Issue date: 29 October 2004

ISSUE DATE: 29/10/04

The University of the West of England will award the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters to Professor Christine Delphy in recognition of her contribution to the exploration of matters of contemporary political significance. The honorary degree will be conferred at the Award Ceremony of the Faculty of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences on Tuesday 2 November at 11.30am at Bristol Cathedral.

Christine Delphy was born and educated in Paris. Following study at the Université de Paris (Sorbonne), where she completed a Masters degree in Sociology in 1961 (Licence de Sociologie), she successfully applied for an exchange fellowship between the Université de Paris and the Committee on Social Thought, University of Chicago and moved to the United States of America. In 1963, she applied for and was accepted as a postgraduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, and the following year chose to apply for a fellowship at the Eleanor Roosevelt Foundation in Human Relations; she was accepted and worked during 1964-1965 for the Washington DC branch of the National Urban League. She returned to France in 1965 and registered for a Doctorate of Philosophy, but in 1966 became a contract researcher at the Centre National Recherché Scientifique (CNRS), becoming a part-time ‘engineer’, then a full time Attachée de Recherche, Chargée de Recherche in 1977 and Directrice de Recherche in 2001. She subsequently completed her Doctorate of Philosophy in 1988, through the University of Quebec in Montreal.

For two years from 1975, Christine Delphy was a co-organiser of the joint French/English seminar on ‘Economic Relations in Domestic Groups’ for the SSRC-Foundation de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme. With Simone de Beauvoir, she founded the magazine ‘Nouvelles Questions Feminists’ and participated in the creation of the feminist ‘Movement de Liberation de la Femme’, which she now leads. For four years from 1982, she served as a member of the scientific committee of l’ATP at CNRS studying research on women and feminist research. In 1984, she was elected a member and served for four years on the UNESCO French commission.

Professor Christine Delphy is a major French sociologist and is regarded as an architect of French materialistic feminism. As a key thinker in the modern women’s movement, she has merited a volume on her life and work in the Women of Ideas Series, authored by Stevi Jackson. In recent years she has led international campaigns of support for women’s rights in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Her many writings and publications are used by members of staff in the University of the West of England in both research and teaching. She continues to be controversial and to make challenging contributions to current feminist debates.


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