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Infidel feminism: secularism and women’s rights, past and present | Dr Laura Schwartz | The Holyoake Lecture 2021

 Registration is closed for this event
November 30th, 2021 19:00   --   20:30

In the Holyoake Lecture 2021, Dr Laura Schwartz will tell the story of freethinking women in humanist history who fought against the patriarchy of Victorian Christianity. 

In their passionate support for free love, birth control, and their own full moral and bodily autonomy, these brave women were often radical outliers - even seen at times as an embarrassment to the wider feminist movement.

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In her lecture, Schwartz will consider the questions that their history and activism raise for women's position in relation to religion and secularism today, including a critical examination of how secularist narratives are sometimes deployed in foreign and domestic policy.

The Holyoake Lecture will serve as a deep dive into the themes first explored in Schwartz’s book, Infidel Feminism: secularism, religion and women's rights, England 1830-1914. The lecture reflects the special attention being paid to humanist history, including the under-reported histories of humanist women, through the Humanist Heritage project. The project celebrates 125 years of Humanists UK and the considerable impact that humanist thinking has had on society.

About Dr Laura Schwartz

A historian of feminism and labour movements in Britain across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Laura’s work to date has examined the intellectual and political formations that drove successive feminist movements, but also how these ideas are ‘lived’ and taken up by women more widely. Over the course of her career, she has explored how feminism has influenced the emergence of secularism, the reform of higher education, and, most recently, working-class politics. Her research interests have included the political limitations and contradictions of British feminism – especially with regards to class and imperialism – as well as its achievements, and in considering these legacies for feminism today.

About the Holyoake Lecture

The Holyoake Lecture explores an aspect of politics or contemporary social or political issue, especially as it relates to secularist and humanist issues, including liberalism, democracy, social justice, feminism, anti-racism, LGBT* rights, or equality. The Holyoake medallist has made a significant contribution in one of these fields.

The lecture and medal are named for the nineteenth century humanist George Jacob Holyoake, who among many other achievements coined the word ‘secularism’ and was a lifelong progressive political activist.

The Holyoake Lecture:
General ticket: £7.00

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