Panel Discussion – On What Terms?: Re-Thinking Feminism and Radicalism

A Panel Discussion organized by: The Birkbeck Interdisciplinary Gender and Sexuality (BIGS) Postgraduate Group

5th April 2011, 6.30-8.30 pm

Birkbeck College, Room 151, Malet Street Building

Panelists: Tamsin Omond, Jonathan Dean, Laurie Penny

In our contemporary moment ‘radicality’ and ‘radicalism’ are frequently utilized terms, in particular with relation to the ongoing student, environmental and anti-cuts protests, revolutions in the Middle East, as well as contemporary media discussions of feminism. However, despite their popularity, the terms remain infrequently unpacked.

This panel aims to consider some of the complex intersections between feminism and radicality/radicalism, asking: How can we understand the deployment of the terms ‘radical’ and radicalism’ and what might feminist politics contribute to considerations of radicality? What does a radical approach to politics, activism, and theory entail? How might histories of radicality inspire contemporary feminist activism, theory, and politics? Can a contemporary radical feminism exist when feminism is so frequently deemed as being ‘past’ its radical historical moment? Is ‘radical feminism’ a politically useful position when it is an increasingly popular term of derision used in the media? Is it possible to move beyond the historically situated meaning of the term ‘radical feminism,’ and what might it signify if/when we do?

About the Panelists:

Tamsin Omond is an environmental activist and founding member of Climate Rush (

Jonathan Dean is a Lecturer in Political Theory at the University of Leads, specializing in feminist theory and politics and critical perspectives in social and political theory. He recently published a book entitled Rethinking Contemporary Feminist Politics (Palgrave 2010).

Laurie Penny is a journalist and feminist activist. She is a regular writer for The Guardian and New Statesman, and her political writing was shortlisted for the Orwell prize.

This event is free, open to all and includes wine, but places are limited. To reserve a place please email