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Sheffield Prokhorov Lectures

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

The Sheffield Prokhorov Lectures are open to academics, students, and the general public and are supplemented by a range of further activities such as master
classes and panel debates.

2020 lectures

Propaganda and the war against reality – Peter Pomerantsev

  • Tuesday, 3 March, 6.30pm
  • Diamond, LT-1

Peter PomerantsevAbout the talk

Today, more than ever before, information is being weaponised – by nations, politicians, and terrorists. We live in the age of alternative facts and narrative truth, of dark advertising, Internet bots, and computer hacking. What looks like real news is often fake, and so-called fake news is often real. Acclaimed author Peter Pomerantsev will explore this fascinating and frightening era of disinformation we live in.

About our speaker

Writer, journalist, and TV producer Peter Pomerantsev is a leading expert on information manipulation. His 2014 book Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible – a look into the surreal heart of the new Russia – won the 2016 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and was nominated for the Samuel Johnson, Guardian First Book, Puskhin House, and Gordon Burn Prizes. It was translated into over a dozen languages. His This Is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War against Reality was published in 2019. Peter Pomerantsev is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Global Affairs at the London School of Economics.


The National and the International: Institutions and Theories – Katerina Clark

  • Friday, 22 May 2020 | 4pm
  • Firth Court, Council Room

Katrina ClarkAbout the talk

Katerina Clark will focus on the interplay of Marxist aesthetic theories and Soviet cultural institutions. She will explore this dynamic relationship in both its national and international dimensions, while also trying to answer the question what role it played in the overall Soviet politico-aesthetic project. The talk is simultaneously the keynote speech of the Prokhorov Centre’s international conference on the aesthetics of communism, organised by the Centre’s Evgeny Dobrenko.

About our speaker

Originally from Australia, Katerina Clark is the B. E. Bensinger Professor of Comparative Literature and Slavic Languages and Literatures at Yale University. Her most famous book is Mikhail Bakhtin (1984), written together with Michael Holquist and one of the most influential texts in twentieth-century literary theory. Among her other books are Moscow, the Fourth Rome: Stalinism, Cosmopolitanism and the Evolution of Soviet Culture, 1931-1941 (2011); Soviet Culture and Power: A History in Documents, 1917-1953 (with Evgeny Dobrenko; 2007); Petersburg, Crucible of Cultural Revolution (1995); and The Soviet Novel: History as Ritual (1981).


The lost art of scripture: Rescuing the sacred texts – Karen Armstrong

  • Tuesday 26 May 2020 | 7 for 7.30pm
  • Sheffield Cathedral
Karen Armstrong

About the talk

In our increasingly secular world, holy texts are at best seen as irrelevant, and at worst as an excuse to incite violence, hatred, and division. So what value, if any, can scripture hold for us today? And if our world no longer seems compatible with scripture, is it perhaps because its original purpose has become lost? Armstrong argues that only by rediscovering an open engagement with their holy texts will the world’s religions be able to curtail arrogance, intolerance, and violence. If scripture is used to engage with the world in more meaningful and compassionate ways, we will find that it still has much to teach us.

This lecture is part of the God and the Good: Thinking Religion and Ethics lecture series.

About our speaker

Karen Armstrong is one of the world’s leading commentators on religious affairs. She spent seven years as a Roman Catholic nun, but left her teaching order in 1969 to read English at St Anne’s College, Oxford. In 1982, she became a full-time writer and broadcaster. She is a best-selling author of over 16 books. A passionate campaigner for religious liberty, Armstrong has addressed members of the United States Congress and participated in the World Economic Forum. In 2013, she received the British Academy’s inaugural Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for improving transcultural understanding.

God and the Good lecture series

God and the Good: Thinking Religion and Ethics


A series of lectures by prominent public intellectuals, organised by Robert Stern in the Department of Philosophy.

Sheffield CathedralAre believers better people than atheists? Or does religion breed intolerance and violence? Are our moral concepts inextricably tied up with religious ideas? Do different religious traditions have fundamentally different ethical commitments? This series of talks, intended for a general audience, will consider such questions.

While most ethical traditions have a religious background, the increasing secularisation of modern society has put the connection between ethics and religion in question. Our talks will explore the history of this connection, as well as the questions: can religion illuminate ethical issues, and: can ethical issues illuminate religion?

For more details, see upcoming lectures.

You can also catch up on past lectures.