Pudding Seminars

Pudding Seminars take place on a Friday and are an excellent opportunity to unite two of life’s great things: new research, and pudding!

Pudding Seminars are led by members of the College (undergraduates, postgraduates, Senior Members and staff), who give a brief 20 minute talk on their current research, followed by informal discussion.

Seminars start promptly at 1.15pm and end by 1.50pm. Tea, coffee and cake are available from 1pm.

If you are interested in giving a pudding seminar, would like further details about the series or a zoom link to join a seminar online, please contact Delphine Mordey (dmm36@cam.ac.uk).

28 April: Aneira King (JCR), ‘Creating writers: an exploration of women’s religious spaces and the development of authors in Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit and Antonia White’s Frost in May’

Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit and Antonia White’s Frost in May are semi-autobiographical Bildungsroman novels which both follow the development of young writers as they grow up in conservative religious spaces. This seminar will explore how literature and religion interact in the lives of the protagonists, with literature informing personal faith and religion an influence on the authors’ works. It will further assess interaction with religious and parental authority figures, and the reparative power of writing after betrayal by parents and religious communities.

Biography: I am a third year Theology student interested in the relationship between theology and literature. I am currently writing my dissertation on the importance of religion and literature for the emergence of Jeanette Winterson and Antonia White as authors from religious communities as retold in their semi-autobiographical novels Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit and Frost in May. Outside of my degree, I am co-president of Newnham College Poetry Society and Newnham College Book Club.

5 May: Ranjini (PhD),' From Bayadere to Classical Dancer: Aesthetics and Politics in the making of dance in independent India '

In June 1838, a group of five temple dancers and three accompanists, including the nattuvanar, were brought to Europe by E.C. Tardivel. The troupe was attached to the Perumal Temple in Thiruvanthipuram in modern-day Tamil Nadu. The archival trace left behind by these ‘bayaderes’ as the Indian temple dancers were referred to in Europe, is vast, and there is a profusion of images the performances left behind. Can these images tell us more about the modern renditions of the form, which came up within the backdrop of the Indian movement for independence?

Ranjini is a third-year PhD student at the Faculty of Education looking at how dance in India replicates socio-religious hierarchies.


12 May: Leah Brainerd (PhD), 'Is it the Tools or the Fields that make us? Modelling the Ecological Niche for Rice during the Yayoi Period in Japan'

Abstract: During the 1st millennium BCE, migrant communities from the Korean Peninsula entered Japan bringing with them an extensive cultural package containing rice and millet agriculture, which change life within the archipelago. Agriculture spread across Japan in the Yayoi period with varying speed and responses by hunter-gatherer populations. The diverse response to the introduction of agriculture is often attributed to the varied environmental settings within Japan. This research explores how environmental suitability to rice agriculture impacted the distribution of archaeological sites in the Yayoi period through the use of ecological niche modelling, comparing the pattern of several proxies for rice subsistence: paddy fields and stone sickles. This is a follow up to the pudding seminar given in 2020 with exciting new updates.
Biography: Leah Brainerd is a final year PhD researcher in Archaeology and member of the ERC Encounter Project. She is a computational archaeologist with an interest in quantitative analysis and cultural evolution and is working on re-evaluating the role of the environment in the Jomon-Yayoi transition through the use of ecological modelling. She has a MSc in Computational Archaeology from UCL and a BA in Anthropology from McGill University.

19 May: Samantha Huston (PhD), 'Playful edits: young children’s use of play after storytime to change stories'

This presentation will share an aspect of my PhD fieldwork that explored how young children (aged 4 – 5) used play to engage with stories after shared readings. My fieldwork involved conducting video recordings of young children in reception classes reading picture books, with an adult, and engaging in related play activities. Analysis of the resulting video corpus indicated that young children used play to edit moments of tension within stories, bringing a writerly element to their post-shared reading meaning-making. The children’s edits involved repetitions that intensified, avoided and comedically changed moments of tension. These findings suggest that young children’s responses to shared readings involve playful edits, blurring the edges between readerly and writerly aspects of meaning-making.

Samantha is a former reception teacher and third year PhD student in Education. Her research looks at how young children engage with picture books in reception classrooms. Her research is underpinned by a multimodal approach to meaning-making, understanding that understandings of texts encountered can be constructed and shared using various means of expression from the verbal through to the gestural.