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Davina Cooper's Inaugural Lecture - Making up a world: Prefiguration, play and the enactment of new facts

Strand Campus, London

13 Mar law_201819_parosha_


Is there any point in acting as if law, state and gender could be otherwise? What can be achieved by treating institutions as if they mean something other than they are commonly understood to mean? This lecture focuses on experiments that seek to enact (or prefigure) sought-after futures and to role-play state institutions with revisions. These experiments may not accomplish their intended goals and effects; acting as if things were otherwise may not make them so. But this doesn’t make the rehearsing or performing of preferred worlds pointless. Whether it is prefiguring the questions on the law reform table, developing counter-institutions, from constitutions to currencies, or legislating new gendered facts, prefiguration does stuff. The question is to think about what it does.

Speaker Biography

Professor Cooper joined The Dickson Poon School of Law in January 2018 as Research Professor in Law.

From 2004-17, Davina was Professor of Law and Political Theory at the University of Kent. Between 2004 and 2009, she directed the AHRC Research Centre for Law, Gender & Sexuality. And before that she was Faculty Research Dean for the Social Science Faculty at Keele University. She has been a specialist advisor to the British Parliamentary Select Committee on Education focusing on their HE enquiry; and has sat on various academic grants boards and panels, including at the ESRC. She has been a trustee of the Law & Society Association (US), and member of a range of journal editorial boards and international advisory committees.

She founded and co-edits the academic book series, Social Justice, with Sarah Lamble and Sarah Keenan, published by Routledge.

She has been a London magistrate, and between 1986 and 1990 was a locally elected councillor, and chair of several committees on Haringey Council, London.

Her blog 'Social Politics and stuff' is available here:

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