Ewen Green Memorial Lecture - Duelling in the archive: labour quotas for disabled Britons, 1944-1995

Lucy Delap (University of Cambridge)

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How did ‘disability’ become a significant welfare category of the twentieth century? What kinds of experiences of labour did it mandate? This lecture explores how disabled people navigated work and workplaces through a focus on the quota system that emerged in the 1940s. It also critically interrogates the archives that underpin disability history.  The twentieth century history of labour and disability reveals how certain forms of ‘value’ were continuously attached to different kinds of embodiment. This problematises divisions into social democratic and neoliberal political economies, and sheds new light on the mentalities, fantasies and experiences that shaped ideas of modernity and industry in modern Britain.

There will be a drinks reception after the lecture. All welcome.


About the speaker:

cd events lucy delap

Lucy Delap is a Professor in Modern British and Gender history at the University of Cambridge, and Fellow of Murray Edwards College.  She has published widely on the history of feminisms, gender, labour and religion, including the prize-winning The Feminist Avant-Garde: Transatlantic Encounters of the early twentieth century, Knowing Their Place: Domestic Service in Twentieth Century Britain in 2011, and the widely translated Feminisms: a global history in 2020. She is currently writing a book about the labour of disabled people in twentieth century Britain.


Access information:

The entrance to the Magdalen Auditorium is via Magdalen College's Longwall Street entrance. The auditorium entrance is c. 10 metres from the large gate on Longwall Street. The venue is wheelchair accessible with an accessible toilet to the left of the auditorium stage. The auditorium has an induction loop and microphones will be used. People are welcome to come and go, and there is a quiet space with seating in the foyer. If you prefer to watch the talk online, a recording with captions will be available. For further access enquiries, please email sian.pooley@magd.ox.ac.uk.