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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.

Fifty Years of Sexism: What Next?

7th March 2015, 09:00 to 8th March 2015, 13:00, 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. 

To register, click here

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 conference features over twenty papers and panels on topics ranging from sexism (past and present) in the workplace, to the future of activism via social media. Keynote speakers include:

A draft programme for the conference is available below.

Saturday 7th March

9.15 Registration opens

9.30 Introduction / housekeeping

9.45-10.45 Keynote 1: Pam Knights: Dangerous Thresholds? Entering the Ballet World in Fiction for Girls, 1930s to the present.

10.45-11.00 Break

11.00-12.30 Panels 1

Panel 1A: The Politics of Work, the Work of Politics

  • Victims of violence in Indian families: where misogyny and misandry meet
  • Whistle while you Work? Representations of Female Work in Disney Animated Films (1937-2014)
  • Gender and the “shades of grey”: Representing the legacy of female political leadership

Panel 1B: The Terminology of Oppression?

  • DH Lawrence’s study of Thomas Hardy’s ‘bachelor girl’: sexist or sympathetic?
  • Engaging with David Foster Wallace’s Hideous Men
  • The legacy and iconography of the madwoman

12.30 – 13.15 Lunch (films)

13.15 – 14.15 Keynote roundtable discussion, with novelists Diane Setterfield, Erika McGann, and Lauren Owen

14.15-15.45 Panels 2

Panel 2A: Media-ting Sexism

  • UK Mass Media and Survivors of Sexual Violence
  • Susanna the Slut: Depictions of Rape Victims in Law and in Art
  • A Feminist Take on Sexism and Sexual Objectification in Paternal Literary and Artistic Canons and the Daughter’s Seduction in Phoebe Gloeckner’s Graphic Memoirs

Panel 2B: Divine Justice

  • Feminine Assertion and the Deified Female: Draupadi in the Mahābhārata and The Great Indian Novel
  • Hilda Doolittle’s Trilogy: Venus, from Venereal to Venerous
  • ‘Women’s Religious Experience’: 30 Years On

15.45 – 16.00 Break

16.00 – 17.30 Panels 3

Panel 3A: Re-pressing, Acts of Repression

  • Depictions of consent in erotic fanfiction as a form of cultural activism
  • Re-envisioning Resistance & Representation: New Subjectivities & the Black/Lesbian Feminist Literary Revolution
  • Readwomen2014

Panel 3C: Bodies of change

  • The Representations of Disabled Women in Anglo-American Advertising
  • Sexism/(Dis)ableism: intersection of ideas between feminist and disability rights movements
  • Gendered Topographies and Celestial Archetypes: Women Divided at the Breast

17.30 – 18.30 Keynote 3 Lucy Anne Holmes (Founder of No More Page 3)

19.00 Conference Dinner

Sunday 8th March

10.00 – 11.00 Keynote 4 Nicole Westmarland (Professor of Criminology, Durham University)

11.00 – 11.15 Break

11.15 – 12.45 Panels 4

Panel 4A: The Legacy of the Second Wave

  • Dying into Art: the Myth of the Author and the Woman Writer in the 1960s
  • Autobiography as continued resistance: gender, life narratives and feminist discourse of the 1960s
  • Remembering Past Sexism at 1970s Durham University

Panel 4B: Visions of the future?

  • The Game of Harassment: Gender Identity and #Gamergate
  • Is the blogosphere sexist?
  • ‘Couldn’t Very Well Keep Calling Myself the Master, Now Could I?’: Sexism and Doctor Who (2005-2014)

12.45-13.30 Concluding statements, discussion on themes and information on publication & networks

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

Contact for more information about this event.

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