Mary Wollstonecraft and the Vindication of Human Rights

Hosted by the International Inequalities Institute and the Wollstonecraft Society

Online public event


Bee Rowlatt

Bee Rowlatt

Professor Amartya Sen

Professor Amartya Sen


Dr Alpa Shah

Dr Alpa Shah

Join two great minds in exploring the themes of justice and equality: Amartya Sen and Enlightenment hero Mary Wollstonecraft, as Amartya Sen gives the inaugural Wollstonecraft Society Lecture.

Mary Wollstonecraft claimed human rights for all. She overcame limited education and a background of domestic violence to become an educational and political pioneer, and one of the greatest thinkers of the eighteenth century. As well as her intellectual audacity, it is Wollstonecraft’s love for humanity, her self-proclaimed “ardent affection for the human race” that continues to inspire. This event explores how, despite a savage pandemic, economic downturn, and increasing isolation in both political and individual life, there is a counter-story of community building and education, of optimism and hope.

Meet our speakers and chair

Bee Rowlatt (@BeeRowlatt) is a writer and public speaker, and a programmer of events at the British Library. Her most recent book In Search of Mary retraced Wollstonecraft’s 1795 treasure hunt over the Skagerrak sea. She led the campaign for the Wollstonecraft memorial sculpture and is chair of the Wollstonecraft Society.

Amartya Sen is Thomas W Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University and an LSE Honorary Fellow. His research has ranged over social choice theory, economic theory, ethics and political philosophy, welfare economics, theory of measurement, decision theory, development economics, public health, and gender studies. Amartya Sen’s books have been translated into more than thirty languages and his awards include the Nobel Prize in Economics. He was Professor of economics at LSE from 1971 to 1977, and he taught part-time at the School from 1978 to 1982. His memoir, Home In The World, will be published in July by Penguin. LSE announced the Amartya Sen Chair in Inequality Studies in 2019.

Alpa Shah (@alpashah001) is Associate Professor of Anthropology at LSE and leads the International Inequalities Institute research theme on Global Economies of Care. Her most recent book is the award winning ‘Nightmarch: Among India’s Revolutionary Guerrillas’.

More about this event

The International Inequalities Institute (@LSEInequalities) at LSE brings together experts from many LSE departments and centres to lead cutting-edge research focused on understanding why inequalities are escalating in numerous arenas across the world, and to develop critical tools to address these challenges.

The Wollstonecraft Society (@TheWollSoc) is a registered charity carrying Mary Wollstonecraft’s legacy of human rights, equality and justice into young people’s lives. It delivers learning materials and experiences, inspired by Wollstonecraft’s work, for young people who might not have heard of her. The annual WS lecture features an outstanding speaker on themes related to her work, and each year it awards a state-educated student the Wollstonecraft Prize for Political Engagement. This lecture is also part of a week-long celebration of events around Mary Wollstonecraft organised by the Newington Green Meeting House.

This event forms part of LSE’s Shaping the Post-COVID World initiative, a series of debates about the direction the world could and should be taking after the crisis.

This event will have live captioning and BSL interpreters.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSECOVID19

Podcast & Video

A podcast of this event is available to download from Mary Wollstonecraft and the Vindication of Human Rights.

A video of this event is available to watch at Mary Wollstonecraft and the Vindication of Human Rights.

Podcasts and videos of many LSE events can be found at the LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel.

Featured image (used in source code): Mary Wollstonecraft by John Opie (c. 1797), National Portrait Gallery, London is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.

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