Call for Papers

14th Annual Postgraduate Forum Conference

School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Newcastle University

19th May 2017



This interdisciplinary one-day conference seeks to bring together Postgraduate students studying histories relating to the theme of Movement. How do we study the past, not as a static, but as dynamic and changing? How does the movement from one context to another change how we interpret evidence? What are the effects of movement on societies, material, and intellectual cultures? How has the idea of movement, or a movement, been used for political, social, or artistic purposes? We welcome any papers exploring the movement of people, objects and ideas.

We invite proposals for twenty-minute papers from all postgraduate historians, classicists, ancient historians, and archaeologists. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:


  • Migration and population movements
  • Journeys and travel
  • Trade and connections
  • Social movements
  • Cultural, Literary or Philosophical movements
  • Scientific movements
  • Physical movement such as gesture or dance


We also invite poster submissions from postgraduate students. In order to offer the opportunity to present work in the earlier stages of research, poster submissions are not necessarily required to fit with the theme of the conference.

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words to by 10th April 2017. If you have any ideas, questions or enquiries, please feel free to get in touch.

Follow us at @NewcastlePGF


PGF Event Newsletter
Week ending on Sun 19 February 2017

Research Seminars
• 21 February, 6pm @ Armstrong Bldg. 1.06: The Mediterranean Mattered More: Imperial weakness and
local responses either side of the Channel at the turn of the fourth and fifth centuries A.D.
• 23 February, 5pm @ Armstrong Bldg. 2.16: ‘Mirrors for Men: New findings with respect to
Technology and Culture of Medieval Swords from Europe and Japan’ between medieval Europe and Japan
• 9 March, 5pm @ Armstrong Bldg. 2.16: Settlement and Social Power: Landscapes of Authority in
Early Medieval England
• 6-7 March, Time TBA @ Newcastle University: Ancient Conceptions of Music: An interdisciplinary

Newcastle Events
• 22 February, 3:30pm @ Armstrong Bldg. 1.03: ‘Vandalism and Terrorism during the Revolutionary
• 1 March, 5pm @ Armstrong Bldg. 1.03: ‘Thinking Globally about Irish Working-Class Writing?’
PGF Seminar
This Wednesdays @ 1pm: Armstrong Bldg. 1.03


***If you would like to promote your event, please email us! (A.S.Martinez- ***


Reflections on Judith Butler and Kinship Trouble.

Last Wednesday I had the chance to travel to London for the 2017 Housman Lecture given by Professor Judith Butler, hosted by the Department of Greek and Latin, UCL.

For those not familiar with her work, Professor Butler is perhaps best known for her ground-breaking work in Gender and Queer Theory, and has published much on these topics over the past three decades, as well as on psychoanalysis, power structures and identity politics.

The lecture was called “Kinship Trouble in The Bacchae”, a discussion of what we mean by “kinship”, how we form/break kinship bonds and, to keep in theme with the lecture series, how we can see these bonds and roles played out in Greek tragedy.

The lecture is available to stream (, and it is well worth watching if you get the chance, so I won’t repeat the content here, but there are a couple of things that, I think, are worth reflecting on.

Firstly, though it does not relate to the lecture directly itself, it was important the way in which Butler began by pointing out the fact that the lecture had been scheduled to be in a room with no disability access. There is a particular irony here, given Professor Butler’s lifelong work on bodies and how they affect identity politics, and the fact that she is a major influence on Disability Studies as a discipline. The room situation was not originally the case, but the university moved the lecture on account of so many people booking tickets. ‘Room for more people’ doesn’t seem to me, however, a good enough reason to deliberately exclude others based on accessibility, contravening the Equality Act 2010. The room we were in looked quite newly built (or at least newly redesigned), so one wonders why the room was designed without access for everyone in mind? Universities and institutions will use the excuse of old buildings and old designs as the reason why they are restricted in how they can design their rooms, but, in all the constant building work and redesigns that happen on campuses (and I think of our own Armstrong Building, which has been a building site for as long as I have been here), this excuse seems somewhat lacking. Butler explained that though the room was out of her control, she had made opportunities to meet with those who had been unable to attend, over the following few days. But this is certainly something we should probably all be thinking more about in planning and attending academic events.

The lecture itself was then a tour de force of Butler’s usual style of questioning norms and structures we presuppose to be in place by showing that, often, they are only retroactively seen to have been there when they are broken, or at least pushed to extremes. Kinship is more than just a biological, familial bond, a fact particularly prevalent in structures of ‘queer kinship’, but how far does it go, and why is it always necessarily so fragile? At what point does one become ‘kin’, and what effect does that have on the way we treat others? The lessons that Butler brought from Greek tragedy, particularly Euripides’ Bacchae, was that they make it evident we need laws about and knowledge of kinship, and kinship boundaries, in order to not commit violent acts against kin. But this opens a whole new set of questions, not least leaving us wondering if that, then, means it is okay to commit violent acts against non-kin; similarly, when we look at the number of domestic abuse cases, and the statistics of crimes committed by family members and loved ones upon each other, does knowledge of kinship really stop violent acts?

The title of the lecture was obviously referencing to Butler’s seminal first monograph, Gender Trouble (1990), and indeed the concept of kinship got the level of treatment given to the concept of gender in that earlier work. But what I found particularly interesting was the way Professor Butler brought the conclusions of these two lines of questioning. Gender Trouble has a feeling of dissatisfaction of the social structures that pervade and restrict certain people through enforcing conformation, and the lingering question of whether we really need them; “Kinship Trouble in the Bacchae” has a feeling of dissatisfaction at different social structures, but left the lingering question of whether we have a responsibility to operate and utilise those structures, extending the boundaries of “kin” to protect and help others on an immediate but also a global scale.

Chris Mowat,