‘A Sense of Place’ lecture series – 2022- 23


Thursday 24th November 2022

Keynote Lecture 

Paul Auchtelonie and Professor Ian Netton

“Devon, the DEI and the World of Islam”

The talk will explore the links between Devon and the World of Islam and how these links have changed over time.  Paul Auchterlonie will be using examples of books held by the DEI to explore the changing nature of the relationship, while Ian will be using his expertise is Islamic studies, his long experience of the Arab World, and his involvement in the  Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies from its earliest days to comment on the subjects of the books and to place the relationship in a wide context.

Apart from a short spell as Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Leeds, Ian Netton has been based at the University of Exeter since 1976. He is the author or editor of almost 25 books on Arabic and Islamic themes,  and is now Emeritus Professor of Islamic Studies at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter.

Paul Auchterlonie was Librarian for Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter from 1981 until his retirement in 2011, and is the author of Encountering Islam, a study and edition of a unique work on Islam by Exeter author, Joseph Pitts.

Doors 6pm / Talk 6.30pm / Supper 7.30pm
Tickets £25


Thursday 26th January 2023

Dr Kathryn Edwards

“In Vogue: William Courtenay, 9th Earl of Devon.”

William Courtenay the 9th Earl of Devon during his lifetime was well-established within high society Georgian England. He was on the cutting edge of fashion and societal trends. A captivating person who was thought of as the most beautiful boy in all of England when he was young. The Earl became a talented man who lovingly cared for his family and was well respected by his workers. This talk will discuss the 9th Earls life at Powderham Castle, his love affair with William Beckford and his newfound popularity with researchers today.

Dr. Kathryn Edwards is the current Head of Collections at Powderham Castle. Having gained her PhD in Archaeology from the University of Exeter in 2022 after studying blacksmithing as material and social practice in Southern India and Sri Lanka, she has since focused her academic interest into the connections between material studies and their social worlds onto the historical collections at Powderham and the stories they reveal.

Doors 6pm / Talk 6.30pm / Supper 7.30pm
Tickets £25


Thursday 23rd February 2023

Lisa Wojahn

“Married and Alone: The Unusual Lives of Women Who Married Royal Navy Officers.”

The women who married officers in the Royal Navy spent much of their lives alone but married. These conditions meant that they often not only handled work which most married women husbands performed, but also supported their husbands’ professions acting as aides-de-camp. This entailed collecting intelligence on Admiralty policies, foreign events, Parliamentary actions, and social developments. They created emotional intimacy through their letters as their marriages were often more imagined than lived. Nineteenth-century wives of naval officers are a useful category to study as they enhance our understanding of naval history, alter our perceptions of married women’s labour in the British Empire, challenge our beliefs about public and private spheres, and enrich the historiography of gender.

Lisa Wojahn, a Ph.D. student at the University of Exeter, is a social historian of nineteenth-century Britain focusing on the maritime world. Her current research documents the unusual lives of women who married officers of the Royal Navy. It incorporates elements from social, maritime, and gender history. She earned two graduate degrees from Rice University, a Master of Liberal Arts with a project titled Crimea through Russian Eyes: Politics, History, and Memory and a Diploma of Liberal Arts with a thesis, Royal Navy Officers’ Wives Georgian to Victorian: “I must fain look to myself.” In her free time, she loves to spend time with her family, read, and travel.

Doors 6pm / Talk 6.30pm / Supper 7.30pm
Tickets £25


Thursday 30th March 2023

Professor Philip Schwyzer, Dr Niall Allsopp and Dr David Parry 

“Writing Religious Conflict and Community in Exeter, 1500–1750.”

In a sermon on the eve of Civil War, Exeter Puritan minister John Bond hailed Exeter as ‘a Beacon upon a hill, yea, as the Centre, heart and head of the West’. As an influential regional capital, Exeter was a centre for religious as well as political developments, and played a pivotal role in successive national conflicts, including the Prayerbook Rebellion/Western Rising of 1549, the Civil Wars, the Glorious Revolution, and the ‘Exeter Arian Controversy’ in eighteenth-century Dissent. Through these crises, Exeter’s preachers, poets, and printers expounded, defended, and contested competing visions of faith and fellowship.

The ReConEx project (‘Writing Religious Conflict and Community in Exeter, 1500–1750’) draws on a wealth of literary evidence (including poems, sermons, prophecies, pamphlets, letters, travel writing, captivity narratives, diaries, memoirs, and spiritual autobiographies) to trace how Exeter’s religious identity was written into being and fought over in the generations following the Protestant Reformation. In this event, we will introduce our project findings so far and will explore how the city of Exeter functioned as a sacred space and a site of confessional conflict facilitating encounters between individuals and the divine as well as between a diverse range of competing and co-existing religious communities.

Philip Schwyzer, Niall Allsopp and David Parry are members of the Department of English and Creative Writing at the University of Exeter. Philip Schwyzer is Professor of Renaissance Literature, with research interests including personal and collective memory, antiquarianism and national identities. Niall Allsopp is Lecturer in Early Modern Literature, with research interests including the literature of the English Civil War, political ideas, and religious and civic ceremonies. David Parry has served in teaching and research roles at Exeter since 2017, with research interests including Puritan writers such as John Milton and John Bunyan and the intersections of rhetoric, religion and intellectual history.

Doors 6pm / Talk 6.30pm / Supper 7.30pm
Tickets £25


Thursday 27th April 2023

 John Allan

‘New light on the development of Cathedral Close’

Join us as we welcome archaeologist John Allan, BA, MPhil, for an exciting talk about his most recent research, as part of our ‘A Sense of Place’ lecture series. John was the Curator of Antiquities at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum for twenty years (1984-2004), and more recently has acted as Consultant Archaeologist to the Dean and Chapter of Exeter Cathedral, and Archaeological Consultant to Glastonbury Abbey. He has published a considerable amount of research on aspects of the medieval and post-medieval archaeology of South West England.

This talk will describe a piece of research undertaken jointly with Dr Robert Higham which has  attempted to understand more fully  the development of Cathedral Close from Anglo-Saxon times into the recent past. It will show that the form of part of the Close we see today is of Anglo-Saxon date, but other parts  of it (including the block of properties in which the Institution now lies) were the result of an active programme of acquiring new properties in the 13th and 14th centuries, designed to provide accommodation for the growing body of staff who served the cathedral. The lecture will be illustrated with a new series of detailed plans which will show the development of the Close at different stages over a period of almost 1000 years.

Doors 6pm / Talk 6.30pm / Supper 7.30pm
Tickets £25