Beyond the Fragments: 45 Years On – CONFERENCE

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Date / time: 28 June, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm

People's History Museum

Beyond the Fragments: 45 Years On - CONFERENCE


Beyond the Fragments: 45 Years On
A free one-day conference

Keynote speakers: Sheila Rowbotham, Lynne Segal, and Hilary Wainwright

2024 marks the forty-fifth anniversary of the publication of the seminal socialist-feminist text Beyond the Fragments: Feminism and the Making of Socialism. Within its pages, activists Sheila Rowbotham, Lynne Segal and Hilary Wainwright wove sharp political analysis and personal reflections in their respective essays. The text sought to unify the various radical social and political movements of the 1960s and 1970s to forge a new socialist politics for the 1980s. In doing so, the publication inspired wide-ranging discussion across the left, sparking a series of highly attended conferences, and the formation of long-lasting activist networks.

Coinciding with Margaret Thatcher’s 1979 election victory, the text is now a richly insightful historical document, highlighting the often-forgotten radicalism that survived (and in some cases flourished) in the inhospitable climate of Thatcher’s Britain. For historians, Beyond the Fragments challenges pessimistic narratives of socialist decline and neoliberal triumph, and provides a framework for some of the extraordinary solidarity movements (around the miners’ strike, Greenham Common, and latterly the anti-globalisation movement) that followed. For theorists, it raises fascinating questions about the influence of second-wave feminism on political organising, the limits of Leninism, and the value of life-writing for informing political strategy. For contemporary activists, it may also still offer an inspiring and insightful guide to creating a socialist politics that empowers and unifies diverse and fragmentary experiences of oppression.

This conference aims to reflect on the insights of Beyond the Fragments and its wider influence on radical politics (in Britain and around the world) since its publication. It aims to draw upon and consider the wider themes the text directly addressed and more implicitly embodied. Grounding the text in its wider historical context, we also aim to explore how radical political cultures and spaces helped shape both the book’s creation, and facilitated the wider movements that came from it. Thinking more broadly, we hope this conference highlights the value of history and historical experience in informing activism today, opening up dialogues between past and present activists and historians around new ways of radical organising.

Registration opens to attendees from 9:30am, and there will be tea and coffee available from this time. The conference starts promptly at 10am in the Engine Hall and aims to finish at around 4:30pm. Lunch from the Open Kitchen Cafe will be provided for all attendees.

During the conference there will be a curated display of archival material from Hilary Wainwright’s collection, relating to Beyond the Fragments, the Socialist Society, and the Tyneside Socialist Centre. This will be located in the Labour History Archive & Study Centre, which will be open to drop in throughout the day from 9:30am-4pm.

To reserve a FREE ticket, please follow this link:

This is a free event, so please only book tickets if you are certain that you can attend. If you can no longer attend please let us know via so we can re-allocate tickets.

Full programme of panels and papers to be confirmed.

We are grateful for financial support from NWCDTP, the Society for the Study of Labour History, and the Past & Present Society.


Image: Wiki CommonsCC 2.0 Generic Licence