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INSIGHTS Virtual Lectures: A global history of sexual violence by Professor Joanna Bourke

Professor Joanna Bourke, Birkbeck College, University of London

Date/Time: Thursday 15 October 2020, 17:30 - 18:15

Hosted by Dr Martin Farr, with introduction from Dr Matt Davies

Content Warning: The following lecture includes references to rape and sexual violence which some people may find distressing. Not suitable for Children.

Sexually-violent practices and ideologies have varied dramatically over time and geographical region. There have also been important shifts in the weighting given to its two components: ‘sexual’ and ‘violence’. Sexual violence is deeply rooted in specific political, economic, social, and cultural contexts. In this lecture, Professor Bourke explores some of the ways sexual violence has been understood, from the 19th Century to the present day, paying particular attention to local, regional, and global differences.


Joanna Bourke is Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London, and Fellow of the British Academy. She is the Principal Investigator on a five-year Wellcome Trust-funded project entitled 'Sexual Violence, Medicine, and Psychiatry'. She is the prize-winning author of fourteen books, including histories on modern warfare, military medicine, psychology and psychiatry, the emotions, fear, what it means to be human, pain, and rape, as well as over 100 articles in academic journals. In 2014, she was the author of The Story of Pain: From Prayer to Painkillers (OUP) and Wounding the World: How Military Violence and War-Play are Invading our Lives (Virago). Her books have been translated into Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Portuguese, Czech, Turkish, and Greek. An Intimate History of Killing won the Wolfson Prize and the Fraenkel Prize.

Live Q&A:

The lecture will be followed by a live Q&A with the speaker. You can submit a question in advance by sending an email to or during the event using YouTube Live Chat or via Twitter @InsightsNCL.

This event will be hosted on YouTube, registration is not required. A link to the virtual lecture will appear on this page in due course.