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Alternatives to Religion: Annie Besant

Louise Raw and Marie Terrier present a biographical picture of Annie Besant; Socialist, Strike Leader, "Unsexed Woman", Atheist, or Religious Leader?

Marie Terrier will talk on Annie Besant’s secularism as a weapon in the fight for women’s emancipation (1874-1890)
Annie Besant has been variously memorialised as a socialist, strike leader, secularist, lover of famous men and de facto religious guru. Louise Raw looks at why these interpretations of one woman's life miss the point, and what they say about our historical traditions.

After struggling free from an authoritarian clergyman husband and a religion she found crippling, Annie Besant involved herself in the secularist movement where she immediately found room to defend the cause of women. Though she never belonged to any feminist grouping, many of her important early struggles as a secularist were linked to the “woman question”, from advocating birth-control in 1877, to the ideas she expressed in Woman’s Position According to the Bible (1885). In her brief socialist period too, her fights were often women centred including her ambiguous role in helping the matchwomen on strike in 1888.


Louise Raw | talks | www
Marie Terrier | talks


Date and Time:

5 November 2013 at 7:00 pm


2 hours



Conway Hall
Conway Hall
25 Red Lion Square
0207 242 8034

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