A group of women protesting and handing out leaflets.


Storying Feminist History: sisterhood and after: an oral history of the UK Women's Liberation Movement

Hosted by the LSE Library

Wolfson Lecture Theatre, New Academic Building, United Kingdom


Professor Margaretta Jolly

Professor of Cultural Studies, University of Sussex


Dr Emma Spruce

Teaching Fellow, Department of Gender Studies, LSE

Listen to the intimate voices of feminist activists; debate together what narratives we may create with them.

Join us for debate with Professor Margaretta Jolly, drawing on her new book Sisterhood and After: An Oral History of the UK Women’s Liberation Movement, 1968-present, in which she weaves together personal stories of feminists across the regions, nations, classes and ethnicities of the UK.

Interrogating the politics of experience, she invites us to consider how to narrate a major period in women’s rights’ struggle, drawing on Clare Hemmings’ challenge to ‘tell feminist histories’ without nostalgia, teleology or identity politics. She will also consider a similar challenge in her co-editing, with Dr Polly Russell, the book associated with the British Library’s groundbreaking exhibition Unfinished Business: The Struggle for Women’s Rights, opening in April 2020. Debbie Challis will join as a contributor to the book.

Margaretta Jolly is based at the University of Sussex in England, where she is Professor of Cultural Studies and director of the Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research. She is the editor of The Encyclopedia of Life Writing (2001) and author of In Love and Struggle: Letters in Contemporary Feminism (2008), for which she won the Feminist and Women’s Studies Association UK Book Prize. Working with the British Library, Margaretta directed Sisterhood and After: The Women’s Liberation Oral History Project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust. She currently leads The Business of Women’s Words: Purpose and Profit in Feminist Publishing, again partnered with the British Library.

Emma Spruce is a Teaching Fellow in Gender, Sexuality and Human Rights at LSE whose research examines the intersections of sexuality, space and place; exploring the movement of sexual politics across scales (from the nation to the neighbourhood), as well as the ways that place and space acquire meaning through narratives of sexuality and gender. In particular, Emma’s work interrogates the way that race, class and sexuality work on each other to govern ‘the right to the city’, challenges sexual progress narratives’ amenability to ideologies of gentrification and urban management, and unpacks the spatial and social imaginaries constituted through narratives about changing sexual worlds. The conceptual potential that working from ‘the local’ and practices of ‘neighbouring’ holds is central to Emma’s approach to these questions. 

The British Library of Political and Economic Science (@LSELibrary) was founded in 1896, a year after the London School of Economics and Political Science. It has been based in the Lionel Robbins Building since 1978 and houses many world class collections, including The Women's Library.

Follow the debate on Twitter: #LSELiberation50.

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