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New Directions in the History of the British Women’s Liberation Movement: Rethinking 1970s Feminisms

December 4, 2017
Oxford University

All Souls College, Oxford
Oxford OX1 4AL
United Kingdom

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As austerity and right-wing politics have drawn campaigns to defend women’s rights to the fore, scholars and activists have turned to feminism’s recent past. Discussions of women’s bodily autonomy, their experiences of domestic and sexual violence, and their involvement in paid and unpaid labour have stimulated increased interest in the history of the British women’s liberation movement, active between the late 1960s and the late 1970s. Recent scholarship has reflected upon the political and intellectual dynamism of this activism, acknowledging contemporary resonances while seeking to understand the movement on its own terms. It is timely, then, to examine how this developing body of work has situated issues of sexuality, race and place; how these concerns intersected and interacted with other social movements of the period; and how historians can navigate the diverse and sometimes conflicting stances taken by a rarely cohesive movement.

This one-day workshop, hosted at All Souls College, University of Oxford and organised with the support of the Centre for Gender, Identity and Subjectivity will draw together historians working on the women’s liberation movement in Britain. We particularly invite papers that interrogate the international, emotional and intellectual dynamics of the women’s movement, c.1967-1980, and those that draw connections between women’s radicalism, the political climate of the period, and the historiography of women’s activism.

Proposals of 20-minute papers should be limited to 250 words and sent to the conference organisers, Sarah Crook and Tess Little, at by 2 July 2017.  Proposals should be submitted as a word attachment and include: 1) the title of your paper; 2) institutional affiliation; 3) your professional status (academic, doctoral student, independent scholar), and 4) your contact details, including your email address. We welcome submissions from PhD and early career researchers. Applicants will be informed of the outcome no later than 30 July 2017.

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