Research Seminars for 2017/18

Both external and internal speakers are invited to the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment to present the latest results of their research. Everyone is invited, so please come along!

Semester 2

DateSpeakerTitle

18th January 2018

1pm-2pm

G72 (TA2) Bennett

(GL)

Dr Peter Fawdon

The Open University

Water, volcanoes and robots on Mars

This talk will give an overview of the geological history of Mars from a geomorphological perspective and discuss the upcoming ESA ExoMars 2020 rover mission.

This ExoMars 2020 mission has the express goal of identifying evidence for ancient life on Mars. Two crucial factors necessary for the success of life are water and a source of energy. To this end I will focus on the evidence for the activity of water on the surface and how volcanism has evolved over time, and finally presenting the process of selecting the Landing site for the ExoMars 2020 rover.

24th January 2018

1pm-2pm

F75a Bennett

(GG)

 

Professor Rosaleen Duffy

University of Sheffield

Interventionism for the Non-Human World: A Political Ecology of Intensifying Militarized Forms of Conservation

This talk explores an increasingly important question: what does it mean to extend the debates about global security and principles of interventionism to the non-human world? In this paper I explore how debates on interventionism are increasingly invoked as justifications for militarized and more forceful forms of protection for the non-human world.  I examine how such this has facilitated the continuation, intensification and extensification of militarized conservation. Therefore, this lecture develops a new lens on existing debates on global interventionism, which thus far have focused on the human world as the referent object.  Since 2009 the rising levels of poaching of iconic species, especially elephants and rhinos in Sub-Saharan Africa have hit the headlines and created a new sense of urgency. The idea of a crisis combined with fears about extinction of iconic species, have provided a fresh impetus for a more forceful and violent phase of a long running ‘war for biodiversity’.  This sense of urgency and crisis is increasingly encased in justifications, which draw heavily on Just War Theory and Responsibility to Protect. This paper critically analyses how such forceful responses in wildlife protection come to be regarded as normal, acceptable, and even desirable.

31st January 2018

1pm-2pm

F75a Bennett

(GG)

Dr Patrick O’Reilly

University of Leicester

CANCELLED

Title TBC

1st February 2018

1pm-2pm

G72 (TA2) Bennett

(GL)

Dr Tim Pritchard

University of Leicester

Shale Gas: Statistics, Science and Smoke & Mirrors?

Unconventional hydrocarbon production from organic rich mudstones  has had a substantial impact of global energy markets within the last decade, due to the development of technologies such as the drilling of extended reach horizontal wells and hydraulic stimulation (i.e. fracking). The United States leads the world in the development of these resources, but “Shale Gas” potential is also being realised in other countries (e.g. Algeria, Argentina,, Australia, Brazil, China, South Africa), and there is currently an active debate about the possible risks, benefits and uncertainties of developing such resources in the United Kingdom.

The development of these fields, however,  is controversial. There seem to be conflicting concerns and interests around  meeting energy demands, security of supply, reducing CO2 emissions, optimising economic costs, industry  regulation and environmental impacts (e.g. fugitive emissions, ground water contamination, induced seismicity etc). There are also significant uncertainties concerning how best to quantify in place and recoverable hydrocarbon volumes and design strategies to optimally develop these fields. This short talk aims to: explain why unconventional fields are so different from conventional fields; discuss the practical and commercial consequences; provide a prospective on the different statistical and scientific methods that are used when seeking to evaluate and develop these fields; and highlight the need for more fundamental research on the nature of these systems and recent developments in this area.

7th February 2018

1pm-2pm

F75a Bennett

(GG)

Dr Fabian Frenzel

School of Business, University of Leicester

 

Anti-Tourism, Tourism criticism and the agency of tourists

With anti-tourist social movements on the rise and cities across Europe and the world suffering from ‘overtourism’, where does academic tourism criticism stand, and importantly what can it contribute, in reflection and with historical awareness, to the understanding of tourism? The paper suggests that research attempting to understand tourism has tended to overlook tourists as agents of social and political change and prioritised a structuralist criticism of tourism, partly driven by anti-tourism within the academic class. Academic tourism criticism is likely to be affected by anti-tourism because of the centrality of mobility and travel to some academic research. The presentation offers a reflexive and materialist approach to tourism’s political economy, focusing on the rebellious and productive agency of tourists. The productivity of tourists’ rebellious agency is shown to be central for contemporary accumulation processes, but also autonomous, providing potential for a tourism beyond capital. Dr Frenzel discuss two vignettes of contemporary cases of rebellious tourist place-making in Rio de Janeiro and Johannesburg.

8th February 2018

1pm-2pm

G72 (TA2) Bennett

(GL)

Dr Anna Losiak

University of Exeter

 

Impact cratering: the most important current geological process in our solar system (and slightly less important on Earth)

Impact cratering is currently the most important geological process in our Solar System and (most probably) on most of exoplanets. It is modifying planetary surfaces by creating gigantic scars on its surface, and it can also induce planetary-scale changes such as formation of our own Moon. It is known to influence the life on Earth, most famously by killing dinosaurs, but also by fostering life thanks to delivering water and organic material to our planet.

Moon, Mars and asteroids are all covered by impact crater, but on Earth we currently know about only 190 impact structures – ranging from 13 m in diameter and only 11-year-old Carancas crater in Peru, up to 300 km in diameter and 2,1 Gy old Vredefort crater in the Republic of South Africa.

What can we learn by studying impact craters on Earth? Is formation of even small, ~100m in diameter, impact craters dangerous?

14th February 2018

1pm-2pm

F75a Bennett

(GL)

Dr Helen Williams

Cambridge Min Soc Distinguished Lecture

Tracing fluid transfer across subduction zones using iron and zinc stable isotopes

Subduction zones are the main site of volatile element transfer between the downgoing plate, the overriding mantle wedge and the Earth’s deep interior. The breakdown of serpentine minerals within the downgoing slab and the fluids released play a fundamental role in volatile cycling as well as the redox evolution of the sub-arc mantle. Constraining subduction-related serpentinite devolatilisation is essential in order to better understand of the nature and composition of slab-derived fluids and fluid/rock interactions.

Iron and Zn stable isotopes are recently-established geochemical tracers can trace fluid composition and speciation as isotope partitioning is driven by changes in oxidation state, coordination, and bonding environment. In the case of serpentinite devolatilisation, Fe isotope fractionation should reflect changes in Fe redox state and the formation of chloride and sulfide complexes; Zn isotope fractionation should be sensitive to complexation with carbonate, sulfide and sulfate anions.

This study involved targeting samples from Western Alps ophiolite complexes, interpreted as remnants of serpentinized oceanic lithosphere metamorphosed and devolatilized during subduction.  A striking negative correlation is present between bulk serpentinite Fe isotope composition and proportion of ferric iron, with the highest grade samples displaying the heaviest Fe isotope compositions and proportion of oxidised iron. The same samples also display a corresponding variation in Zn isotopes, with the highest grade samples displaying isotopically light compositions. The negative correlation between Fe and Zn isotopes and decrease in ferric iron content can explained by serpentinite sulfide breakdown and the release of fluids enriched in isotopically light Fe and heavy Zn sulphate complexes. The migration of these highly oxidizing sulfate-bearing fluids from the slab to the slab-mantle interface or mantle wedge has important implications for the redox evolution of the sub-arc mantle and the transport of metals from the subducting slab.

21st February 2018

1pm-2pm

F75a Bennett

(GG)

Dr Jacqueline Rosette

Swansea University

Using Lidar remote sensing to understand the seasonal dynamics of forests

Lidar is a valuable remote sensing tool which has been widely applied to estimate vegetation parameters using the observed vertical canopy profile.  GLAS, NASA’s former satellite lidar sensor, offers the opportunity for forest analysis at regional, national and global scales.  In addition to providing information regarding forest structure, lidar waveform metrics are sensitive to leaf area and also change in response to ground and canopy surface reflectivity at the emitted wavelength.  Since estimates of biophysical parameters are derived from these metrics, changes in reflectance due to seasonality or surface properties have implications for the accuracy of biomass estimates.  Having demonstrated these effects, estimates of apparent reflectance from ICESat/ GLAS are applied and explored in the context of suggested drought and seasonal green-up in Amazonia.

26th February 2018

6pm-8pm

LT1 Bennett

(GL)

Dr Sue Loughlin

Head of Volcanology, British Geological Survey, Edinburgh

59th Bennett Annual Lecture

The role of earth science in disaster risk reduction and development

In an increasingly globalised world, with a rapidly increasing population, earth science has an important role to play in building resilience of societies to natural hazards and climate change, and in encouraging sustainable development. Following international UN agreements such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in 2015, governments are increasingly seeking scientific evidence on which to base policy and decision-making. This opens great opportunities for earth scientists who are also engaging more with communities at risk, civil society and the private sector.

Challenge-led science requires effective partnerships across scientific disciplines and sectors to be successful and in order to do this, scientists must sometimes step out of their comfort zones. Real progress has been made by combining, for example, physical and social science methodologies to address disaster risk reduction. One of the current intractable challenges worldwide is then integrating disaster risk reduction into planning and development and this problem is particularly urgent in rapidly expanding cities. Case studies of some recent interdisciplinary research projects in disaster risk reduction in Ecuador, the Caribbean, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan and the UK will be presented  with some lessons learned.

28th February 2018

1pm-2pm

F75a Bennett

 

(GG)

Dr Emma Jackson

Goldsmiths, University of London

CANCELLED

1st March 2018

1pm-2pm

G72 (TA2) Bennett

(GL)

Professor Gretchen Früh-Green

ETH Zurich, Department of Earth Sciences, Zurich, Switzerland

ECORD Distinguished Lecture Series

Serpentinization and life: Insights through ocean drilling

This presentation will provide an overview of mid-ocean ridge processes and will highlight recent results of IODP Expedition 357, which aimed to investigate the links between serpentinization processes and microbial activity in the shallow subsurface of the Atlantis Massif on the western flank of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at 30°N. The Atlantis Massif is one of the best-studied oceanic core complexes and hosts the unique Lost City hydrothermal field on its southern wall. Serpentinization reactions in the underlying mantle rocks at Lost City produce high pH fluids that form large carbonate-brucite structures upon venting on the seafloor. The fluids have negligible dissolved carbonate and metals, but have high concentrations of hydrogen, methane and formate that support novel microbial communities. Exp. 357 used seabed rock drilling technology for the first time in the history of ocean drilling to recover ultramafic and mafic rock sequences along a detachment fault zone. The expedition also successfully applied new technologies that provide insight into active serpentinizing systems at slow-spreading ridges.

7th March 2018

1pm-2pm

F75a Bennett

 

(GG)

Dr Lazaliotas Karaliotas

University of Glasgow

Equals in solidarity: Thessaloniki’s Immigrants’ Place as the opening of emancipatory urban spaces

This seminar engages with the transformative and emancipatory potentialities of place-based solidarities in an era marked by increasing migratory flows and the proliferation of internal and external borders and exclusions. In so doing, it tells the story of Thessaloniki’s Immigrants’ Place; a social centre established in the early 2000s with the aim of providing a grassroots urban arrival infrastructure to newcomers in Thessaloniki. At a first level, up until today, the Immigrants’ Place supports newcomers in their settlement and everyday life in the city and provides them with a social space. More importantly, it also brings together newcomers and a number of the city’s grassroots political organizations to construct a convergence space wherein common political problems are discussed and common political strategies are devised. This article narrates how such grassroots urban arrival infrastructures are assembled, disassembled and re-assembled; opening emancipatory urban spaces. In parallel, drawing from Jacques Rancière’s conceptualization of equality and contemporary geographical work on solidarity, it explores how equality can form the basis for the forging of solidarities across difference and analyzes how some of the internal tensions of the Immigrants’ Place are dealt with.

8th March 2018

1pm-2pm

G72 (TA2) Bennett

(GL)

Professor Neil Rose

University College London

CANCELLED

Fly-ash particles as indicators of environmental change

Fly-ash is the particulate by-product of fossil-fuel combustion and is emitted with flue-gases into the atmosphere. The scale of emissions is vast and the distinctive morphology of these particles means that they are unambiguous indicators of contamination from these sources.

This talk will describe the use of these particles as indicators of fossil-fuel derived contamination, both spatially and temporally and how they have been employed in the acid rain debate, as proxies for other pollutants and more recently as a potential marker for the Anthropocene.

14th March 2018

1pm-2pm

F75a Bennett

(GG)

Professor Phil Hubbard

King's College London

Gentrification/Hipsterfication of the High Street

This seminar will explore the extent to which retail gentrification - and gentrification in general - is encouraged by policies designed to regenerate ‘failing’ and ‘unhealthy’ High Streets. Taking the case of Margate - once described as Britain’s worst High Street - the paper argues that retail policy pays scant need to the needs and wants of less affluent consumers, and instead encourages the colonisation of these spaces by businesses run by, and catering for, more affluent ‘hipsters’ and creative workers. These businesses are, in contrast to the businesses they displace, discoursed as healthy, community-minded and connective. Questioning such assertions, this paper concludes that retail policy is rooted in middle class assumptions about the ‘good’ High Street, and that this inevitably encourages forms of gentrification which are pernicious, but often uncontested.

15th March 2018

1pm-2pm

G72 (TA2) Bennett

(GG)

Lahiru S. Wijedasa

Theoretical Ecology & Modelling Lab, National University of Singapore

Title TBC

21st March 2018

1pm-2pm

F75a Bennett

(GG)

Dr Lucy Rowland

University of Exeter

The role of water transport in controlling tropical forest function

Tropical rainforests are well known for storing significant amounts of carbon and having a carbon cycle which is highly sensitive to changes in climate. Far less research has however been undertaken concerning the role water transport plays in controlling tropical forest function and how it may influence local and global feedbacks between the vegetation and the atmosphere under a changing climate. This talk will explore how tree water transport and the risks of this water transport system failing determines the response of a tropical forest to sustained severe drought conditions. The research uses the world’s longest running tropical rainforest drought experiment located in eastern Amazonia as a case study to explore the effects of long-term drought on sapflow and the interactions of plant hydraulic traits with plant growth. Initial findings indicate that the risk of a tree suffering from failure in its water transport system, alongside increasing light availability following large-scale drought-induced mortality at the study site, are the key controls which determine changes in key tropical forest functions, including both transpiration and growth.

28th March 2018

1pm-2pm

LT8 Bennett

(GL)

Professor Tatsuo Oji

University Museum, Nagoya University, Japan

Digging up the Ediacaran: Evidence for the early onset of intense animal activity from western Mongolia

There are good exposures of Cryogenian to early Cambrian rocks in the Gobi-Altay and Zavkhan regions of western Mongolia. The succession in Bayan Gol valley preserves trace fossils of deep burrows assignable to the ichnogenus Arenicolites that are dated to the uppermost Ediacaran, based on a combination of carbon isotope chemostratigraphy and its correlation to other regions such as China and Morocco, and the local first occurrence datum of the base-Cambrian index trace fossil Treptichnus pedum. Presence of deep burrowing in the late Neoproterozoic Mongolian succession suggests that the “Cambrian agronomic revolution” may have commenced earlier, at least locally in tropical settings near the palaeo-equator. The existence of U-shaped burrows, presumably made by bilaterians, also suggests complex animal behavior such as predation or predator-avoidance, a view that diverges from that of the "Garden of Ediacara".

Semester 1

DateSpeakerTitle

4th October 2017

1pm-2pm

F75a Bennett

(GL)

 

Henning Bauch

Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research c/o GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Kiel, Germany

Climate change and the role of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation – A “fresh” view from different angles

The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is an integral part of the Earth's climate system as it is instrumental in carrying the atmospheric heat generated in the tropics northward into the Arctic via oceanic and atmospheric circulation. Over the North Atlantic region climate variability during the Quaternary has been identified on various time scales due to changes in AMOC, ranging from glacial-interglacial, to millennial-centennial, and down to multi-decadal. Naturally, the processes involved – actively and/or secondarily as a feedback – were also quite variable, both temporally as well as spatially.

This lecture provides an overview and some new thoughts on crucial aspects of the causes and consequences of glacial and interglacial paleoenvironmental conditions as they are identified in marine sediments from different areas of the global ocean, that is, from the high-latitude polar regions to the subtropics.

5th October 2017

1pm-2pm

G72 (TA2) Bennett

(GL)

Dr Victoria McCoy

Newton International Fellow, University of Leicester

Soft tissue preservation in amber

Preservation of fossils in amber appears to be simple and perfect: an organism is entombed in resin, which hardens, protecting the carcass and ‘freezing’ it in time. However, although almost all fossils in amber look perfect to the naked eye, recent studies have revealed that this is often just an illusion.

The best preserved specimens are indeed perfect, and include external cuticle as well as internal soft tissues such as flight muscles and neural tissues. In contrast, many other amber sites are simply hollow molds, stained to a life-like color with remnant carbon. Actualistic taphonomic experiments reveal the factors that contribute to this variable preservation of fossils in amber.

This lecture will look at the future of amber palaeontology and how we can more accurately interpret the amber fossil record.

11th October 2017

1pm-2pm

F75a Bennett

(GG)

Dr Claire Belcher

Associate Professor in Earth System Science, University of Exeter

Fire Behaviour: Present and Past

Wildfires have occurred on Earth for some 410 million years. They have shaped our ecosystems and help regulate the habitability of our planet.

The impacts of fires must be tied to fire behaviour, that describes the energy flux within a fire and its distribution across a burned area.

Dr Belcher will present a snapshot of the wildFIRE Lab’s research that is developing novel tools and approaches to estimate fire behaviour across both modern- and deep-timescales in order to:

  1. Inform land management practices following modern wildfires
  2. Understand the palaeoecological impact of fires and their contribution to long‐term Earth System processes.

12th October 2017

1pm-2pm

G72 (TA2) Bennett

(GL)

Professor Jim Briden

Emeritus, University of Oxford

 

One day in the life of a Continental Drifter

The Continental Drift Controversy lasted for over 50 years with opponents (“fixists”) in the majority throughout.The tipping point in favour of Drift came suddenly, on a November day in 1966 in New York City - paradoxically at a conference intended to decide how to tackle the geology of the Moon in the Apollo landings, and geology had little part to play in the decisive discoveries. In retrospect it is clear that the balance of evidence had actually shifted some years previously. In this talk Professor Briden will explore why majority acceptance of drift was so delayed, what were the new discoveries that came together so unexpectedly and decisively, and why it still took a couple of years for the full Plate Tectonic model of earth dynamics to emerge.

19th October 2017

1pm-2pm

G72 (TA2) Bennett

(GL)

Professor Gavin Foster

Professor of Isotope Geochemistry, National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton

Insights into our warm future from the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM)

Our relatively recent geological past contains numerous real-world examples of the Earth functioning in altered climate states. Intervals of past global warmth hold the potential to provide unique insights into how the Earth System functions when significantly warmer than today and presents a reality check for the imperfect climate model simulations of our warm future. In particular, observations of our geological past allows us to explore the “unknown unknowns” that are impossible to parameterise even in the most sophisticated climate or Earth system model.

In this lecture Professor Foster will present new boron isotope data from the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) ~56 million years ago.  The PETM is an interval of global warmth commonly interpreted as being driven by the massive and rapid destabilization of carbon from surficial sedimentary reservoirs. If this interpretation is correct, this event has both important implications for the amplification of future fossil fuel emissions via carbon-climate feedbacks and offers a way to examine how climate sensitivity may vary as a function of background climate state.

25th October 2017

1pm-2pm

F75a Bennett

(GG)

Professor David Evans

Professor of Human Geography, University of Sheffield

POSTPONED

The politics of food qualities: Fresh perspectives on sustainable food systems

This presentation explores the industrial production of ‘freshness’ (cf. Freidberg 2009) as a quality of food in the UK and Portugal. Freshness is a paradoxical concept when applied to food insofar as the availability of produce that is thought to be ‘fresh’ (and by extension safe, healthy, wholesome and so on) relies on processes that are often anything but ‘natural’ (relying as they do on technological innovation and organisational interference). Drawing on a range of empirical materials – including key informant interviews with retailers and technical experts, archival sources, and observations with supply chain actors and households – Professor Evans addresses the multiple and mutable meanings and uses to which the term ‘freshness’ is put. Rather than seeing these differences as contrasting perspectives on essentially the same thing, or as social constructions, He approaches ‘freshness’ as a matter of enactment. The analysis considers the ontological politics of food qualities by exploring how different enactments of ‘freshness’ – temporal, technological, statistical, sensory – clash with but also collaborate and rely on one another. Focusing on the development and application of Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP), and on competing sources of fresh food provisioning (supermarkets, greengrocers and so on), attention is paid to the enrolment of consumers in particular enactments of freshness; the distribution of responsibilities for health and sustainability outcomes, and the (moral and political) economic realities that are modulated through these performances of qualities.

Crucially Professor Evans suggests that the articulation of value permits the alignment of different ontologies and thus interpret the paradox of industrial freshness as a matter of convention and public secrecy. To conclude he returns to the environmental consequences of this stabilization and argue that the slipperiness of qualities combined with the stickiness of conventions poses a particular challenge (and calls forth new responses) to the sustainability of food systems.

26th October 2017

1pm-2pm

G72 (TA2) Bennett

(GL)

Dr Dave Holwell

Associate Professor in Applied and Environmental Geology, University of Leicester

Death of magmatic Ni deposit, reincarnated in hydrothermal form

Magmatic sulfides hosted by mafic/ultramafic rocks are the largest resource of Ni and platinum group elements (PGE) on the planet. The genesis of these deposits by magmatic processes of sulfide saturation, enrichment and fractionation are well constrained. However, there are some Ni and PGE deposits that occur as hydrothermal deposits. These have puzzled economic geologists for years due to the largely immobile behaviour of Ni and PGE in hydrothermal fluids and most have loosely assumed a connection with magmatic sulfides, but that link is, as yet, unproven. By using Zeiss’ automated mineralogy to fully quantify a suite of samples that represent the alteration and destruction of magmatic sulfides under specific geologic conditions, it is apparent that this process liberates significant Ni, Cu, Fe, S and Pd to a fluid phase, such that it becomes a viable source of these metals into hydrothermal fluids, and whilst causing the death of the magmatic ore deposit, it has the potential to rise again and become one of these enigmatic hydrothermal Ni and PGE deposits.

1st November 2017

1pm-2pm

F75a Bennett

(GG)

Dr Thomas Smith

Lecturer in Physical & Environmental Geography, King’s College London

Smoke and mirrors: Why are tropical biomass burning emissions important? And how do we measure them?

Tropical peat swamp fires in Southeast Asia are a major source of greenhouse gases (GHGs), responsible for climate change; and reactive gases and aerosols, responsible for poor regional air quality affecting hundreds of millions of people. Approximately 90% of seasonal haze in Southeast Asia is due to fires burning on peatlands. This talk will explore recent developments made by the Wildfire Research Team at King’s College London and their collaborations to improve estimates of total emissions from tropical peatland fires in the Southeast Asia region. The talk will briefly review methods for assessing tropical biomass combustion using satellites before focussing on recent fieldwork efforts in Malaysia and Indonesia to improve our knowledge of variability in peat burn depth and emission factors (mass of gas/particulates emitted per kilogram of biomass combusted) – central to improving seasonal haze forecasting and regional carbon accounting.

2nd November 2017

1pm-2pm

G72 (TA2) Bennett

(GL)

Mr Holger Kessler

Team Leader Modelling Systems, British Geological Survey

3D geological modelling for infrastructure projects in the context of a national geological model

In this seminar Mr Kessler will show how 3D models are created from geological maps to understand and explain geology. He will also display how these models have been used in various different infrastructure projects in the UK.

The talk will contain some live demonstrations and pointers to data and resources on the world wide web.

7th November 2017

12pm-1pm

LT10 Bennett

(GG)

Professor Harvey Miller

Bob and Mary Reusche Chair in Geographic Information Science The Ohio State University

 

Data-driven Geography: Some big thoughts about Geographic Information Science in an era of plenty

In the 21st century, Geographic Information Science has shifted from a data-poor to a data-rich environment. How should we do things differently? And what should we not do?

In this talk, Professor Miller will outline three big thoughts for GIS in an era of plenty:

  1. Opportunistic GIScience (experiments are not just for labs anymore);
  2. Mesogeography (there is a middle path to geographic knowledge);
  3. GIScience, fast and slow (should our decisions be as fast as our data?)

8th November 2017

1pm-2pm

F75a Bennett

(GG)

Dr Sharif Mowlabocus

Senior Lecturer in Media Studies/DigitalMedia, University of Sussex

“A license to be reckless”: (re)framing gay men’s health in the era of same-sex marriage

In 2016, the National AIDS Trust took the NHS to Court over the provision of  pre-exposure prophylaxis (PReP), the drug treatment that protects against HIV infection. After the High Court ruled that PReP provision did fall within its remit, the NHS announced a moratorium on funding all new treatments, causing a furore over NHS funding and the morality of this new preventative treatment. In this paper, and drawing upon an archive of British news media, I explore the arguments made against the provision of PReP on the National Health Service in 2016. I begin by examining the discursive strategies employed by those who criticised the High Court ruling. These strategies included the invocation of key figures such as the ‘innocent bystander,’ the ‘vulnerable child,’ and the ‘hard-working public servant’ and were positioned in opposition to the ‘deviant’ gay male population.

I then move to consider the deployment of these strategies (as well as other rhetorical devices, and news framing techniques) within the context of recent LGBT civil rights victories, to consider the unforeseen ‘costs’ of what some might term the triumph of homonormative politics. Chiefly, I argue that in the so-called ‘post-equalities’ era, critics of PrEP appropriated key political gains for homophobic purposes. In doing so, they drew power from recent legislative successes to (re)stigmatise the sexual performances and identities of gay men living outside of the ‘homonormative’ framework of the ‘happy gay couple’. In doing so, the British news media succeeded in in (re)framing PrEP as a “license to be reckless” rather than as a solution to a historic health inequality.

9th November 2017

1pm-2pm

G72 (TA2) Bennett

(GL)

Dr Jessica Stanley

Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences

Inferring topographic evolution from the erosion history of the southern African Plateau

The southern African plateau is a dominant feature of African topography but there is considerable debate about when and how it formed. Topographic uplift is notoriously difficult to detect directly in the geologic record, but usually it triggers an response which can more readily be quantified.

Dr Stanley will talk about recent work documenting the timing and patterns of erosion across the southern African plateau using low temperature thermochronology, and use a landscape evolution model to explore the shape and magnitude of surface uplift implied by these and other erosion history data. Dr Stanley will also discuss the implications of these results for the role of deep earth and surface processes in shaping the southern African landscape.

15th November 2017

1pm-2pm

F75a Bennett

Dr Sarah Johnson

Knowledge Exchange Fellow, University of Leicester

Drawing Lines on a Map : Using social sciences to help remote sensing projects

Funding for many scientific projects is increasingly being focused on Official Development Assistance (ODA) compliant activities to support developing countries. This requires scientists, accustomed to dealing with data and algorithms, to learn more about how their data can be used and applied in real world applications. However, this is not as simple a task as it may first appear and can be full of social, political and economic complexities.

This talk draws on the experience of a Global Challenges Research Fund project, part of which looked at using Remote Sensing data to support pastoralists in Kenya and Mongolia. It concentrates on the requirements for remote sensing services, in terms of what users want and what their challenges are. It particularly examines how expertise from social sciences can help support the engagement with users. Such an approach has significant benefits in revealing a far greater depth of understanding of user needs. Significantly, it also allows scientists to think about the potential for misuse of their data which may have significant negative ramifications on the intended beneficiaries.

As a scientist, I share some of the lessons that I’ve learned from this project which may have implications for those working in physical and environmental sciences . It will also be of interest to human geographers interested in getting an insight into how their expertise can help shape the development of science based applications.

16th November 2017

1pm-2pm

G72 (TA2) Bennett

(GL)

Dr Ana Ferreira

Reader in Seismology, UCL

Mapping mantle (an)isotropy with big data and novel seismic observables.

Seismic tomography – the imaging of the structure of the Earth’s deep interior – has greatly progressed in the past 40 years. The large-scale features in the isotropic structure of the Earth’s upper mantle are now well resolved, showing an excellent correlation with tectonics (e.g., low velocities associated with mid-ocean ridges and back arcs, and fast velocities in continental shields). Yet, there are still discrepancies in the small-scale features in existing tomography images. As huge high-quality data volumes have accumulated, it has been possible to image more challenging properties, such as seismic anisotropy (the directional dependency of seismic wave speed), which is key to map and understand mantle flow. In addition, it is now timely to explore high-resolution observables that are rarely used, such as seismic wave amplitudes.

In this talk Dr Ferreira will present recent developments in seismic anisotropy tomography and its combination with geodynamical modelling to unravel deep mantle flow processes. She will also discuss new, sharp seismic images of the Earth’s upper mantle based on seismic amplitude data alone.

22nd November 2017

1pm-2pm

F75a Bennett

(GG)

Dr Julie Cupples

Reader in Human Geography, University of Edinburgh

The Celebritization of Indigeneity: Tame Iti as Media Figure

In recent years, a number of indigenous activists in different parts of the world have gained celebrity status in ways that carry interesting implications for contemporary cultural politics.  Nevertheless, the growing literature on celebrity culture has failed to pay sufficient attention to the complex dynamics surrounding this phenomenon.  This paper focuses on the celebritization of Tame Iti, arguably New Zealand’s best known Māori activist, within a wider cultural context characterized by intensifying media convergence, an expanding politics of decolonization, and the growing influence of Māori media in the New Zealand mediascape. We draw on forms of conjunctural and discursive analysis developed in cultural studies to explore how wider historical forces and social dynamics come to be embodied in particular flesh and blood individuals, who are thereby constituted as resonant media figures, who operate as both objects and agents of struggle, and who at once intervene in and shape, while also being shaped by, key terrains of contemporary discourse and cultural politics.

23rd November 2017

1pm-2pm

G72 (TA2) Bennett

(GL)

Professor Edward Rhodes

Professor of Physical Geography, University of Sheffield

Understanding fault behaviour with constraints from luminescence dating

Tectonic forces generated within the earth cause earthquakes, and these are sometimes associated with surface rupture. Repeated sequences of these events lead to significant landscape modification, and the construction of topography, including mountain building processes. Our understanding of these events and the mechanisms involved comes from direct measurement and observations of the present day, combined with geological data from past events. Data relevant to several earthquake cycles can be obtained at some sites, and luminescence dating of sediments associated with these events can contribute significantly to constraining their timing. Measurements of offset features such as terrace risers (the erosional boundary between two different elevation fluvial terraces) that have developed over several earthquake events can provide estimates of fault slip rate. There are particular issues associated with the dating of these contexts, but recent developments have produced results with important implications for the study of fault mechanics and seismic hazard, with key sites in California, USA, and the Marlborough Region, New Zealand.

29th November 2017

1pm-2pm

F75a Bennett

(GG)

Dr Chris Sandbrook

Senior Lecturer in Conservation Leadership at UNEP-WCMC, University of Cambridge

What do conservationists believe about people, nature and markets?

Recent years have seen heated debates within the conservation community about why, what and how to conserve. These have tended to be dominated by a small number of (mostly) white, western males occupying powerful positions. The Future of Conservation survey set out to discover what the wider community of conservationists felt about the issues under debate. With nearly 9,000 respondents, it is the largest ever survey of the conservation community, and provides some startling results that challenge conventional thinking. In this seminar, Chris Sandbrook will outline the contours of current conservation debates, provide an early insight into the unpublished findings of the survey, and discuss their implications for the conservation movement. (If you would like to take the survey yourself, it is at www.futureconservation.org)

30th November 2017

1pm-2pm

G72 (TA2) Bennett

(GL)

Dr Dan Smith

Lecturer in Applied and Environmental Geology, University of Leicester

Tellurium Tomorrow: Solar Power, Supply, Demand and Waste of a Rare Material

Tellurium is one of the least abundant elements in the Earth’s crust, yet society has a burgeoning need for a reliable supply of this semi-metal, particularly as a key ingredient in solar panels. Although established uses in alloys and computer components have declined, rapid growth in solar power has dramatically increased the consumption of tellurium. Tellurium is almost exclusively produced as a by-product of refining other metals (chiefly copper), and at present, industry is poorly positioned to increase supply in line with growing demand. Alternative sources exist however; a number of mineral deposit types are notably enriched in tellurium. Why some deposits are enriched in Te in particular is puzzling; this lecture will unpick some reasons why this rare element becomes enriched in particular environments.

A continuing challenge for tellurium supply has been in the “how” of recovering it. There are a number of metallurgical problems with the extraction of the element even from enriched ores. This talk will outline some novel solvents being developed at the University of Leicester that have the potential to radically change the way we process ore minerals, and transform the supply of rare metals such as tellurium, all while reducing the economic and environmental impacts of mineral processing.

6th December 2017

1pm-2pm

F75a Bennett

(GG)

Dr Graeme Swindles

Associate Professor of Earth System Dynamics, University of Leeds

Peatlands and environmental change: From the Amazon to the Arctic

7th December 2017

1pm-2pm

G72 (TA2) Bennett

(GL)

Dr Tom Harvey

Lecturer in Geoscience, University of Leicester

 

 

Microscopic “Burgess Shales”: expanding the fossil record of early animal evolution

The fossil record documents an explosive Cambrian radiation of animals and other organisms. In particular, Burgess Shale-type Lagerstätten provide us with staggeringly detailed snapshots of the unfolding drama, via their exceptional preservation of articulated, non-biomineralizing macrofossils. By definition, however, exceptional occurrences tell us little about larger-scale patterns and processes. As a result, we still cannot say when animals first evolved, or whether Burgess Shale-type assemblages are representative of Cambrian communities more generally. To fill some of the gaps, Dr Harvey focuses his attention on small carbonaceous fossils, or SCFs, which can be thought of as the microscopic counterparts to Burgess Shale fossils, but which are turning out to be far more widespread. As well as expanding the known range of Burgess Shale-type animals, SCFs include “cryptic” forms including derived crustaceans and meiofaunal loriciferans. In this talk Dr Harvey will review some of the key discoveries from his recent work on SCFs from western Canada and the Baltic Basin, and address the thorny issue of whether animals originated as microscopic forms long before the Cambrian.

13th December 2017

1pm-2pm

F75a Bennett

(GG)

Dr Mary Menton
Seed International

Governing Amazonia: Power, Politics, and Contested Landscapes

Based on the results of over a decade of research in Amazonia, ranging from forest policy analysis to studies of smallholder livelihoods to an assessment of the drivers behind land/resource conflicts in the region, this seminar will address the conflicting visions of ‘development’ in the Amazon. While many powerful players push for ‘sustained’ development, other actors advocate for ‘sustainable’ livelihoods. Focusing on examples from Peru and Brazil, we will explore the discord between these visions and realities on the ground for local people. We will address the multi-level policy processes and power dynamics that drive decision-making around natural resource governance in the region.

Share this page:

Contact Details

School of Geography, Geology and the Environment
University of Leicester
University Road
Leicester
LE1 7RH, UK
T: +44 (0)116 252 3933
E: geography@le.ac.uk
E: geology@le.ac.uk