SEASON 2 | Summer 2022
OUR LECTURERS

  • Dr Eric Hendriks-Kim | Social & Political Theory

  • Prof Ljiljana Radenovic | Philosophy

  • Natalia Zdorovtsova | Neuroscience

  • Ben Sixsmith | Writing

  • Esmé Partridge | Christianity, Islam, Modernity

  • Ancient Days | Old English Poetry

  • Lin Manuel Rwanda | Akkadian

  • Philippe Lemoine | Epidemiology

  • Jane Cooper | Early Modern English Literature

Dr Eric Hendriks-Kim

Course: Social & Political Theory
 

Who are you? 

I’m absent-minded, boyishly naughty in how I play with ideas, and prone to poke at political beehives, to then be surprised that I, again, got stung.

 

How did you become interested in your subject? 

When I realized—truly realized—that all our seemingly apolitical social theories are refined political schemes and that that makes them so brilliant.

 

Why are you the best to teach it? 

Because I’m genuinely open-minded and good at exploring different ideologies. Hey, I never aspired to be the open-minded guy (and I’m sure it’s mainly a vice)—but here we are.

 

What’s your “pet hate”? 

This one is more pet than hate: facing everyday discomfort and chaos in China. During my Beijing years, I successfully persuaded myself that it was all part of the adventure.

 

Secret aspiration? 

To become an Oxbridge goofball like my hero Yuan Yi Zhu, for which I will have to shake off years of Dutch and German socialization in literal-mindedness.

 

Follow me on Twitter: @HendrKim

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Ljiljana Radenovic

Course: Philosophy

 

Who are you?

 An Eastern European professor of philosophy who used to live in the West.

How did you become interested in your subject?

During the socialist period I realized there was more to the world than dialectic materialism.

Why are you the best to teach it?

My love for philosophy was tested through the civil wars and economic sanctions. Even when smuggling food across the borders I was reading Plato, Locke and Kant. If anybody can teach you the passionate search for the true, good and beautiful in the trying times it’s me.

What’s your “pet hate”?

Relativism and photos of elaborate meals.

Secret aspiration

To make ethics disappear from Philosophy departments just like Marxism once did in ex-socialist countries.

Follow me on Twitter: @ljiljana1972

Natalia Zdorovtsova

Course: Neuroscience

Who are you?

I’m a neuroscience PhD student and researcher at the University of Cambridge. I’m also an avid painter, terrible violinist, and collector of obscure historical interests.

 

How did you become interested in your subject?

I am deeply interested in patterns that seem to appear across all of nature. The brain showcases these patterns beautifully—from the branching of neurons to the dynamic electrical activity of the cortex, it is a wondrous thing to explore. It is also the material basis for the mind. 

 

Why are you the best to teach it?

The focus of my research, developmental cognitive neuroscience, means that I am always engaging with issues surrounding complexity and the brain. 

 

What’s your “pet hate”?

People who say things like “The brain is just ____.”

 

Secret aspiration

To become a famous artist.

Follow me on Twitter: @neuro_biologia

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Ben Sixsmith

Course: Writing

 

Who are you?

I am an English writer living in Poland. I have written for The Spectator, UnHerd, The Critic, The Washington Examiner, Quillette and The American Conservative among other publications.

 

How did you become interested in your subject?

Scribbling little stories when I was a kid.

 

Why are you the best to teach it?

As a naturally lazy person who hates reading never mind editing his stuff, and who has spent years fitting writing round a „real job”, I am all too acquainted with the obstacles between creative aspirations and creative output. I hope I am also relatively competent at organising language entertainingly.

 

What’s your pet hate?

Craft beer.

 

Secret aspiration

To become a brand ambassador for Tyskie

Follow me on Twitter: @BDSixsmith

Esmé L K Partridge

Course: Christianity, Islam, Modernity

 

Who are you?

A writer and soon-to-be Theology postgrad student at Cambridge. I currently work as an interfaith consultant on projects at the intersection of religion and politics. 

 

How did you become interested in your subject?

I stumbled across the works of the 9th Century Muslim polymath Al-Kindi and they made me challenge what the modern West teaches to be ‘philosophy’.

 

Why are you the best to teach it?

I'm still learning, but I approach my subject from a number of angles - both academically and from studying on a campus where questions about religion and modernity were especially divisive - and, for me, difference of opinion inspires curiosity.

 

What’s your “pet hate”?

The saying ‘it’s not that deep’ (it usually is)!

 

Secret aspiration

To get over my crippling fear of planes and see some more of the world. 

 

Follow me on Twitter @EsmeLKPartridge 

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Ancient Days

Course: Old English Poetry

Who are you?

A lonesome hill-dweller with a fondness for farming, medieval poetry, and contemplating the dust.

How did you become interested in your subject?

After reading Beowulf in high school, I wanted to understand why it resonated with me so deeply. I have since realized that so much of what I love about Old-English poetry exists in the character of my grandfather, who means the world to me.

Why are you the best to teach it?

Because I resolutely believe in the living wisdom of the literature, and don’t see it as just some formal curio that serves only the purpose of linguistics or history.

What’s your “pet hate”

Geek culture; it ruins everything.

Secret aspiration

To write music, poetry, and fiction in service of the landscape and people of Southeast Appalachia.

Follow me on Twitter: @AncientDays1

Lin Manuel Rwanda

 

Course: Akkadian

 

Who are you?

An epistemic trespasser and living fossil.

How did you become interested in your subject?

By exploring the influences of the Levantine, Anatolian, and Mesopotamian cultures on the Bronze Age Aegean and Classical civilisations. 

Why are you the best to teach it?

Virtually nobody else is doing it.

What’s your “pet hate”?

Nuance.

 

Secret aspiration

To bring vigour and energy back to the study of the human past.

Follow me on Twitter: @LinManuelRwanda

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Philippe Lemoine

Course: Epidemiology

Who are you?

X
 

How did you become interested in your subject?

X
 

Why are you the best to teach it?

X
 

What’s your “pet hate”

X
 

Secret aspiration

X

Follow me on Twitter: @phl43

Jane Cooper

 

Specialism: Early Modern English Literature

Who are you?

In no particular order: a fan of the sonnet, graduate in early modern English literature, follower of Ronald Knox.

How did you become interested in your subject?

As a teenager, I read John Donne’s Holy Sonnets and found that I agreed with Percy Shelley’s claim that language, colour, form, and religious and civil habits of action are all the instruments and materials of poetry.

Why are you the best to teach it?

I respect the subject such that I believe I will always be a student of it, even when I am its teacher.

What’s your “pet hate”?

The academic fixation on ‘the body’.

Secret aspiration

To revive the old Oxonian office of the terrae filius – the annual election of a student to give satirical speeches lampooning anyone they choose including professors, at their own peril – in universities across the country.

Follow me on Twitter: @yeppjane

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