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The BiGS Annual Lecture: The Language & Politics of Care, with Lynne Segal

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Venue: Online

Please note: this event will be hosted digitally via Blackboard Collaborate. A link to join will be sent to attendees in advance of the event.

Please note: this event will be recorded

For our inaugural Annual Lecture, Birkbeck Gender & Sexuality (BiGS) is delighted to welcome Professor Lynne Segal to speak on 'The Language & Politics of Care.'

Today we are facing a global crisis of care, on every level, from harming the world we inhabit to most people lacking the time or resources to care adequately, even for those who most depend upon them. I will therefore focus on what I see as the basis for this unsteady fulcrum of our concern for others, and the neglect now so prominent wherever we look. We all lean on others, but how this dependency manifests itself, or remains hidden, is one crucial topic. Whether or not people are likely to receive the care they need, however necessary, and who cares for our carers, if they do, are even more troubling issues. Finally, addressing the ramifications of care in our time, and the disavowals of dependency, always leads us quickly into another terrain, the thorny thickets of gendered and, as often as not, racialized dynamics of power.

Feminists have often questioned whether women have any distinct and enduring ties to nurturing, or similar virtues, other than those deriving from our continuing subordination and the particular responsibilities expected of women. These were precisely the caring skills that second-wave feminists hoped to see valued and shared by both sexes equally, and for the sake of all of us. Instead, we remain in a world where carelessness reigns, despite and because of the outsourcing and marketizing of ‘care’.

How can we now envisage repairing that situation?

Lynne Segal is Anniversary Professor, Emerita, Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck

Founded in 2008, Birkbeck Gender & Sexuality (BiGS) aims to foster and showcase interdisciplinary collaboration and exchange in gender and sexuality studies. Situated within Birkbeck Institute for Social Research (BISR), and currently funded by the Schools of Arts, Law, and  Social Sciences, History and Philosophy, BiGS brings together scholars working across the college and encourages dialogue with practitioners in the creative industries as well as with non-academic constituencies. Birkbeck has a long history of world-leading research in gender and sexuality, and BiGS strives to promote and advance that rich legacy through its activities which typically include a vibrant programme of workshops, screenings, performances, readings, lectures and seminars.  

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