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Science, Myth and Being Human: Re-membering Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Canon Professor Elaine Graham (University of Chester)

Tuesday 9th October - 7:30pm in The Refectory, Chester Cathedral

2018 sees the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s novella, Frankenstein: or the Modern Prometheus. This lecture will consider the origins of the work and its enduring popularity, not least through its many adaptations for stage and screen.  It will ask whether, given its affinities with ancient tales of Prometheus, the Golem, Pandora’s Box and Doctor Faustus, it is appropriate to think of Frankenstein as a modern ‘myth’; and whether it can still help us address the fears and hopes engendered by scientific innovation and new technologies.

Elaine Graham is Grosvenor Research Professor of Practical Theology at the University of Chester and Canon Theologian of Chester Cathedral.  Her latest publications are: (with Chris Baker, eds) Theology for Changing Times: Essays in Honour of John Atherton. SCM Press pb. £30 (30 Sept 2018); with Zoe Bennett, Stephen Pattison and Heather Walton: Invitation to Research in Practical Theology Routledge, pb. £29.99 (29 May 2018); Apologetics without Apology: Speaking of God in a World Troubled by Religion, Cascade, pb. £19 (19 July 2017).

Admission Free – Refreshments Available

Motherhood, Voluntary Childlessness, and Christianity: Narratives of Choice

Dr Dawn Llewellyn (University of Chester)

Wednesday 6th February - 7:30pm at Hollybank House, Liverpool Road CH2 1AB

How do women interpret the ways motherhood is enshrined in scripture, doctrine, and everyday Church practices? How do Christian women navigate the religious expectation to have children, when more women remain childless? What taboos do women face as mothers or as child-free women? Drawing on in-depth interviews, this lecture explores the ways motherhood is presented as the ideal Christian life and how women accept and resist the maternal, and it examines the tensions reproductive ‘choice’ cultivates in the context of a family-affirming religious tradition.

Dawn Llewellyn is Senior Lecturer in Christian Studies at the University of Chester since 2010. Following undergraduate studies at the University of Edinburgh, she completed an MA in Women's Studies and a PhD in Religious Studies at Lancaster University. Her research interests include women's spiritual reading practices, the relationship between feminism and religion and feminist research methodologies, and she has published in these areas. She is the author of Reading, Feminism, and Spirituality: Troubling the Waves and co-edited Religion, Equalities and Inequalities (with Sonya Sharma) and Reading Spiritualities (with Deborah F. Sawyer).

Admission at the door: £3.00 (Students: £1.00) Soft Drinks, Wine and Refreshments

Biblical Bathing Beauties: Ways of Seeing Bathsheba and Susanna in 16th and 17th Century Painting

Dr Holly Morse (University of Manchester)

Wednesday 13th March - 7:30pm at Hollybank House CH2 1AB

How do we see biblical texts? What influence does visual culture have on the meaning of the Bible and vice versa? In order to begin to answer these questions, I examine a number of different ‘ways of seeing’ two biblical bathing beauties, Bathsheba and Susanna, that emerged in 16th and 17thC paintings. I am interested in investigating whether there is a difference that marks the male gaze and the female gaze when reimagining the plight of these two women. Consequently, primary focus will be placed on the work of Artemisia Gentileschi, an increasingly well-known, though once forgotten 17th century woman painter, and the ways in which her visual appropriations of Bathsheba and Susanna can help us to see their narratives in our own modern context.

Dr Morse’s research interests include gender, visual arts, and the Bible. She gained her BA in Theology and Religious Studies from the University of Bristol, before taking a PGDip in Contemporary Art History at Goldsmiths and an MSt in Religion and Theology from the University of Oxford. She completed her DPhil at Worcester College, University of Oxford. Her doctoral thesis was on the on the biblical figure of Eve. Publications include: The First Woman Question: Eve and the Women’s Movement in Bible, Feminism and Gender: Remapping the Field (OUP 2017).

Admission at the door: £3.00 (Students: £1.00) Soft Drinks, Wine and Refreshments