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Durham University

Department of English Studies

Event Archive

This is an archive of past events within the Department of English Studies. Please see our current events for forthcoming activities.

Some of our public events are recorded and are available as podcasts via our Research English At Durham blog.

50 Years of Sexism: What Next?

7th March 2014, 09:00 to 8th March 2014, 17:00, St Aidan's College

A two-day international conference, running from 7th to 8th March 2015, will reflect on how far society has progressed since the coining of the term “sexism,” and on the possible futures of the issue. With a prestigious lineup of keynote speakers, this is expected to be a popular event, following up on the successful Literary Dolls conference in 2014. The organisers welcome proposals for papers in a variety of formats, from both academic and non-academic speakers. The deadline for abstacts is 1st December.

sexism, n.2 Originally: the state or condition of belonging to the male or female sex; categorization or reference on the basis of sex (now rare); (in later use) prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex. – OED.

“…Both the racist and the sexist are acting as if all that has happened had never happened, and both of them are making decisions and coming to conclusions about someone’s value by referring to factors which are in both cases irrelevant. – Pauline M. Leet, “Women and the Undergraduate,” (1965).

The Centre for Sex, Gender and Sexualities at Durham University is hosting an interdisciplinary conference to mark the 50th anniversary of the coining of the term “sexism”, and to ask how far we have come since this often controversial and inflammatory term became a way to refer to gender inequality. According to Fred Shapiro, 1965 is the year to which the term “sexism” – applied in its modern, intensively discriminatory sense – can be dated and we will be questioning where the term originated, what its impact has been, and just what “sexism” means today, and will mean in the future.

The conference follows on from the success of last year’s international conference Literary Dolls: The Female Textual Body from the 19th Century to Now, held at Durham University on International Women’s Day, 2014, and we are delighted to host another conference to mark a milestone in the feminist movement. Fifty Years of Sexism will run on the weekend of International Women’s Day 2015, Saturday 7th – Sunday 8th March.

Keynote speakers include:

We welcome abstracts of three hundred words for twenty minute papers discussing the conference theme from any discipline. We also welcome proposals that engage with the conference theme in ways beyond conventional 20-minute papers, such as film screenings and discussions; artworks; poster presentations; manifestos. Please contact the conference organisers on if you have any questions about the viability of what you plan to submit.

Topics may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Sexual and gender representation in literature and fine art
  • Considerations of the history of the formation of the term, sexism and its development as a concept in the arts and social sciences
  • Critical reflections on the development of the concept of sexism since 1965
  • Reflections on the misandry movement
  • Historicisations of the concept of “sexism” avant la lettre
  • The interactions between sexism and other movements (racism, homophobia etc.)
  • Sexism and the body
  • Sexism and sexuality
  • Sexism in the media (conventional and online)
  • Sexism in new narrative modes (video games, interactive art, hypertext digital culture)

Abstracts should be submitted to by 1st December 2014.

For more information, and to keep track of the latest conference news, follow

Contact for more information about this event.


Research in English At Durham (READ) blog showcasing the the literary research emerging from the Department of English Studies


We host a large number of conferences, lectures and seminars each year, many of them open to the public. Find out more on our Events page.


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