The 2017 James MacKeith Memorial Lecture

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Gareth Peirce A Nation of Hunters and Hunted?


A Nation of Hunters and Hunted?

Friday, 24 November 2017 at 7 pm (Drinks-snacks 6:30 pm)

The Institute of Psychoanalysis, 112a Shirland Road, London W9 2BT

GARETH PEIRCE, who gave the inaugural lecture 10 years ago, is a human rights lawyer who has for many years represented men and women on the receiving end of the sharpest edge of state power. In many of the cases she worked closely with Dr James MacKeith; together they explored and developed the interaction of law and medicine, human rights and human behaviour. Those cases included the wrongful convictions of the Guildford 4 and the Birmingham 6 and the phenomena of false confessions; Guantánamo Bay and the prohibited use of torture and rendition; internment and the effects of indefinite detention upon the detainee.

Gareth Peirce writes that she works in a small firm in London – its work attempts to uphold the rights of individuals and communities deemed suspect by the state. Her good fortune was to have kicked over the traces of life and education in the UK to live and write in the US, throughout the extraordinary decade of civil rights actions and protests in that country.  Her work as a lawyer in the UK has sought to use the law not only to protect demonised individuals and communities but to fight back against the distortion of the law by the state – defeating the unlawful internment of Muslims post 9/11 and the government’s use of evidence derived from torture, and questioning in case after case its constant expansion of the use of secret evidence. Release of Guantanamo Bay detainees, Moazzam Begg and Shaker Aamer demanded refusal to accept the perpetuating of terrible injustice created years before by the British state’s complicity in crime, just as did the undoing of convictions of accused Irish men and women. A reversal of the false narrative behind the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes echoed the struggle of the mining community to achieve the truth behind Orgreave or of the Mangrove, in gentrifying Notting Hill, raided and raided again by police in attempts to eliminate West Indian gathering places by planting evidence then exposed as false. 

In a collection of essays “Dispatches from the Dark Side” in 2012, she wrote of the ways in which the state since 9/11 was endlessly expanding its reach (often unlawfully) into the new suspect community of Muslims, in the UK and beyond.  Her talk examines the extent and impact of that reach today.

JAMES MACKEITH, OBE, who died in 2007, was an outstanding Forensic Psychiatrist who dedicated himself to  Human Rights issues and to the collaboration between his field and psychoanalysis.


November 24th, 2017 6:30 PM   to   9:00 PM
Sigmund Freud Lecture Hall, Institute of Psychoanalysis
112a Shirland Road
London W9 2BT
United Kingdom

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Phone: 020 7563 5017
Phone: 020 7563 5016
Ticket fee £ 15.00
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Ticket fee £ 15.00