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Call for Papers: Abolition Feminism: Breaking Free from The Master’s Tools Workshop

15th and 16th September 2022 1pm – 6.30pm GMT+1 (Call for Papers Deadline 18 July 2022)

We are putting out a call for papers for a two half-day online workshop to bring together abolition feminist organizers and researchers, and members of the public to engage in dialogue transcending institutional boundaries to explore Abolition Feminism (AF) as a framework for imagining alternative futures and a praxis.


We are at a critical moment following the expansion of police powers during COVID-19 under the Coronavirus Act 2020 in the UK, the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement where across the world activists called for the abolition of the police. And more recently, the #KillTheBill movement in the UK challenges the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 that followed the kidnap, rape, and murder of Sarah Everard by a police officer. AF voices who challenge carceral responses to GBV and locate them within structural rather than individual harms have also breached the mainstream media.

In this workshop, we explore AF responses to GBV that are deeply rooted in the work and activism of Black feminists and feminists of colour. AF and the conjecture of issues prompt us to revisit Audre Lorde’s incisive criticism of mainstream white feminism: “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house” (Lorde 1978 [1984], 111). 

R v Couzens [2021] has reignited concerns about how societal dependencies on the police and the criminal legal system in response to GBV remain largely unquestioned in the UK. The response to this case by survivors, organizers, activists, the general public, and simultaneously, the police at the vigil for Sarah Everard has emphasised the importance of deconstructing the relationship between GBV and the State in the UK.

It has prompted us to consider in concert the following questions:

  • What are our attachments and relationships with the police and other criminal legal institutions such as the prison? 
  • Whose interests are served and protected by the police and the criminal legal system?
  • What level of harm to marginalized people and genders is produced by a reliance on criminal legal institutions?
  • How do we envision gendered and sexual justice in the intersectional sense in the UK? 
  • What strategies to GBV are there beyond the police and criminal legal institutions? 
  • What challenges and negotiations are involved in creating a world without criminal legal institutions and carcerality? 

This workshop is intended to provide space for organizers and the academic community to engage with the complexity of these questions and to bring us a step closer to the Abolition Feminism horizon. 


We are looking for papers for Day 1 (15.9.2022) entitled: “Revisiting the Roots and Mapping the Evolution of Abolition Feminism” with an emphasis on the following themes:

  • GBV, carcerality and Abolition Feminism
  • Embedding Abolition Feminism and Anti-Carceral Approaches

Please send a paper proposal/abstract (max 250 words) to readandresist20@gmail.com by 18 July 2022

We very much welcome proposals from beyond academia and also from grad students and early career researchers

Flick Adams, Fabienne Emmerich, Jodie Beck, molly ackhurst,  nic aaron, and S Lamble


15.9.22  (1- 5.30 pm GMT+1)Day 1: Revisiting the Roots and Mapping the Evolution of Abolition Feminism16.9.22(1- 6.30 pm GMT +1Day 2: Abolition Feminism in the Everyday: Reimagining and Navigating Tensions
1pmKeynote address Alison Phipps (20 min +15 min Q&A) 1pmKeynote address Lola Olufemi (20 min + 15 min Q&A)
145pmSession 1 (1 hour): GBV, Carcerality and Abolition Feminism (Chaired by S Lamble)145pmSession 1 (1 hour): Living Everyday Abolition (facilitated by Cradle)
255pmSession 2 (1 hour): Embedding Abolition Feminism and Anti-Carceral Approaches (Chaired by Jodie Beck)Session 2 (1 hour): Responding to Disclosure; Practising Accountability (facilitated by Cradle)
355pm Break355pm Break
425pmSession 3 (1 hour): Building inside//outside solidarity Letter writing session with Anti-carceral Solidarity 425pmSession 3 (1 hour): Navigating survivors’ desires for punishment? (facilitated by Abolitionist Futures)
535pm Endnote address Ruth Wilson Gilmore and Craig Gilmore (20 min + 15 min Q&A)
615pm Closing
630pm Close
The Seminar was funded by the Socio-Legal Studies Association

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