Upcoming Stenton Lectures – University of Reading

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Upcoming Stenton Lectures

18-19 November 2021

The Stenton Lecture will be delivered at 6 pm on the 18th of November. The Stenton Workshop will be held on the 19th of November.

We are delighted to welcome Dr Sadiah Qureshi (University of Birmingham) as the Stenton Lecturer for this year. Dr Qureshi will speak on the following topic:

‘Vanished: Hope and Histories of Extinction’

SadiahQureshiMany of us encounter histories of extinction before we fully comprehend natural loss, whether from playing with toy dinosaurs to museum visits. For decades, anyone visiting the Natural History Museum in London immediately encountered, Dippy the dinosaur. From July 2017, visitors are greeted by ‘Hope’, the blue whale. She dives from the ceiling towards the crowds in an astonishingly beautiful reminder of the fragility of the natural world in the Anthropocene. Below her, in the alcoves of the vast entrance hall, visitors can see collected specimens of extinct and endangered species, from the mastodon to coral.

Although these are new displays, they are in conversation with a much longer legacy of displaying endangerment and extinction within the museum. This Stenton Lecture will explore how the Natural History Museum’s new Hintze Hall has reflected, and created, broader histories of displaying endangerment and extinction from the birth of the museum. In doing so, it will explore why Hope has quickly become so important for current debates about climate change, the ‘sixth extinction’ and the future of our planet.

Blue Whale Hope


‘Collecting and nineteenth-century Empires’  

Dr  Qureshi’s lecture will be accompanied by a Stenton workshop in partnership with the British Museum entitled: ‘Collecting and nineteenth-century Empires’. This workshop will be held on the 19th of November.

Session one: 2pm – 3 pm

Chair: Alexandra Green (British Museum)

  • Isobel MacDonald (British Museum): Acquiring Empire?: a data-driven examination of The British Museum’s processes of acquisition, 1814-1914
  • Amara Thornton (School of Advanced Study, London): Histories of Archaeological Collecting in the Caribbean

Break: 3 pm- 3.15pm

Session two: 3.15pm- 4.15 pm

Chair: Imma Ramos (British Museum)

  • Kate Nichols (Birmingham): Indigenous dispossession and settler colonial art galleries: Anguish at the National Gallery of Victoria
  • Gaye Sculthorpe (British Museum): Engaging and Mobilising Aboriginal Objects in UK Collections

Break: 4.15pm – 4.30 pm

Session three: 4.30pm- 6 pm

Chair: Rohan Deb Roy (Reading)

  • Subhadra Das (Galton Collections, UCL): Displays of Power: historical perspectives on natural history collecting at University College London
  • Mirjam Brusius (German Historical Institute): What’s wrong with the Field? Race, Modernity, and the History of Collecting
  • Ricardo Roque (Lisbon): Collecting and the work of inscription in the nineteenth-century racial sciences


Registration for these events

Both the Stenton Lecture and the Stenton Workshop will be held online.

To register for the Stenton Lecture and/or the Stenton Workshop, please visit this registration page.

For further information please contact Dr Rohan Deb Roy


Professor Brenda StevensonThe 2022 Stenton lecture will be delivered by Professor Brenda Stevenson (Hilary Rodham Clinton Professor of American Women’s History at Oxford University).



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