Project summary 

Understanding Offence: delimiting the (un)sayable

This Major Project considers ‘Offence’ as a phenomenon and the challenges for society in attempting to regulate offensive speech and behaviour.

The project will interrogate offence from multiple disciplinary perspectives to deepen  comprehension of the phenomenon, and elucidate what is involved in giving and taking offence. It will examine the term’s conceptual slipperiness and the context-dependent nature of understandings of offence, and analyse the complexities inherent in attempting to formulate normative definitions of offence that can be applied in legal or other regulatory frameworks.

Further information



Epiphany 2024

Principal Investigators:

Professor Helen Fenwick (Durham Law School), 
Professor Patrick Zuk, School of Modern Languages and Cultures (Russian Studies),

Visiting IAS Fellows:

Professor Valentina Sandu-Dediu, National University of Music Bucharest
Professor Kevin Bartig, Michigan State University
Professor Ian O’Flynn, Newcastle University
Dr Peter Coe, University of Birmingham
Dr Urs Büttner, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
Professor Mirza Taslima Sultana,  Jahangirnagar University

Project Events and Activities:

Further details