“Monstrous” Women in history, politics, & law

Posted on: 09 November 2023

Renowned historian Professor Joanna Bourke will deliver the 8th annual Edmund Burke Lecture on Thursday, November 16th.

The Annual Edmund Burke Lecture celebrates Trinity’s strong connection with the 18th-century philosopher, historian and politician Edmund Burke. This event is organised by the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute and previous speakers have included Michael Ignatieff, Mary McAleese, Roy Foster, and Robert Fisk.

In her talk Professor Bourke will draw on the subject of her current research towards a book entitled Evil Women. Some of her earlier books include Housewifery: Women, Economic Change and Housework in Ireland, 1890-1914 (1993), and An Intimate History of Killing (1999). In 2014, she was the author of The Story of Pain: From Prayer to Painkillers and Wounding the World: How Military Violence and War-Play are Invading our Lives.

The event is free and open to the public. Register for the event at this link

Joanna Bourke is Professor Emerita of History at Birkbeck, University of London, and a Fellow of the British Academy. She is also the Professor of Rhetoric at Gresham College. 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 and OUP published Birkbeck: 200 Years of Radical Education for Working People.

Speaking in advance of the lecture, Prof Bourke said: “I owe a great deal to Trinity College Dublin. I am a New Zealander but did my PhD at the Australian National University under the supervision of the great Irish historian, Professor Oliver MacDonagh. My thesis (and first book!) was on women in rural Ireland between the 1850s and 1914, so MacDonagh used his connections to send me to TCD as a visiting scholar for a year. It was a wonderful time to be a student of Irish history – the flourishing particularly of social and economic history. I fell in love with the city and return as often as I can.”

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 1748. As a student he founded what would later become the College Historical Society, which this year was awarded the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ Record for the Oldest Student Society in the world.

More about the annual the Annual Edmund Burke Lectures:

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 1748. As a student he founded what would later become the College Historical Society, the oldest student society in the world. Burke entered Parliament in 1765 and quickly became a champion for political emancipation. After 1789, he directed his attention to the French Revolution and its immediate ramifications for political stability in England.

One of Burke’s central and life-long concerns was what moral codes should underpin the social order, constrain the use of power and inform our behaviour as responsible citizens. The Edmund Burke lectures provide a prominent forum for contributing in his spirit to the wider discourse about what society we want to live in and what traditions, perspectives and values we need to draw on in the shaping of our future.

Previous lectures in the series were delivered by former President of Ireland, Professor Mary McAleese; Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon; distinguished historian Margaret MacMillanan; award winning writer and journalist, Robert Fisk; Professor Roy Foster, Chair of Irish History, University of Oxford and Baroness Onora O’Neill, former chair of the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The lecture series is supported the Fallon family in honour of Trinity graduate Padraic Fallon (1946-2012).

Media Contact:

Fiona Tyrrell | Media Relations | tyrrellf@tcd.ie | +353 1 896 3551