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School of Law

Fighting Femicide: Cultural and Legal Interventions

5 November 2015 - 6 November 2015

Time: 1:00 - 1:00am
Venue: The Octagon, Queens' Building, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS

Call for papers

The School of Law, Queen Mary University of London, and the London Centre for Social Studies are pleased to announce the call for papers for the upcoming conference, Fighting Femicide: Cultural and Legal Interventions.

Femicide Research Network

The conference will launch a Femicide Research Network committed to elevating femicide into a first-order political problem.


While papers on any aspect of femicide will be considered, the focus is on the most prevalent form in western countries, so-called ‘intimate femicides’ where the victim had a relationship with her killer. These cases are critically important sites for locating and contesting victim-blaming fictions that inform all culturally-based excuses for femicide.

Network and conference aims

  • to stimulate public and policy debate about how best to prevent men’s murderous violence against women
  • to provide a comparative study of annual death tolls, court dispositions in femicide cases and innovative prevention strategies
  • to track ideologically-constructed narratives that blame women for provoking their own deaths.

What distinguishes this femicide research network from other femicide research organisations and agendas is its focus on the need for cultural transformation and, more specifically, its interrogations of the incidence and reception of femicide within dominant cultural communities.

Crucially, this entails a departure from the conventional focus on femicides committed by minority ethnic men. While all excuses for killing wives, women partners and former partners are culturally inscribed, we concentrate on cases involving members of dominant social groups. For as 21st-century English law reformers recognised in their bid to reign in the provocation defence – the most widely used partial defence to murder in intimate partner femicide cases in the UK and other Anglophone jurisdictions – so-called ‘honour killings’ are not confined to minority communities. Provocation has operated as a cultural defence for white Englishmen for centuries. It is, as one English law reformer put it, ‘our own version of honour killing’.

The statistics are shocking enough. In the UK two women are killed each week on average by men known to them. Relative to population, the statistics are worse in Finland and Turkey and dramatically worse across Latin America where in Brazil, for example, a woman is killed every two hours. Nevertheless, studies indicate that all western countries in the Global North and Global South have high levels of violence against women, including countries such as Sweden and Denmark often praised for their gender equity.

The Femicide Research Network is committed to forging links between researchers developing new methodologies and conceptual frameworks; researchers documenting the legal outcomes of femicide cases and feminist activists deploying social media sites to keep lethal violence against women on the political agenda.

Accordingly, we invite requests to join the network and submissions to present a conference paper from the feminist anti-violence sector, including researchers, NGOs and activists worldwide.

With a focus on dominant cultures, the event intends to address the following areas of interest and investigation:

  • new conceptual frameworks and research methodologies
  • best practice preventative measures
  • law reforms and other government anti-violence initiatives
  • anti-violence campaigning strategies


Keynote speakers include Karen Ingala Smith, Chief Executive of NIA Charity, London and ‘Counting Dead Women’ Campaigner, and Professor Jeremy Horder, Law Department, LSE.

Othello on Trial

There will also be a performance of Othello on Trial, the first play in a new youth theatre project, Seeing Red – Murderous Rage against Women.

How to submit a paper

Proposals for papers (150 words) or full panels (approx. 500 words) followed by a short biographical note should be submitted to Adrian Howe by email: by 1 September 2015.

Proposals to join the Femicide Research Network should also be sent to her. We accept requests from individuals and organisations which have a focus on femicides committed by members of dominant cultural communities. Membership is free of charge. Read more about the Femicide Research Network on the London Centre for Social Studies website.

How to book

To register, please visit the Queen Mary e-shop.

The cost of the conference is:

  • Academics, lawyers, policy-makers £50
  • Femicide Research Network members, NGO/Third sector workers £25
  • Students and unwaged £15

Conference fee includes lunch, coffee and snacks, conference drinks reception and conference materials.


For further queries, please contact Dr Adrian Howe by email: or Daniela Alaattinoğlu by email:

Photography, video and audio recording

Please note that Department of Law events may be photographed or video and audio recorded. These materials will be used for internal and external promotional purposes only by Queen Mary University of London. If you object to appearing in the photographs, please let our photographer know on the day. Alternatively you can email in advance of the event that you are attending.