Skip to main content

1968 Conference: 3-4 July 2008, Birkbeck


A number of the contributions from the conference were published as 1968 in Retrospect: History, Theory, Alterity.



The British Sociological Association's Theory Study Group hosted a conference on the events of May 1968 in collaboration with the Birkbeck Institute of Social Research. The conference was timed to coincide with the fortieth anniversary of May 1968 and sought to provide a forum for reflecting back on the events of that time as well as thinking about their implications for current and future endeavours – theoretical and political.


Conference Programme (PDF Document)

Abstracts (PDF Document)



Keynote Speakers:

  • Patricia Hill Collins, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Maryland, and 100th President of the American Sociological Association (2008-09) 

    PAPER: Freedom Now! 1968 as a Turning Point for Black American Student Activism

P Collins 
  • Paul Gilroy, Anthony Giddens Professor in Social Theory, LSE, author of Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack and The Black Atlantic

    PAPER: 1968 and Postcolonial England: Enoch Powell, Martin Luther King, Rivers of Blood and ‘Fanon's New Man’
 P Gilroy
  • Juliet Mitchell, Professor of Psychoanalysis and Gender Studies, University of Cambridge, author of Siblings: Sex and Violence and Mad Men and Medusas

    PAPER: Women's Liberation; Feminism; Gender Studies - 1968 Lives On
 J Mitchell
  • William Outhwaite, Professor of Sociology, University of Newcastle, author of Social Theory and Postcommunism (with Larry Ray) and contributor to The Disobedient Generation: Social Theorists in the Sixties

    PAPER: When Did 1968 End?
 W Outhwaite
  • Ken Plummer, Professor of Sociology, University of Essex, author of Intimate Citizenship: Private Decisions and Public Dialogues and Documents of Life -2: An Invitation to a Critical Humanism

    PAPER: Outsiders, Deviants and Countercultures: Subterranean Tribes and Queer Imaginations in 1968
    Full paper available here: (PDF Document)
 K Plummer
  • Lynne Segal, Anniversary Professor of Psychology and Gender Studies, Birkbeck College, author of Making Trouble and Why Feminism? Gender, Psychology, Politics

    PAPER: She’s Leaving Home! Repositioning Women in Narratives of the Sixties
 L Segal



Thanks to the Departments of Sociology at Birmingham, Bristol, Leicester, Newcastle, and Warwick Universities
for supporting the conference and, in particular, for sponsoring Professor Collins's participation in the event

Thanks also to Birkbeck College for hosting the event


Conference Team

Ipek Demir (Leicester)
Helen Gregory (Exeter)
Steve Kemp (Edinburgh)
Maki Kimura (Open University)
Sasha Roseneil (Birkbeck)
Gurminder K. Bhambra (Warwick)









LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The British Sociological Association (BSA) Theory Study Group has taken all reasonable care to ensure that the information published on this website is accurate, complete and up to date, however, it is possible that the information may be out of date, incomplete or the opinion of external contributors. It is advisable to verify any of the information contained on this website with the BSA’s office, before taking any action in reliance upon it. The BSA accepts no responsibility /liability for the consequences of error or for any loss or damage suffered by users of any of the information and material contained on this website or any other site that you, or any other person, may access through this site. The BSA does not warrant that this site, or the server that makes it available, are free of viruses or bugs or represents the full functionality, accuracy and reliability of the materials. On no account shall any statement on this website constitute an offer to provide services. Materials contained on this website are subject to copyright and other proprietary rights. Please note that any communication or material that you transmit to, or post on any area of this site, including any data, questions, comments, suggestions, and the like will be treated as non-confidential and non-proprietary.