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Prof Martin Conway: A History of Social Justice

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Tuesday 14 March 2023





Faculty of Education Piazza, Faculty of Education

Prof Martin Conway social justice lecture . Image of protestors in USA

The idea that social justice might have a history is not self-evident. We are always inclined to assume that the values we might share today are those towards which modern societies have long striven, overcoming gradually the obstacles of history, privilege and prejudice. However, in reality, social justice has rarely if ever had a stable meaning. It has been instead a concept susceptible to multiple different formulations.

The purpose of this lecture is to explore the plural meanings of social justice, demonstrating how across the twentieth century it could be found within many political traditions, from communism to the extreme right. This is not simply a historical exercise, but a means of promoting critical reflection on our understandings of social justice at a time when the interplay of the concepts of equality, freedom and identity form a prominent element of public debate.

Martin Conway is Professor of Contemporary European History at the University of Oxford, and a Fellow of Balliol College. He is the author of a number of works on different aspects of twentieth-century European history, including Western Europe’s Democratic Age (2020). He is the co-editor with Camilo Erlichman of a history of Social Justice which will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2023.


4pm – Welcome

4:10pm – Professor Martin Conway Presentation – followed by Q&A

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