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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)

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Our three annual lectures, cover the themes of Europe, Britain and International Relations


The Antcliffe Lecture

The 2024 Antcliffe Lecture on British Politics was delivered by The Rt. Hon. Lord Hague of Richmond on 6 February 2024.

William Hague has been a leading Conservative politician for more than 25 years, including spells as Conservative Party leader (1997-2001) and UK Foreign Secretary (2010-14), and drew on his experience in reflecting on the state of contemporary British politics.

A video of the 2024 Antcliffe Lecture can be found here.


New in 2015, the Antcliffe Lecture was established following a donation in the name of John Antcliffe, who studied History at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, before going on to become a respected public relations professional. The Antcliffe Lecture is organised by the Churchill Archives Centre in conjunction with the Department of Politics and International Studies.

The lecture series will focus on British Politics. You can read more about John Antcliffe here

Watch past lectures here.

The Alcuin Lecture

We are honoured to have welcomed Perry Anderson as the speaker for our 2023 Alcuin Lecture. This year's lecture took place on 22 November 2023.  The subject of the lecture was:

The European War in the East

'For the third time in just over a century,  war is raging in the Ukraine, but for the first time in the series every major European state agrees which power is responsible for it, save one, held the perpetrator by a consensus of the continent. In this conflict, far from of being detached from Europe by its exit from the Union, Britain has taken the lead in a common dispatch of arms and assistance to the victim of what all those coming to its aid condemn as unprovoked aggression.  How far is this view of the war likely to be upheld in the court of history?'

At the request of our esteemed speaker, this year's lecture was not recorded.

Named after Alcuin of York, a teacher, theologian, and poet who advised Emperor Charlemagne, this annual lecture hosted by the Department of Politics and International Relations is given on a topic concerning the UK and Europe.

The series was established with a generous gift from Lord Brittan, former Vice-President of the European Commission, who himself gave the first lecture in 1999. Since then many UK European Commissioners have contributed to the series, which has also included Lord Hannay, the former UK Permanent Representative to the EU, Carl Bildt of Sweden, and Shirley Williams.

Watch past lectures here.


The Hinsley Lecture

A video and further information on the 2022 Hinsley Lecture with Professor Ashoka Mody can be found here.

This annual lecture takes place in memory of Sir Francis Harry Hinsley (1918–1998), the Founding Director of the Centre of International Studies (1975–1987) which is now part of the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS). He was a student and later Master of St John’s College (1979–1989) and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge (1981–1983). 

Harry Hinsley worked as a cryptanalyst at Bletchley Park during the Second World War and was a leading figure in the history of international relations. St John's College hosts the Hinsley Memorial Lecture on an international relations topic usually in Michaelmas Term each year.

List of past lectures here.


All lectures are open to members of the public. 


Photo by Edwin Andrade on Unsplash