John Stuart Mill symposium – Saturday 14 November, LSE, London

One hundred and fifty years ago, in 1859, the great Liberal philosopher John Stuart Mill published his most important and enduring work, On Liberty. Used today as the symbol of office of the President of the Liberal Democrats, On Liberty emphatically vindicated individual moral autonomy and celebrated the importance of originality and dissent. It set out the principle, still acknowledged as universal and valid today, that only the threat of harm to others can justify interfering with an individual’s liberty of action.

Mill himself was not only a philosopher, but also an economist, journalist, political writer, social reformer, and, briefly, an MP – his advocacy of social reform in Ireland, civil rights and racial equality helped to lose him his Westminster seat in 1868. His The Subjection of Women (1869), which argued for extending the vote to women, remains the only feminist classic written by a man.

On 14 November, the Liberal Democrat History Group, the London School of Economics and the British Liberal Political Studies Group are holding a one-day symposium to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of On Liberty and to publicise the archive of papers left by Mill and his wife Harriet Taylor – who, according to Mill, was as much responsible for On Liberty as he was himself.

The symposium will be held from 9.30am to 5pm on Saturday 14 November, at the LSE in Room 1.04, New Academic Building, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2. Speakers include
• David Howarth MP: The importance of J S Mill and On Liberty to British thought and politics today
• Dr Eugenio Biagini (Cambridge University): J S Mill and the Victorian Liberal Party
• Dr Annabelle Lever (Manchester Law School): Mill and the secret ballot
• Dr Georgios Varouxakis (Queen Mary): Mill’s vision of international relations
• Sue Donnelly (LSE Library): The Mill-Taylor archives at the LSE (with optional visit to see papers in the archive over the lunch break)
• Dr Michael Levin (Goldsmiths College): Mill and the threat to civilisation
• Dr Alan Butt Philip (University of Bath and J S Mill Institute): Mill as a politician

The cost of the conference is £10, including refreshments. To register please contact Archives Division, London School of Economics, 10 Portugal Street, London WC2A 2HD; tel: 020 7955 7221; email: [email protected]

You can also find details of this event at the Flock Together website.

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