Goodman Lecture Series

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2019 Lecture Details

Speaker: Professor Philippa Levine, University of Texas at Austin
Topic:  All Will Be Revealed: The Politics of Nakedness and the Dilemma of British Morality
Dates: October 1 - 3, 2019
Time: 2:30 p.m. Great Hall, Somerville House Rm 3326

Oct 1     Going Naked for the Lord: The Body Divine

Oct 2     The Empire Has No Clothes: The Body Primitive

Oct 3     To See Is To Know: The Body Observed

These lectures argue that nakedness was a key historical construct on which morality and aesthetics as well as scientific practice has drawn significantly. In the British empire, where the calibration of difference was paramount, nakedness came to define savagery and subjecthood.  In science and medicine, it was held to connote truths otherwise unfindable.  In art, albeit controversial, the figure of the nude always commanded an audience; indeed, classical nudity was extolled as the very basis of proper high art. The distinction between nakedness as a sign of absence and loss and nudity as an aesthetic condition has complicated opinions and ideas on the topic, yet diverse institutions have attempted to order and to organise, to regulate and to banish, to promote and to sell nakedness. Focusing on imperialism, religion and new terrains of knowledge, these talks focus on a cultural history with surprisingly powerful contemporary resonance.

About our 2019 Speaker: Philippa Levine

Elaine Tyler May

Philippa Levine is the Walter Prescott Webb Chair in History and Ideas at the University of Texas at Austin and co-director of the university’s Programme in British Studies. She has written on the history of feminism, of socially transmissible diseases, prostitution and eugenics as well as the British Empire. Her most recent publications include Eugenics: A Very Short Introduction (New York, 2017) and The British Empire: Critical Readings (London, 2019).

About the Joanne Goodman Lecture Series

Presented by the Department of History

Every autumn a distinguished historian is invited to Western University to deliver three public lectures on consecutive afternoons to students, faculty and members of the London community. The lecture series was established in 1975 by the Honourable Edwin A. Goodman and his family of Toronto to perpetuate the memory of their beloved elder daughter, a second year History student who died in a highway accident in April of that year.

The theme of the series is the history of the Atlantic Triangle (Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom). The first lectures were given in 1976 by the leading Canadian military historian, Colonel Charles Stacey, on 'Mackenzie King and the Atlantic Triangle'. Occasionally there have been lectures outside the general framework. In 1995, for example, the topic was 'The Birth of the "New" South Africa', tracing the collapse of apartheid and the construction of a new political and social system since 1990, by Rodney Davenport, a South African historian and opponent of apartheid.

The endowment also supports publication so that these important lectures may be shared by a readership well beyond the immediate audience at Western University. Most of the lectures have been published as books, either in a form similar to lectures or as part of a larger work. The lectures are widely recognized as being the most important history lecture series in Canada. The invitation to deliver them and the publications that result are highly regarded in this country and around the world.

Past Speakers

To see a list of our past Goodman Lecturers, click here. Many of the lectures are also available as books, please click here for a list.

For recorded past Goodman Lectures, click here.

In The News

(Sept 24, 2017) The Gazette - "Popular history comes to 2017 Joanne Goodman Lectures" [Read Article]
(Sept 21, 2016) Western News - "Making a Middle Ages connection in politics" [Read Article]
(Sept 20, 2012) Western News - "Goodman Lectures create a legacy from tragedy" [Read Article]


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