Public Sex

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The second lecture in The Oxford Character Project ‘Arts of Leading’ series is given by Professor Sarah Williams, Professor in the History of Christianity at Regent College, Vancouver, who will speak on the life and leadership of feminist philosopher and social activist, Josephine Butler (1828-1906). Professor Williams is no stranger to Oxford, having previously held teaching posts at Harris Manchester College and Lincoln College. She specialises in the field of nineteenth- and twentieth-century social and cultural history.

From 1869 to 1885 feminist philosopher Josephine Butler brought the plight of the prostitute to the attention of Victorian society. She challenged contemporary sexual ethics and she renegotiated the place of women in the public sphere. But what motivated Butler’s critique of Victorian culture? This lecture will explore the relationship between Butler’s personal life and her political participation, offering an important perspective on questions of character, gender, and leadership.

After the lecture there will be time for discussion and questions considering how the example of Josephine Butler might inform contemporary practice of the arts of leading.

The Oxford Character Project: The Arts of Leading

Contact name: Ed Brooks
Contact email:
Audience: Open to all