As we approach the centenary in 2019 of women’s admission to the legal profession in the UK and Ireland, lawyers and legal scholars have initiated several projects to mark this achievement which aim to uncover and recover the history of women’s experiences of law. These include the Women’s Legal Landmarks project, the First 100 Years project and the First Women Lawyers in Great Britain and the Empire Symposium series. This is a golden age for legal scholars undertaking historical work on women and law and for historians working on legal issues.
At the same time, many scholars involved in these and other projects face challenges of methodological insecurity, if not ignorance, because they are working outside their own discipline and sources. Women’s legal history, while well-developed in North America, is still in its infancy in the UK and Ireland.
A conference will take place at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studes in London on 26 October 2016.
The aim of this conference is to bring together scholars working in the field to share experiences of doing women’s legal history, to learn from each other, and to build and develop the discipline of feminist legal history (that is, women’s legal history from a feminist perspective) in the UK and Ireland.
There will be two plenary speakers at the conference:
- June Purvis, feminist historian, editor of the Women’s History Review and convenor of the Women’s History Network, who will talk about researching the suffragette movement from a feminist perspective and how the suffragettes have so often been represented by traditional (usually male) historians as mad, irrational, and damaging to the cause of votes for women; and
- Gillian Murphy from the Women’s Library at the LSE, who will discuss the holdings of the Women’s Library including both primary and secondary sources relevant to scholars working on women’s legal history.
If you are interested in presenting a paper at the conference, please submit a title and abstract of 250 words to the organiser, Rosemary Auchmuty, to whom enquiries on the academic content of the conference should also be addressed. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for receipt of abstracts is 31 July 2016.
For general enquiries please contact: Belinda Crothers, Academic Programmes Manager Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR. Email: Belinda.Crothers@sas.ac.uk