Lynne Segal, “She’s leaving home” – Women’s Sixties Renaissance

Thursday 31 January 2019, 6.30 pm. The Daryll Forde Seminar Room, 2nd floor, Anthropology Building, University College London, 14 Taviton Street, London WC1H 0BW.

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Dystopic fears and political pessimism are near ubiquitous today, after over three decades of austerity politics, and with racist, reactionary populism on the rise around the world. It could hardly seem more distant from the exuberant enthusiasm of fifty years ago when, all too briefly, radical joy and hope flashed around the globe – and not just in Paris, London, Rome, Berlin. Lynne Segal will argue in this talk that despite, and also because of, the sexism that was so blatant throughout Sixties’ politics and counter-culture, that decade was, and its legacies remain, critical for women’s renaissance, and the renewal of feminist thought – 1968 in particular.

Many things become obvious looking back, not just how different was the structure of feeling 50 years ago, but also, when time travelling across the years, how little of the future those busy trying to transform it manage to predict. Neither activists nor radical thinkers, however reflective then, were able to anticipate quite how, or when, change happens, even though they hoped to be the vanguard of change. Lynne will ponder this and other lessons about insurrectionary moments, movement and party politics.

Lynne Segal has been active in left and feminist politics since arriving in London at the start of the Seventies. She is Anniversary Professor of Psychology and Gender Studies at Birkbeck, University of London, in the department of Psychosocial Studies. She has written many books on feminism, gender and politics, including: Is the Future Female? Troubled Thoughts on Contemporary Feminism; Slow Motion: Changing Masculinities, Changing MenStraight Sex: The Politics of PleasureWhy Feminism? Gender, Psychology & PoliticsMaking Trouble: Life & Politics; Out of Time: The Pleasures & Perils of Ageing; and Radical Happiness: Moments of Collective Joy. She is currently working on the politics of care.