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Annual Arts and Humanities Prokhorov Lectures

We host two lectures by world-leading academics and public intellectuals each year.

Past speakers have included Christopher Clark, Terry Eagleton, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Martin Jay, Marjorie Levinson, TJ Reed,and Marina Warner.

Our public lectures are part of the University of Sheffield's Global Humanities Initiative. They are open to academics, students, and the general public and are supplemented by lectures by Sheffield staff as well as a range of student-centred activities – such as exhibitions, workshops, and panel debates – facilitated by the Students' Union and the student societies in our arts and humanities departments. The main themes for our upcoming lectures are capitalist markets and their ethics; thinking about the future; and the politics of faith in a multicultural context.

2017 lectures

2017 lecture programme


Watch again: Dame Marina Warner

At home in your head – stories in times of displacement

Best-selling novelist, short-story writer, and scholar Dame Marina Warner gave the second 2016-17 Annual Arts and Humanities Prokhorov Lecture on Thursday 23 February 2017.

Marina Warner explored the relationship between the way we tell stories and the refugee crisis, asking: is culture strong enough to help?

In conversation with Dame Marina Warner

Writer and mythographer Marina Warner discusses Jung, Cinderella, the figure of the wicked stepmother, and more with the Prokhorov Centre's Henk de Berg.

Watch lecture and all interviews

About our speaker

Dame Marina Warner – best-selling novelist, short-story writer, and scholar – is best-known for her work on feminism and myth. Her first book, The Dragon Empress (1972), offers both a study of the Empress Dowager Cixi, or Tz’u-hsi, and a fascinating portrait of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century China, while her second book, Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary (1976), which on its publication generated fierce international controversy, now counts as a standard work in feminist cultural criticism.

Since then, she has published a large number of both fiction and non-fiction works, including From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers (1994) and Phantasmagoria: Spirit Visions, Metaphors, and Media into the Twenty-First Century (2006). Her many national and international prizes and honorary degrees include The Holberg Prize, the Commendatore dell’Ordine della Stella di Solidareità, the Aby Warburg Prize, and the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

2018 lectures

2018 lecture programme


Christianity: The big picture – Diarmaid MacCulloch

Diarmaid MacCulloch
22 February 2018

Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Sheffield Cathedral

Diarmaid MacCulloch will deliver the first 2017-18 Arts and Humanities Prokhorov Lecture on the topic 'Christianity: The big picture'.

About our speaker

Diarmaid MacCulloch is known above all for his award-winning studies of Tudor England and his BBC television documentaries on the history of Christianity.

His books include Henry VIII: Politics, Policy, and Piety; Thomas Cranmer: A Life; and The Boy King: Edward VI and the Protestant Reformation. Among his television documentaries are A History of Christianity; Henry VIII’s Enforcer: The Life and Fall of Thomas Cromwell; and Sex and the Church.

Diarmaid MacCulloch, who in 2012 received a knighthood for services to scholarship, is Professor of the History of the Church at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of the British Academy.

Diarmaid MacCulloch. Credit: Chris GibbionsDiarmaid MacCulloch. Credit: Chris Gibbions

Money, markets, and morals – John Lanchester

John Lanchester
10 May 2018
Time: 6pm
Venue: Firth Hall, Firth Court at the University of Sheffield

The second 2017-18 Arts and Humanities Prokhorov Lecture will take place on Thursday 10 May 2018, from 6pm, when John Lanchester will speak about money, markets, and morals.

About our speaker

John Lanchester is one of Britain's leading novelists.

His latest novel, Capital, was made into a three-part BBC television series which starred Toby Jones and won the 2016 International Emmy for best TV movie or mini-series.

He has written for The Guardian, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, and Esquire. Described by Michael Lewis as “one of the world’s great explainers of the financial crisis and its aftermath”, John Lanchester is also the author of the New York Times best-selling Whoops! Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay (published in the US as I.O.U.) as well as How to Speak Money.

John Lanchester. Credit: Amrei-MarieJohn Lanchester. Credit: Amrei-Marie

Lecture highlights

Lecture highlights


Watch highlights from our Prokhorov Lecture series below.

Browse all Prokhorov Lectures

Beginning in their times: Homer, Montaigne, Shakespeare (and some others)

TJ (Jim) Reed
1 December 2016

TJ Reed gave the first 2016-17 Arts and Humanities Prokhorov Lecture on the topic: Beginning in Their Times: Homer, Montaigne, Shakespeare (and Some Others).

Watch Henk de Berg’s interview with Reed

About our speaker

TJ (Jim) Reed, formerly Taylor Professor of the German Language and Literature at the University of Oxford, is the President of the English Goethe Society and a Fellow of the British Academy.

He is also a founding member of the Collegium Europaeum Jenense and a corresponding member of the Göttinger Akademie der Wissenschaften.

His books include Thomas Mann: The Uses of Tradition (1974), The Classical Centre (1980), Goethe (1984), Schiller (1991), Humanpraxis Literatur (2001), Mehr Licht in Deutschland. Eine kleine Geschichte der Aufklärung (2009), and Light in Germany: Scenes from an Unknown Enlightenment (2015). TJ Reed is the recipient of the Gold Medal of the Goethe-Gesellschaft, the Research Prize of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Freiburg.

Annual Prokhorov Lecture 2016: The past and future of the humanities

Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht
5 May 2016

Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, one of today’s most eminent public intellectuals, gave the Annual Prokhorov Lecture: The past and future of the humanities.

Gumbrecht is a regular contributor to a wide variety of newspapers, including the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and the Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

Watch Henk de Berg’s interview with Gumbrecht

About our speaker

Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht holds the Albert Guérard Chair in Literature at Stanford University.

In addition to eight Honorary Doctorates from universities in Canada, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, and Russia as well as a variety of other international accolades, he has received the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching in the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford and the Cuthberson Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Stanford. His books have been translated into over twenty languages.