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Ruderal Poetics: Epic, Empire and the tenacity of weeds

April 18 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

FREE - no booking required

The Annual Patrides Lecture

This lecture reflects on the growth in the cracks of the edifices of the past, and of imperial and national narratives. From the classical imagination to its early modern successors, much attention has been paid to the building of foundations, to architectural imaginations as part of accounts of civilisation itself. This lecture will turn its attention instead to the tenacity of weeds that have always shared that space, to the unwanted, alien intrusions, vegetal and otherwise, that grow in the interstices of epic and imperial imaginings.

The Annual Distinguished Patrides Lecture commemorates the wonderful and engaging Renaissance scholar, C.A Patrides, who worked at the newly founded university from 1964 to 1979. The Lecture series has been running since the 1980s and has featured many of the great and most entertaining scholars writing on the era. It is a public lecture and we warmly invite anyone interested in literature and the humanities to attend, and to stay for a wine reception, following the talk.

About the speaker

Nandini Das is Professor of Early Modern English Literature and Culture at Oxford University and Fellow of Exeter College, and holds an honorary professorship at the University of Liverpool, UK. She works on Renaissance literature and cultural history, with special emphasis on travel and cross-cultural encounters between Europe and Asia in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. She has written Robert Greene’s Planetomachia (2007), Renaissance Romance: The Transformation of English Prose Fiction, 1570-1620 (2011), and published widely on Renaissance literature and cross-cultural encounter. With Tim Youngs, she has co-edited The Cambridge History of Travel Writing (2019), and is editing the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Travel, Race and Identity in Early Modern England. She is volume editor of Elizabethan Levant Trade and South Asia in the Oxford edition of Richard Hakluyt’s Principal Navigations, and as project director for the ‘Travel, Transculturality and Identity in Early Modern England’ (ERC-TIDE) project, she has co-written and edited Keywords of Identity and Lives in Transit, about early modern English concepts around identity and race and the lives they touched. Her most recent book, Courting India: England, Mughal India, and the Origins of Empire, received the 2023 British Academy Book Prize for Global Cultural Understanding.


April 18
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
FREE - no booking required


University of York Open Lectures


Room BS/104, The Treehouse, Berrick Saul Building, Campus West, University of York
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