Public Lectures


The Project of European Unification and the Case of Greece

Why the Scientific Revolution Wasn't a Scientific Revolution

The rhetoric of Bach's St Matthew Passion: Text and performance

Sensuality and the subterranean: Jean-Jacques Lequeu's Maison gothique (1777-1814) during the late Enlightenment

The Project of European Unification and the Case of Greece

Professor Vrasidas Karalis
Inaugural Professorial Lecture
Thursday 4 September 2014
5:30-7 pm

General Lecture Theatre 1,Quadrangle
The University of Sydney


From Modern to Ancient Greece with Vrasidas Karalis, Sir Nicholas Laurantus Professor of Modern Greek.

During the last six years, the European financial crisis led to fresh reconsiderations about politics, identity and the character of the European Union itself. As the most affected country, Greece became a very significant discussion point in the European stage about the principles of the Union, its central system of governance, its civic practices, even its very cultural physiognomy. The former President of France Giscard d’ Estaing forcefully declared that “Europe without Greece is like a child without birth certificate’ while more recently Jean Claude Juncker proclaimed that in the united Europe “Plato cannot exist as an inferior member.”

The significance attributed to the Greek presence within the context of the European Union gives us the opportunity to study certain important aspects of contemporary Greece, the structure of its modern identity, its relationship with classical Greece, its position in modern Europe and its formation as a modern state. The lecture discusses these controversial issues and tries to make sense of the contemporary crisis both politically and culturally, as it considers the economy only as an epiphenomenon and a by-product of a structural asymmetry and a cultural incommensurability.

Click here to register.


Why the Scientific Revolution Wasn't a Scientific Revolution

Content pic Rosa Democritus

Salvator Rosa, Italian. 1650-1651, Democritus in Meditation, Oil on canvas, 135.43 × 84.25 in.

Professor Daniel Garber
Monday 25 August 2014
6-7:30 pm

Law LT 101
Sydney Law School
The University of Sydney


When Thomas Kuhn was writing the Structure of Scientific Revolutions, it was common to refer to the period in the history of science roughly from Copernicus to Newton as the Scientific Revolution. One might reasonably assume that his book might give us a theoretical structure to understand the transformations in our understanding nature that happened in the period. I will argue that the political analogy behind the idea of a scientific revolution is singularly inappropriate to describe what happened in this crucial period in the history of science and Western culture. Instead of one paradigm, that is scientific orthodoxy replacing another, I claim, what really happened in the period was the eclipse of the idea that we need a single scientific orthodoxy. The so-called Scientific Revolution of the early-modern period, I claim, was the opening up of an intellectual world of new ideas in competition.

Co-presented with Sydney Ideas and Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science.

Click here to register.

Garber


Daniel Garber is Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University. He is also affiliated with the Program in History of Science and the Department of Politics. He is the author of Descartes’ Metaphysical Physics, Leibniz: Body, Substance, Monad, and with Michael Ayers, the editor of The Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Philosophy, among other books and articles, and is the co-editor of the Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy.


The rhetoric of Bach’s St Matthew Passion: Text and performance

Bach’s St Matthew Passion

Dr Alan Maddox
Monday 15 September 2014
6-7:30 pm

Law School Lounge
Sydney Law School
The University of Sydney


Music has always had an ambivalent place in intellectual history. Can music really convey ideas, or is it just a pleasantly emotive context for words, which convey real meaning? What kinds of knowledge can be embodied in music, and how do its meanings change over time? In this talk I will explore some of these issues through one of the key texts of western art music, J.S. Bach’s St Matthew Passion, exploring how it was understood in Bach’s time, and when transposed to the very different context of colonial Sydney.

Co-presented with Sydney Ideas.

Click here to register.

Alan Maddox


Dr Alan Maddox is Senior Lecturer in Musicology at Sydney Conservatorium of Music. His research focuses on rhetoric in early modern Italian vocal music, and on Australian colonial music. He is an Associate Investigator with the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, musicologist to the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, and in a previous life worked as a singer with Opera Australia.


Sensuality and the subterranean: Jean-Jacques Lequeu’s Maison gothique (1777-1814) during the late Enlightenment

Maison gothique (1777-1814)

Jean Jacques Lequeu. 1777-1814. Section perpendicular to an underground gothic house, Pen, wash, watercolor, 22.3 x 14 in.

Dr Jennifer Ferng
Monday 13 October 2014
6-7:30 pm

Law School Foyer
Sydney Law School
The University of Sydney


As one of the French utopian designers of the late Enlightenment, Lequeu is regarded by many architectural historians as having an enigmatic inventory of unbuilt work. He envisioned Grecian-Egyptian temples, Masonic grottoes, and neoclassical tombs and civic monuments. Enhanced by his training as a draughtsman, his studies of human anatomy verged on the edge of explicit prurience. This lecture surveys some of his fanciful imagery in relation to the intellectual discourses surrounding the subterranean, focusing on how myth and occult knowledge came to define his ideas of architecture and the body.

Co-presented with Sydney Ideas.

Click here to register.

Ferng


Dr Jennifer Ferng is Lecturer in Architecture at the University of Sydney. She received her PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and serves as co-editor of Architectural Theory Review. Her research examines eighteenth-century European architecture and art in the context of the geological sciences.