Honour Killing Across Culture and Time

conference logoAustralian National University
Canberra, Australia
7-9 December 2011

Honour-motivated violence is a trans-historical and cross-cultural phenomenon, yet it has recently become a metonym for Islamic and anti-modern cultures.

How can inter-disciplinary conversations unpack this association to produce innovative ways of thinking about and acting against violence justified through claims of honour?

This conference will explore honour killing across periods, places, political contexts, legal regimes and religions.


Film screening


ABC Radio National program, 'The Law Report,' features Dr. Aisha Gill and Ms Niilofur Farrukh in feature on 'Honour Killing'  (originally broadcast 7 Feb. 2012)

ABC Radio National program 'Life Matters,' features Ms Marsha Freeman and Dr. Carolyn Strange in feature on 'Honour Killing' (originally broadcast  7 Dec. 2011)

Videos of the conference keynotes and other presentations can be watched at ANU Vision


This event will be the ANU Gender Institute's Signature Event for 2011. It will bring together scholars, artists and activists addressing such questions as:

  • How is honour embodied and performed in ways that lead to gendered violence?
  • How are concepts of honour and shame invoked in acts of violence, their justification, and adjudication?
  • Through what behaviours, relations, and authorities has honour-related violence been codified and challenged?
  • How do status anxieties and social asymmetries contribute to honour killing?
  • How do anti-violence strategies negotiate competing claims of human rights and cultural relativism?
  • What are the implications of addressing honour killing as a species of domestic violence?
  • How are personal and familial honour-related killings distinguished from collective, public and state violence?
  • Under what historical circumstances, and through what strategies, have honourable masculinity and violence been dissociated?
  • Can honour be reconceptualised in ways that challenge violent practices justified in the name of honour?

Featured speakers:

Niilofur Farrukh, Director of Research at FOMMA- Art History Documentation Centre, Karachi

Marsha A. Freeman, Fellow, University of Minnesota Center for Human Rights

Ute Frevert, Director of the History of Emotions Research Centre, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin

Lynn Welchman, Co-Director of the Honour Crimes Project, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

The conference will also feature the screening of Quest for Honor (2009) on the evening of 8 December. The filmmaker, Mary Ann Smothers Bruni, and Margaret Jolly, ARC Laureate Fellow, will discuss the film and its reception.

The event will be opened by Andrew Leigh, MP (Fraser).

Participants are encouraged to seek their own funding for travel and accommodation. Visitors to Canberra may find Canberra's visitor website of use.

Updates about the conference may also be found on the twitter feed HKXCT

Convenor: Dr Carolyn Strange, School of History, Australian National University 

Support for this conference is gratefully acknowledged: ANU Gender Institute, Centre for International and Public Law, Centre for Arab & Islamic Studies, and ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences.

Logo image: Simeen Farhat, Poetic Dynamite #2, http://www.simeen.net/

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