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Thinking Theory, Research, and Practice: The Feminist Politics of Social Justice

A joint conference from the LEX, VAWGRN, FRAN, and CSEL research networks.

Thinking Theory, Research, and Practice: The Feminist Politics of Social Justice, is a two-day joint conference from: The LEX NetworkViolence Against Women and Girls Research Network (VAWGRN), Feminist Legal Research and Action Network (FRAN), and the Centre for the Study of Emotion and Law (CSEL).  


Date: 9 - 10 November 2023

Location: School of Law and Social Justice Building, University of Liverpool


The conference will showcase work which is feminist and transdisciplinary in orientation, and that offers innovations in theory, research and practice relative to global social justice issues. This is a two-day in-person conference.

The international feminist movement has used the principles of social justice to lobby governments for social change around women’s equality, human rights, reproductive rights, and sexual autonomy. Similarly, the LGB social movements (later LGBTQ) used these principles to challenge dominant constructions of masculinity, femininity, homophobia and the primacy of heteronormativity, including hard-fought gains and legal protections being rolled back or under threat. Over time, these movements have sought equality through legislative change and by changing minds about their need for new rights, benefits, and protections from harm and exclusion in all its forms. Although many of those involved in these campaigns disagreed about the meaning of sexuality and gender and the best ways to achieve political and legal goals; what united them was their commitment to political dissent and social transformation through full recognition of their identities and citizenship rights.

While we have made some important legal, political and social gains on these and other issues, our contemporary ‘moment’ shows that we have much to do. The recent incarnation of the #MeToo movement illustrates that patriarchy and the attendant institutional values that accept 

and normalise sexual assault and rape and facilitate a culture of white, male entitlement are, in the words of the World Health Organisation, ‘devastatingly pervasive’. Women remain under threat of violence and death. LGBTQ people continue to suffer intolerance, xenophobia, misogyny and homophobia. Thus, one of the key challenges that feminism faces today is keeping open spaces for the work of critique, contestation and challenge to injustice, inequality and violence in all its forms.

This conference will comprise papers that aim to contribute to new approaches to feminist theory, research and practice to address this and/or other issues that can advance knowledge in those fields and inform feminist activism through social justice.

Any queries regarding attendance or registration, please contact: registration@lexnetwork.org

Full programme is available for download: Conference 2023 Programme (PDF)



Day One

13:00 - 14:00: Arrival, Lunch, Registration & Networking Opportunity for All
13:00 - 14:00: Early Career Researcher Working Lunch
14:00 - 14.15: Welcome to the Conference
14:15 - 16:30: Panel Sessions 1 & 2
16:30 - 17:00: Teas & Coffee
17:00 - 18:30: Keynote Address – Professor Jill Marshall in conversation with Dr Sharron FitzGerald
18:30 - 19:30: Drinks Reception

Day Two

09:15 – 09:45: Welcome with tea and coffee
09:45 – 11.30: Panel Sessions 3 & 4
11:30 - 12:00: Break
12:00 - 13:30: Panel Sessions 5 & 6
13:30 - 14:30: Lunch
14:30 - 16:00: Panel Sessions 7 & 8
16:00 - 16:30: Roundtable (Concluding Thoughts)



Human Rights of Women in the Future

Jill Marshall, Professor of Law, Royal Holloway University of London

Human rights law seeks to protect each and every person by virtue of being human. Its universal and global reach has potential to transform lives. However, this area of law has been subjected to critiques from progressives, including many feminists, for being too white, male, individualistic, upholding existing power structures. Meanwhile, traditionalists, amongst others, complain about human rights’ liberal views on life and a so-called ‘radical’ agenda. Despite human rights law’s faults, many feminists are reluctant to throw out ‘rights talk’ (Glendon) especially when achieving such rights was a hard fought-for battle and can still be ‘deliciously empowering’ (Williams).

In this talk, Law Professor, and lawyer, Jill Marshall explores what the human rights of women might be like in the future. We are living through times of existential threats from artificial intelligence and climate change, of ever-expanding technological online, virtual, and augmented reality developments, animal and nature rights and other social justice movements and protests. The historical lack of rights, and the gaining of rights, for women, often focused on the injustices to women as a group with ‘women-only’ or ‘women-centric’ approaches. But these are times of gender categorisation questioning and shifting. Professor Marshall will examine what impact these issues may, or could, have on the human rights of women in the future.



* The conference is being convened by and brings members together from:

• The Law, Gender & Sexuality Research Network (LEX) (admin@lexnetwork.org)
• The Violence Against Women and Girls Network (vawgrn@uos.ac.uk)
The Feminist Legal Research and Action Network (Sarah.Singh@liverpool.ac.uk)
• The Centre for the Study of Emotion and Law (CSEL@rhul.ac.uk)






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