QUCL - Research on Sexual and Gender diversity at UCL


qUCL ONLINE 'The Gender Critical Movement Is the Biggest Threat to Academic Freedom in a Generation'

18 March 2022, 5:30 pm–6:30 pm

Grace Lavery photo portrait

We are delighted to welcome Grace Lavery to give qUCL's 2022 annual lecture.

This event is free.

Event Information

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The rumors are true: academic freedom really is under attack. But the threat doesn’t come from students or from “cancel culture”––it comes from university administrators, an insurgent anti-intellectual media, and powerful celebrity professors. The so-called “gender critical” movement has made the most significant attacks on academic freedom, and has normalized a set of political tools: GC academic activists have normalized threats of private legal action against students critical of their work, while senior administrators use institutional procedures to protect them, and threaten retaliatory action against student critics. Yet these sorts of actions, and the victory laps taken across the liberal UK media, are only the most spectacular facet of a wide campaign of intimidation against trans students and workers, and our allies, that is being played out in universities across the UK: abuse of institutional procedures, legal intimidation of students, media whitewashing, and social media swarming. Developing and extending methods of feminist analysis from authors such as Jennifer Doyle and Sara Ahmed, this lecture both describes the systematic threats to academic freedom posed by anti-trans activism, and identifies some possible methods for collective redress.

All are welcome to attend this online lecture and to participate in the Q&A. Please familiarise yourself with qUCL's Virtual Code of Conduct.

Recording of the lecture

Temporarily unavailable

Follow-up podcast

What is academic freedom and does it clash with trans rights and/or so-called "gender critical" feminism? Professor Grace Lavery (Berkeley) delivered the qUCL annual lecture on this difficult topic and received an overwhelming number of questions and comments that could not be addressed during the event. 

In this podcast, qUCL co-directors share with Grace all of the comments and questions so she can respond to them, even those that might be considered offensive. 

Content warning for potentially offensive content including anti-trans remarks and the legal definition of rape.

 Temporarily unavailable


About the Speaker

Grace Lavery

Associate Professor of English, Critical Theory, and Gender & Women’s Studies at University of California, Berkeley

Grace Lavery is a writer, editor, and academic living in Brooklyn, NY. As an Associate Professor of English, Critical Theory, and Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, her research explores the history and theory of aesthetics and interpretation, with particular interests in psychoanalysis, literary realism, and queer and trans cultures. Her forthcoming speculative memoir, Please Miss, will be published by Seal Press in 2022.

More about Grace Lavery