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‘Do no harm’: Researching the pasts, presents, and futures of sexual violence

The Birkbeck University of London hosts the conference ” ‘Do no harm’: Researching the pasts, presents, and futures of sexual violence” on February 8-10, 2023.

In the last twenty years, we have witnessed protests and acts of resistance against sexual violence in its many forms around the world. #MeToo is only the latest articulation of anger against a contested and highly politicised form of violence that continues to be an omnipresent threat to women and children. While substantial legal and social gains have been made in some parts of the world over the past five decades, the violence continues. Harmful rape myths and stereotypes, often racialized, endure and shape who society sees as victims and perpetrators. The legal, medical, and criminal justice systems repeatedly fail victims and survivors. Violence prevention programmes continually place the onus on women and children to monitor their own behaviour. Those whose identities are marginalised or ‘othered’ such as trans and nonbinary people, immigrants, or people with disabilities are targeted for abuse and oftenfailed by services set up to support them.

This conference explores sexual violence from a historical perspective. What can historical research reveal about sexual violence in both the past and present, and how can such research help us to think constructively about the future? How can researchers overcome the significant methodological challenges inherent in such scholarship? How can academics, activists, and practitioners work together in these endeavours? The organizers invite papers from academics in any discipline, as well as from activists and practitioners working in the genderbased violence sector. Papers can focus on any historical period or location, and papers exploring histories of sexual violence beyond Europe and the Global North are particularly welcome. Papers may focus on methodology, ethics, or research findings, but should emphasise how their approach or argument develops current understandings of sexual violence in new ways.

The call for papers is found here. The deadline for abstracts is June 13, 2022.