‘Breaking Bounds’, an interdisciplinary postgraduate conference on 19th-century women

Registration is now open for ‘Breaking Bounds’, an interdisciplinary conference for postgraduate and early careers researchers, to be held at the University of Portsmouth on Saturday 11th May 2019.  A draft programme and a link to the registration website can be found at

Social media movements such as #MeToo and #WhyIDidntReport have created spaces for women to share their experiences of sexual violence, harassment and objectification, as well as condemning the seeming acceptability of men abusing their positions of power. Going beyond individual stories, these discussions have rejected notions of female victimhood and have attempted to shift the focus onto the behaviour of male abusers and question the institutional structures that perpetuate it. Significantly, this analysis of the social and political structures that govern power distribution has opened up the discussion to allow examination of the intersectionality of gender dynamics, and explore the experiences of a wide variety of social groups.  Within this discussion, writers are beginning to trace the links between gender dynamics in the current climate and that of the nineteenth century, when the ‘Woman Question’ debate developed alongside legal reforms to the status and protection of women. This interdisciplinary conference looks to examine forms of female curtailment and restraint – and attempts to challenge and subvert them – in the nineteenth century, with an eye to better understanding how modern society is still constrained by the past.