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The University of Southampton

Contemplating Evil: ‘Monstrous’ Women in History, Medicine, and Law, 1890s to the Present Event

Professor Joanna Bourke
15 May 2024
Avenue Campus, Lecture Theatre B and online.

Event details

We are delighted to welcome Professor Joanna Bourke, Birkbeck, University of London to speak at this event.

With this event, the School of Humanities and the Faculty of Medicine are pleased to invite you to the relaunch of Southampton Centre for Medical and Health Humanities .


16:00 | Keynote by Professor Joanna Bourke , Birkbeck, University of London | Contemplating Evil: ‘Monstrous’ Women in History, Medicine, and Law, 1890s to the Present.

Summary: What does it mean to call a woman ‘evil’? My talk focusses on British, American, and Canadian women who have inflicted exceptional levels of violence on other people. They are women who (at the time their crimes came to public knowledge) were widely proclaimed to be ‘evil’, as opposed to ‘very bad’. How have medical and legal discourses of ‘evil femininity’ changed over the modern period?

17:30 | Round Table | Women and Medical humanities with Professor Joanna Bourke, Professor Kathleen Kendall, Dr Joan Tumblety and Dr Aude Campmas.

About the speaker

Joanna Bourke is Professor Emerita of History at Birkbeck, University of London, and a Fellow of the British Academy. She is the prize-winning author of fifteen books, as well as over 120 articles in academic journals. In 2022, Reaktion Books published Disgrace: Global Reflections on Sexual Violence. She is currently writing a book entitled Evil Women. Her books have been translated into Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Portuguese, Czech, Turkish, and Greek.

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