CONVERSATIONS WITH EUROPE

Interview, 28 August 2017

In which I talk about what's behind my current writing and activity: 'I've committed myself to doing what I can for openness, inclusion and diversity in the face of the threats that these now face. That is a worldwide struggle, but its European theatre is the one I'm most aware of, and feel most deeply about.'


MEME STREAK

Review (subscription required) of Daniel Dennett's From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds, Literary Review February 2017

In which I argue, with particular reference to language, that Dennett's focus on the interests of memes draws attention from the more important interests of the humans who spread them.


WHEN POLITICS FILLS THE LANGUAGE GAP, CAN SCIENCE BE NEUTRAL?

Essay-review, New Scientist  2 November 2016

Language is human; language is political. That's a challenge for scientists such as the ones who argue that bilingualism is good for the brain.

The 100-year life: how to make longevity a blessing, not a curse

Book review, New Scientist  6 July 2016

Planning and forethought;  flexibility and openness to new experiences: 100-year lifespans will require the young to be old and the old young.


choosing europe, choosing hope

This is a text written from the heart about how to vote Remain with your heart, not just your head, in Britain's referendum on whether to remain in the European Union.


facts and values

Book review: Race Rerun Trends in Ecology and Evolution November 2015

Writing this book review provided an interesting opportunity to reflect upon writing about race and science twenty years after my book The Race Gallery came out. New claims, new critiques; same angst about what must and must not be said.


the near abroad

I'm working on a new book, of which more to follow; the research took me to Latvia in May 2015. Some of the images I brought back from the Victory Day celebrations in Riga, an occasion that unites Latvia's Russians and divides Latvia, feature in this talk:

'My lingo, my train'. The free movement of languages and people
Fabrica Understanding Territoriality conference 26 May 2015 (YouTube video).

On May 8, Russians commemorate Victory Day in the Great Patriotic War - the Soviet World War 2. For Latvia's Russian speakers, it is an affirmation of national and family history. For ethnic Latvians, it is a glorification of the army that occupied their country.



Singers from a folk choir take refreshment at a replica field kitchen. Period uniforms, as worn by the men behind the jeep, are popular - especially with young people.



In the 'Immortals March', people carry images of family members who served during the war.



The centre of the Riga commemorations is the Victory Monument in Victory Park.