenge this paper addresses is understanding how and when landscapes are likely to become degraded. The concept of ecological ‘resilience’ and the related idea that there are generic ‘early warning signals’ prior to changes in state have created the possibility that we might be able to quantify the vulnerability of systems to change. This paper highlights the possibilities for both using both tephra layers (layers of volcanic ash) and the analysis of spatial patterns of erosion as approaches to understanding the resilience of landscapes, past and present. When tephra falls onto vegetated surface its thickness reflects aspects of the vegetation structure at the time. These variations in tephra thickness preserve information that can be used to assess the resilience of the land surface at the time of the eruption. This approach could be used to assess land surface resilience in the past. Using UAV imagery we can quickly and easily capture high-resolution images from currently eroding landscapes. These images are used to generate metrics such as patch-size distributions, which can be used to assess present landscape resilience. This paper will review these approaches and report on findings from fieldwork in the sub-arctic landscapes of Iceland.

# Tuesday 28th November 2017, 12.00pm - Dr Jennifer Morris, University of Cardiff
Deep time continental weathering and climate change in the Palaeozoic
Venue: Tilley Lecture Theatre, Department of Earth Sciences, Downing Site

Abstract not available

# Thursday 30th November 2017, 5.30pm - Paola Moffa Sanchez, Cardiff University
Quaternary Discussion Group seminar
North Atlantic variability and its link to European climate and history over the last 3000 years
Venue: Latimer Room (Old Court), Clare College, Trinity Lane

The subpolar North Atlantic is a key location for the Earth’s climate system. In the Labrador Sea, intense winter air–sea heat exchange drives the formation of deep waters and the surface circulation of warm waters around the subpolar gyre. This process therefore has the ability to formation of Labrador Sea Water. Yet, crucially, its longer-term history and links with European climate remain limited. We present new decadally-resolved marine proxy
reconstructions which suggest weakened Labrador Sea Water formation and gyre strength with similar timing to the centennial cold periods recorded in terrestrial climate archives and historical records over the last 3000 years. These new data support that subpolar North Atlantic
circulation changes, likely forced by increased southward flow of Arctic waters, contributed to modulating the climate of Europe with important societal impacts as revealed in European history.

# Thursday 25th January 2018, 5.30pm - Speaker to be confirmed
Quaternary Discussion Group seminar
Venue: Latimer Room (Old Court), Clare College, Trinity Lane

Quaternary Discussion Group seminar

# Thursday 25th January 2018, 5.30pm - Phil Hughes, University of Manchester
Reconstructing glacial extents in the Mediterranean region
Venue: Latimer Room (Old Court), Clare College, Trinity Lane

Abstract not available

# Thursday 8th February 2018, 5.30pm - Speaker to be confirmed
Quaternary Discussion Group seminar
Venue: Latimer Room (Old Court), Clare College, Trinity Lane

Quaternary Discussion Group seminar

# Thursday 22nd February 2018, 5.30pm - Andrey Ganopolski, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
Quaternary Discussion Group seminar
Venue: Latimer Room (Old Court), Clare College, Trinity Lane

Quaternary Discussion Group seminar

# Thursday 8th March 2018, 5.30pm - Barbara Maher, Lancaster University
Recent developments and debates in East Asian monsoon palaeoclimatology
Venue: Latimer Room (Old Court), Clare College, Trinity Lane

Quaternary Discussion Group seminar

# Tuesday 13th March 2018, 12.00pm - Prof. Jenny Collier, Imperial College London
Acoustic imaging of catastrophic flood terrains in the English Channel: How Britain became an island
Venue: Tilley Lecture Theatre, Department of Earth Sciences, Downing Site

Abstract not available

# Tuesday 8th May 2018, 12.00pm - Prof. Heinz Wanner, University of Bern
Migration or collapse? Holocene climate and its influence on societies
Venue: Tilley Lecture Theatre, Department of Earth Sciences, Downing Site

Abstract not available

Polar Physical Sciences

Histories, cultures, environments and politics research seminars

Quaternary Discussion Group (QDG)

A series of 50 minute lectures, followed by discussion, on the broad topic of environmental evolution, climate, ecological and human change during the Quaternary (the last ~2.6 million years). The lectures are aimed at a broad audience (including geoscientists, glaciologists, environmental scientists, atmospheric chemists, biologists, anthropologists and archaeologists).

Seminars are usually held on Thursdays starting at 17:30 in Clare College in the Thirkill Room (far left corner of first court) or the Latimer Room (on the left in the first court).

Wine is usually served after the talks and there is time for discussion over drinks and/or dinner after the seminar, which should last approximately 1 hour. The meetings are currently organised by Rachael Rhodes (rhr34@cam.ac.uk; Godwin Laboratory for Palaeoclimate Research, Department of Earth Sciences), and Della Murton (dkf20@cam.ac.uk; Department of Zoology). Please feel free to contact the organisers with queries and suggestions.

A map showing the position of Clare College is available at http://www.clare.cam.ac.uk/Maps-and-Directions/

Please remember to check regularly for updates.

View the archive of previous seminars.

# Thursday 30th November 2017, 5.30pm - Paola Moffa Sanchez, Cardiff University
Quaternary Discussion Group seminar
North Atlantic variability and its link to European climate and history over the last 3000 years
Venue: Latimer Room (Old Court), Clare College, Trinity Lane

The subpolar North Atlantic is a key location for the Earth’s climate system. In the Labrador Sea, intense winter air–sea heat exchange drives the formation of deep waters and the surface circulation of warm waters around the subpolar gyre. This process therefore has the ability to formation of Labrador Sea Water. Yet, crucially, its longer-term history and links with European climate remain limited. We present new decadally-resolved marine proxy
reconstructions which suggest weakened Labrador Sea Water formation and gyre strength with similar timing to the centennial cold periods recorded in terrestrial climate archives and historical records over the last 3000 years. These new data support that subpolar North Atlantic
circulation changes, likely forced by increased southward flow of Arctic waters, contributed to modulating the climate of Europe with important societal impacts as revealed in European history.

# Thursday 25th January 2018, 5.30pm - Phil Hughes, University of Manchester
Reconstructing glacial extents in the Mediterranean region
Venue: Latimer Room (Old Court), Clare College, Trinity Lane

Abstract not available

# Thursday 8th February 2018, 5.30pm - Speaker to be confirmed
Quaternary Discussion Group seminar
Venue: Latimer Room (Old Court), Clare College, Trinity Lane

Quaternary Discussion Group seminar

# Thursday 22nd February 2018, 5.30pm - Andrey Ganopolski, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
Quaternary Discussion Group seminar
Venue: Latimer Room (Old Court), Clare College, Trinity Lane

Quaternary Discussion Group seminar

# Thursday 8th March 2018, 5.30pm - Barbara Maher, Lancaster University
Recent developments and debates in East Asian monsoon palaeoclimatology
Venue: Latimer Room (Old Court), Clare College, Trinity Lane

Quaternary Discussion Group seminar

Cambridge Volcanology

Cambridge Volcanology seminars.

There are no forthcoming seminars at present. Please check back here later.

You may wish to view the archive of previous seminars.

Cambridge Cultural and Historical Geography (CCHG) - Department of Geography

Seminars and public lectures within the Cambridge Cultural and Historical Geography research group of the Department of Geography.

View the archive of previous seminars.

# Thursday 23rd November 2017, 5.00pm - Professor Kevin Schürer, University of Leicester
Using 'big data' to explore household and family structures in England and Wales in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries
Venue: Old Library, Darwin College

This presentation will explore the rise of ‘big data’ in historical research with specific reference to the Integrated Census Microdata database (I-CeM) covering England, Scotland and Wales for the period 1851 to 1911 and examine the potential (and problems) of such data. It will focus on a study in household and family structure for the period covered by the I-CeM data and provide examples of where ‘big data’ can add to our knowledge in comparison to more traditional localised studies – and where it can’t.

# Monday 27th November 2017, 12.30pm - Sara Caputo (University of Cambridge)
Building a Demographic Profile of Foreign Seamen in the British Navy, 1793-1815
Venue: Room 5, Faculty of History

Abstract not available

# Thursday 30th November 2017, 1.00pm - Philip Howell, University of Cambridge
The slow death of Victorian liberal governmentality
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

This talk considers the fate of nineteenth-century technologies of urban government and the essentially liberal vision of a ‘benign panopticon’. It raises the place of the state (particularly the local state) in theories of governmentality, and, in particular, the ‘state phobia’ of Foucault’s account of power. Revisiting discussions of the Victorian information state, information society, and inspection state, we might wonder whether we are living in the ruins and with the relics of a liberal governmentality? In neoliberal times, should we be less complacent about the ‘siren song of civil society’, and more bullish about the state’s role in promoting affirmative biopower?

# Thursday 30th November 2017, 5.00pm - Professor Ewout Frankema, Wageningen University & Research
Why Malthus wasn’t African. Reviewing explanations and implications of low population densities in pre-1900 Sub-Saharan Africa
Venue: Old Library, Darwin College

Low population densities and open land frontiers, or alternatively, the absence of Malthusian conditions, have been foundational to a range of deep explanations of long-term comparative development in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to theories of factor-biased technological change high ratios of land to labour have induced long-term patterns of economic specialisation in land and resource extensive commodities (Austin 2008). High land-labour ratios have also been argued to have shaped African labour regimes (e.g. slavery, pawning), lineage systems and household formation strategies (e.g. polygamy) (Domar 1970, Iliffe 2007, Fenske 2014). It has also been argued that scarce supplies of human labour have induced particular colonial policies with respect to labour mobilisation and commodification (Cooper 1996, Frankema and van Waijenburg 2012). In addition, land abundance and limited capacities to tax vast empty hinterlands have been pointed to as barriers to pre-colonial state centralisation (Young 1994, Herbst 2000).
Very few scholars, however, have made attempts to trace back demographic developments into the distant past (see Manning 2010 for the most important exception). The dearth of quantitative evidence prevents the field from engaging in a more systematic discussion of the possible factors that may have suppressed the growth of African populations before 1900. Of course, centuries of slave trading are part of such explanations as several scholars have pointed out (Manning 2010, Inikori 2007), but they are not necessarily the dominant factor. This paper reviews the possible explanations for the comparatively slow evolution of African populations in pre-colonial times by distinguishing time-variant from time-invariant factors, and by using variation in population densities around 1950 to develop some systematic arguments. In my discussion I will pay attention to at least five factors: 1) the ecological conditions of food crop cultivation, 2) ecological conditions for the survival of domesticated and wild animals, 3) tropical disease incidence, 4) deliberate practices of population control, 5) unintended checks on population growth. I will not try to weigh these factors and rank them in order of importance. Instead, my focus will be on the question how these factors may be related in determining the long-term evolution of populations in specific areas and periods of time.

# Thursday 18th January 2018, 5.00pm - Prof. Laurence Fontaine
Title to be confirmed
Venue: History Faculty Room 9

Abstract not available

# Thursday 1st February 2018, 5.00pm - Dr Briony McDonagh, University of Hull
Title to be confirmed
Venue: History Faculty Room 9

Abstract not available

# Thursday 15th February 2018, 5.00pm - Dr Jonathan Healey, University of Oxford
Title to be confirmed
Venue: History Faculty Room 9

Abstract not available

# Thursday 1st March 2018, 5.00pm - Dr Tawny Paul, University of Exeter, and Prof. Jeremy Boulton, University of Newcastle
Title to be confirmed
Venue: History Faculty Room 9

Abstract not available

# Thursday 26th April 2018, 5.00pm - Matthew Pawelski, University of Lancaster
Title to be confirmed
Venue: History Faculty Room 9

Abstract not available

# Thursday 3rd May 2018, 5.00pm - Eleanor Robson, University of Cambridge
Title to be confirmed
Venue: History Faculty Room 9

Abstract not available

# Thursday 10th May 2018, 5.00pm - Kathryn Gary, University of Lund
Title to be confirmed
Venue: History Faculty Room 9

Abstract not available

Biogeography and Biogeomorphology - Department of Geography

Seminars and public lectures within the Biogeography and Biogeomorphology research group of the Department of Geography.

View the archive of previous seminars.

# Thursday 23rd November 2017, 4.15pm - Dr Richard Streeter, School of Geography and Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews
Measuring landscape resilience: tephra, soil and spatial patterns
Venue: Small Lecture Theatre, Department of Geography, Downing Site

A key challenge this paper addresses is understanding how and when landscapes are likely to become degraded. The concept of ecological ‘resilience’ and the related idea that there are generic ‘early warning signals’ prior to changes in state have created the possibility that we might be able to quantify the vulnerability of systems to change. This paper highlights the possibilities for both using both tephra layers (layers of volcanic ash) and the analysis of spatial patterns of erosion as approaches to understanding the resilience of landscapes, past and present. When tephra falls onto vegetated surface its thickness reflects aspects of the vegetation structure at the time. These variations in tephra thickness preserve information that can be used to assess the resilience of the land surface at the time of the eruption. This approach could be used to assess land surface resilience in the past. Using UAV imagery we can quickly and easily capture high-resolution images from currently eroding landscapes. These images are used to generate metrics such as patch-size distributions, which can be used to assess present landscape resilience. This paper will review these approaches and report on findings from fieldwork in the sub-arctic landscapes of Iceland.

# Wednesday 10th January 2018, 11.00am - Speakers to be confirmed
Earth Observation Research Workshop
Venue: Department of Geography, Seminar Room

An informal research workshop consisting of talks and discussion on the use of Earth Observation for geographical research. Lunch will be provided!

Graduate Workshops in Economic and Social History

All talks take place on Mondays at 12.30 pm in Room 5, Faculty of History, West Road.

All welcome. A complimentary sandwich lunch is provided.

Convenors: Josh Ivinson and Emiliano Travieso.

View the archive of previous seminars.

# Monday 27th November 2017, 12.30pm - Sara Caputo (University of Cambridge)
Building a Demographic Profile of Foreign Seamen in the British Navy, 1793-1815
Venue: Room 5, Faculty of History

Abstract not available

Other talks

Talks in the Department of Geography not connected to any other seminar series.

There are no forthcoming seminars at present. Please check back here later.

You may wish to view the archive of previous seminars.