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Prof Matthew Weait: Do you know who I am? Law, confession, and the ‘normal’...

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Asa Briggs Hall

Checkland Building

Falmer Campus

BN1 9PH

United Kingdom

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Do you know who I am? Law, confession, and the ‘normal’ body

Should I tell someone I am living with HIV? That my gender is not the one I was assigned at birth? That I am not who you think I am, or who you would like me to be? In this lecture Prof Weait will explore law’s assumptions about the ‘normal’ body and its expectation that we should disclose any ‘abnormality’ to others. Focusing on recent cases in which people have been disciplined and punished for failing to conform to socially and culturally valorised physiological and gendered ideals – people whose bodies it has identified as dangerous, deceptive and risky – Matthew will suggest that the law, far from protecting us against threats or affirming our rights, serves rather to shore up hegemonic values, and that it does this at the expense of acknowledging and celebrating the lived experience and identities of real people.

Prof Matthew Weait

Matthew Weait’s academic background is in law, criminology, and socio-legal studies. He currently works at the University of Portsmouth and is Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Previously he has worked at Oxford, Keele, The Open University, and at Birkbeck, University of London, where he was one of the founding members of the School of Law. He qualified as a Barrister, but does not practise.

His research interests lie in the fields of law, human rights and public health, specifically the impact of criminal laws and criminal justice enforcement practices on HIV prevention and on the lives both of people living with HIV, and of those who belong to key (or “at risk”) populations. He has published widely in this area, and has contributed to a number of international initiatives aimed at minimising the adverse impact of such laws and practices. These include the Global Commission on HIV and the Law (2012), a number of projects for the Joint UN Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), and work with the Law Enforcement and HIV Network (LEAHN). He has a particular interest in public health and legal culture in the Nordic and Scandinavian countries.

He is a keen fiction writer and belongs to an active writing group.


All welcome. This keynote lecture is part of the University of Brighton's week-long Festival of Postgraduate Research. For festival details go here.

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Asa Briggs Hall

Checkland Building

Falmer Campus

BN1 9PH

United Kingdom

View Map

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