The Fairbrother Lecture is a University public lecture named after Jack Fairbrother who in 1929 became the first student to be awarded a PhD from the University. The Fairbrother Lecture is an annual event at which a Reading doctoral researcher presents their research to a wider audience.
fairbrother lecture 2019
Women's Voices: From slavery to the #MeToo movement
19:00, Tuesday 21 May 2019, Whiteknights Campus
Elizabeth Barnes, Department of History
Admission is free but places are limited
In October 2017 following sexual abuse allegations against the film producer Harvey Weinstein, the viral spread of the #MeToo hashtag on social media sparked an unprecedented global wave of women disclosing their own experiences of sexual assault and harassment. Though the phrase had been used before, within a 24 hour period the #MeToo hashtag was tweeted more than 500,000 times and featured in 12 million Facebook posts.
The wave of disclosures spread rapidly beyond the film industry to survivors of sexual violence in other arenas including the church, the music industry and politics. For many, the #MeToo movement represented a watershed moment of social progress in which the victims of sexual violence and misconduct were given a voice. But what lessons does history hold for the #MeToo movement?
The end of the American Civil War offered emancipated African Americans equal protection under the law for the first time - including granting black women the right to bring rape charges against white men. Similarly to #MeToo, the period saw an escalation of disclosures of sexual violence, with black women seizing upon the opportunities that freedom gave them to redefine their past abusive relationships with white men.
Join Elizabeth Barnes as she recounts her research journey through the history of this wave of revelations and explores how the pattern of progress followed by sustained backlash continues to be felt today.
Admission is free but places are limited.