Beyond good and evil: feminism and 'The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina'

This seminar is the first in the new PhD-led 'Politics from the Pit' seminar series. All students and staff are welcome.


PhD panellists: Sabrina White and Charles des Portes
Chair: Dr Jonathan Dean


Netflix's 2018 The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina places good and evil at the forefront of the show's story, as Sabrina must navigate two worlds: the 'delicious' world of magic grounded in worship of Satan, and the 'innocence' of the human world. Sabrina is frequently confronted with moral dilemmas and she must navigate the two worlds she inhabits as she tries to make the 'right' choices. Unfortunately for our (anti)heroine, her choices are always accompanied by a backlash.

Neitzsche's 1886 Beyond Good and Evil grapples with the concept of morality and its embroilment in battles defining the boundaries of good and evil, rightness and wrongness.His work probes these binaries, challenging their foundations and unquestioned authority, bringing to the fore the prejudices embedded in people, in thought and in proclaimed 'truths' of morality. 

In this seminar, the panellists will unravel the binary concepts of 'good and evil' in Sabrina to address issues in feminist theory and international politics.

Charles des Portes will explore the possibilities of what a feminist moral judgement could be. He will argue that Sabrina rejects the binary approach to good and evil, instead creating a moral system based on empowerment and sorority that allows for the emergence of another space that goes beyond the spaces of good and evil dominated by patriarchal figures. 

Sabrina White will discuss Sabrina's decision to sign the 'Book of the Beast' from two viewpoints: Zelda, who problematises Sabrina as a defector to tradition, and Hilda,who problematises the context and effects of the decision. Using these ideas as an anchor, she will link this dilemma to international efforts to address Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) in UN Peacekeeping Operations, drawing out the contradictions in what is problematised, emphasising the impacts on framing and, ultimately, progress on the issue.


There is no need to book for this event - please just turn up on the day. All are welcome. 
If you have any enquiries, please email Tanisa at

Politics from the Pit seminar series

This is a new seminar series led by postgraduate researchers in the School of Politics and International Studies (POLIS). Another two seminars are planned for May 2019 - details will be added to our event listings in due course.