All rooms are equipped with an overhead projector
Rooms C, D, E, F, G and H (H only on Saturday): slide projector (framed slides, carrousel. There are extra carrousels available to set up your presentation in advance)
Rooms C, D, M, N, O, U and Committee Room 2: beamer to connect your laptop. You have to bring you own laptop. (If you want to use your Apple notebook, please contact us, as it may be incompatible.)
Rooms C, T and U: VCR
|Writing New Worlds: Love, Emotion, Sex and Politics in the Work of Naomi Mitchison and Dora Russell in the 1920s and 1930s|
|Dora Russell (1894-86) and Naomi Mitchison (1897-1999) were prominent figures involved in sex reform on the British Left between the two world wars. Both were well known for their published work, Russell for Hypatia (1925) and The Right to Be Happy (1927), and Mitchison for a series of popular novels. Both played important roles in the movement to expand working-class access to birth control within the British left in the 1920s and 1930s. Both Mitchison and Russell tried to envisage new frameworks of love, emotion and sexuality in their written work. At the heart of this endeavour lay a belief in liberation, whether it was the liberation of love from what was perceived as the chains of emotions such as jealousy and possessiveness, the liberation of parenting and maternal love from what were seen as authoritarian structures, the liberation of sex from the constraints of long-standing inhibitions, and, not least important, the liberation of women. With less success, Mitchison and Russell also tried to live those new worlds, often discovering, in the process, the limitations of sex, love and emotion. What is also striking is the connections each woman made between these ‘private’ worlds and a field of political action on the left. Both saw the reconstruction of the private world linked inextricably to the reform of a public world.
This paper will consider three main questions: the discussion of the ‘reform’ of love, emotions and sex in the written work of Russell and Mitchison; the tensions between the construction of this ‘modern’ subjectivity and lived experience; and the politicization of the private and emotional sphere found in their work.|