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Public Seminar Series Michaelmas term 2020

Series convenors: Professor Matthew J Gibney and Professor Tom Scott-Smith

About the seminar

Set against the backdrop of soaring inflation, rolling blackouts, fuel riots, roadblocks, and antigovernment protests, this talk explores a new language of political crisis in Haiti that draws on the concept of unlivable life. In so doing, it seeks to directly connect political responses to crisis, such as protests over the high cost of living or government corruption, with ordinary or seemingly banal disasters, such as a capsized boat that led to the deaths of dozens of overseas migrants to show how the political crisis in Haiti appears in people’s lives in both ordinary and catastrophic ways. This talk uses the Haitian concept of “the unlivable” to theorize the dialectical relationship between a general atmosphere of crisis and the particular effects to which it routinely gives rise.

About the speaker

Greg Beckett is Assistant Professor in Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of Western Ontario. He is a cultural anthropologist who studies crisis, disaster, and trauma from the standpoint of moral experience. He is interested in how people make sense of exceptional events and also in the ethical and political relationships that emerge in and around responses to crisis, especially in forms of humanitarian intervention. His geographic areas of expertise are the Caribbean, specifically Haiti, where he has worked for about fifteen years.


The seminar will be held via Zoom.

Please direct enquiries to


Watch the video on YouTube

Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture

The Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture is held in Trinity term. It is named after Professor Elizabeth Colson, a renowned anthropologist.

Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture

The Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture is named in honour of Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond, the founding Director of the Refugee Studies Centre. It is held each year in Michaelmas term.

Public Seminar Series

Each term the RSC holds a series of public seminars, held on Wednesday evenings at Queen Elizabeth House. Click here for details of forthcoming seminars.

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A celebration of the life of David Turton

Saturday, 20 July 2024, 2pm to 3pm @ The Crypt Cafe, St Peters Church, Northchurch Terrace, London N1 4DA