Summer School Lecture Series

One of the aims of the LSE Summer School is to bring the LSE experience to all of our students. Seven years ago, we launched our first full programme of lectures, exclusively for the LSE Summer School, delivered by topflight speakers.

LSE Summer School Lecture Series 2021

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Professor Lord Nicholas Stern

Summer School Lecture: 'Creating sustainable and inclusive economic recovery and growth' - Professor Lord Nicholas Stern 

The world is currently confronting an interwoven set of challenges: the devastating health and social costs of the COVID-19 pandemic; the diminished prospects for economic growth and employment against a backdrop of rising public debt; the mounting threats of climate change, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss; and growing inequality that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Forceful and urgent action at scale is needed to tackle shorter-term economic, social and health impacts and to set the world on a sustainable growth path over the medium and longer term. 

The transition to a net-zero emissions, climate-resilient world represents the greatest economic, business and commercial opportunities in modern times. Realisation of this opportunity requires fundamental systemic change and significant investment, together with decisive leadership. 

The G7 rich nations have the opportunity to take bold action to ‘build back better’ from the COVID-19 pandemic, as was laid out in a recent report from Nicholas Stern and colleagues at the LSE, commissioned by the UK Prime Minister for the G7 Caris Bay meeting in June 2021. Bold climate action, including targets for net-zero emissions, and the Sustainable Development Goals can be the principal drivers of investment and innovation in the decades ahead. Momentum is building, and the current low interest rates provide an opportunity. The challenge and opportunity is for the world as a whole. It must deliver a global, coordinated recovery, with sustainable investment and innovation by both the private and public sectors at its core. The costs of failure in terms of a lost decade for development and an unsustainable future would be immense. Success is a strong recovery and a much more attractive form of growth and development.

This lecture explores the relevant policies and actions necessary to pursue this imperative. It will argue that an integrated global agenda must be underpinned by a shared international vision for strong recovery and sustainable growth, and that delivery of the requisite scale and quality of investment will require a broad commitment and concerted actions on policy measures and on finance.

There has never been a more crucial moment for the world to act together; this lecture will describe the way towards a more prosperous and sustainable future. It will do this via an example of how work in a university (LSE) can try to influence what really happens.

Lord Stern is the IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government, Chairman of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and Head of the India Observatory at the London School of Economics. President of the British Academy, July 2013 – 2017, and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2014. 

He was knighted for services to economics in 2004, and appointed Companion of Honour for services to economics, international relations and tackling climate change in 2017. He has published more than 15 books and 100 articles and his most recent book is “Why are We Waiting? The Logic, Urgency and Promise of Tackling Climate Change”.  

Watch recording


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Professor Sarah Benet-Weiser

Summer School Lecture Series: ‘Ruptures in Authenticity: Gender and Vulnerability Online’ Professor - Sarah Benet-Weiser 

Sarah Banet-Weiser is Professor of Media and Communications and Head of the Department of Media and Communications at LSE.  Professor Banet-Weiser earned her PhD in Communication from the University of California, San Diego.  Her research interests include gender in the media, identity, citizenship, and cultural politics, consumer culture and popular media, race and the media, and intersectional feminism.

In this talk, Professor Banet-Weiser will explore ideas of authenticity and gender on social media, followed by a Q&A chaired by Dr Polly Withers:

The idea of authenticity has been applied unquestionably as a valued attribute of the self: it is through our “authentic” selves that we inspire trust, loyalty, believability.  The appearance of authenticity remains central to how individuals organize their everyday activities and craft their very selves. 

In the 21st century, as personal and professional identities are increasingly created, curated and manipulated in digital and social media, the concept of authenticity seems to carry even more weight, not less, so that one of the central questions in the age of digital media is whether and how successfully one can perform authenticity in order to claim visibility and identity. 

Social media amplifies this tension, as it is often positioned as a kind of open space, where one can be “oneself,” while at the same time it is also structurally designed as constantly manipulable. This has particular relevance for young cis-gendered women who perform authenticity on social media, because normative hetero-femininity is always constructed in terms of its artifice, where femininity is defined as a necessary contrived performance, from make-up to bodies to behaviours. 

Unlike the performance of authentic masculinity, which emphasises its unfiltered quality, the performance of authentic femininity is always already suspect, always already a contradiction in terms. 

Speaker and Chair:
Sarah Banet-Weiser is Professor of Media and Communications and Head of the Department of Media and Communications at LSE. Professor Banet-Weiser earned her PhD in Communication from the University of California, San Diego. Her research interests include gender in the media, identity, citizenship, and cultural politics, consumer culture and popular media, race and the media, and intersectional feminism.
Dr Polly Withers is LSE Fellow in Media and Communications, and Associate Programme Director of the Global Media and Communications MSc, at the Department of Media and Communications at LSE. She is also a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow in the LSE Middle East Centre (2021–).


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Professor Michael Cox

Clash of the Titans: How the US – China relationship will shape the 21st Century 

Professor Michael Cox is the Director of LSE IDEAS and Emeritus Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), UK.  

Professor Cox will speak on the challenges that confront the modern world from climate change to global inequality. At the state level, none will be as significant as how Beijing and Washington will be relating to each other going forward. Is some form of great power deal possible? Or is conflict inevitable between a rising China and the United States? And if it is, what will this mean for Asia and the world? 



Previous summer lecture highlights include:

Professor Simon Hix
After the EU Referendum: What next for Britain and Europe?
Listen to the podcast

Professor Andrew Murray
If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear (and other myths surrounding mass digital surveillance)
Listen to the podcast

Jonathan Leape
New approaches to growth in developing countries
Listen to the podcast

Professor Lorenzo Codogno
Thinking ahead for Europe: challenges and opportunities
Listen to the podcast

Masha Gordon
Style Investing: Behavioural traps and strategies for successful execution
Listen to the podcast



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