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UCL events news and reviews


Buddhas of Suburbia: faith, migration and suburban change in London

By zclfg58, on 11 March 2014

If there’s one thing to take home from American film culture, from The Virgin Suicides to American Beauty, it’s that the suburbs are a place to be avoided at all costs. Replete with murderous instincts and repressed sexual desires, they are to be treated with scorn by urbanites and the few suburban refugees who manage to escape.

Hindu goddess in gold at the Shri Kanaga Thurkkai Amman Hindu Temple

Hindu goddess

Perhaps this unfair reputation stems from the suburban aesthetic: when the soul is furnished by identikit architecture that presumably houses conservative cultural habits, it is unsurprising that we see the suburban subject as living a boring life, unworthy of academic reflection or investigation.

In her Lunch Hour Lecture, Dr. Claire Dwyer (UCL Geography) rescued suburbia from this prejudicial inertia, demonstrating through an architectural, geographical and cultural comparative analysis of faith loci in Greater London that the suburbs can be a place of dynamic modernity where space is contested, deconstructed and re-mapped.

The first half of Dr. Dwyer’s lecture focused on newly developed or proposed institutions such as the Jain Temple in Potter’s Bar, Hertfordshire and the Salaam Centre in Harrow, which show how the suburbs are on the forefront of cultural innovation. (more…)

Desirability and domination: Greek sculpture and the modern male body

By Ben Stevens H P Stevens, on 29 June 2011

The portrayal of the modern female body is a perennial subject of academic and public debate, so it was refreshing to attend a lecture last Thursday where the male body was given similar critical attention.

Professor Maria Wyke, UCL Chair of Latin, gave a witty Lunch Hour Lecture at the British Museum entitled ‘Desirability and domination: Greek sculpture and the modern male body’ in which she managed to tease out the connections between classical sculpture, Italian film and the birth of bodybuilding.

She began by explaining how much of our understanding of classical sculpture has been shaped by 18th century German art historian Johan Joachim Winckelmann through his book, The History of the Art of Antiquity.

Watch Professor Wyke’s lecture at the British Museum (45 minutes)