Annual "Minorities and Philosophy" Lecture

The Department of Philosophy hosts the Minorities and Philosophy (MAP) annual lecture organised in conjunction with the Sheffield chapter of the MAP network (, which seeks to examine and address issues of minority participation in academic philosophy.



Poster with text reading: Dr Patrice Haynes (Nottingham University), Minorities and Philosophy Annual Lecture, Taking African Ontologies Seriously, Friday 26th April, 2.30-4.30pm, Diamond LT 7, free to all (refreshments provided)
Taking African Ontologies Seriously
Friday 26th April, 2.30-4.30pm, Diamond LT 7
Our speaker is Patrice Haynes. 
Abstract: In this talk, I consider the question, ‘What does it mean to take African spirit ontologies seriously?’ Given what I consider to be certain limitations with descriptivist (i.e., hermeneutical-phenomenological) and interpretivist (i.e., social science) approaches to spirit-talk, I introduce the concept of ‘ontological justice’. To help flesh out this idea, I explore the ‘ontological turn’ in anthropology, particularly as this develops the notion of the pluriverse. In seeking to address some problems faced by anthropology’s ontological turn, I touch on Martin Savransky’s notion of a ‘pluralistic realism’ inspired by William James’ radical pragmatism alongside the ontological pluralism that emerges in African thinkers such as Achille Mbembe and Francis B Nyamnjoh. In doing so, I hope to signal towards a notion of the pluriverse as one that can do ontological justice to spirit-talk.


Poster for Minorities in Philosophy (MAP) Lecture 2023

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Poster for Minorities in Philosophy (MAP) Lecture 2022

Dr. Azita Chellappoo (The Open University), talked about Fatphobia as Method. Feminist Epistemology and Knowledge Production in ‘Obesity Science’.

Friday 6th of May 2022, 2:30-4:30 GMT

University of Sheffield, Diamond Work Room 3 and online

Abstract: Feminist epistemologists have generated significant insights into the ways in which values enter into many aspects of scientific inquiry, often guiding and shaping the research process. These insights have been valuable in demonstrating the influence of gender biases in science, and constructing visions of what a feminist science would look like. I suggest that the tools of feminist epistemology can also be usefully deployed in tracing the role of anti-fatness as a value that shapes knowledge production in ‘obesity science’.

‘Obesity’ has arisen as an object of intense scientific and public concern, characterised by many as an ‘epidemic’, and by dissenting voices as a ‘moral panic’. Scientific research around ‘obesity’ has been a central component of discourses that pathologise and medicalise larger bodies, and render a fatness a disease in itself. There has been a recent flourishing of work that (amongst other things) critiques damaging representations of fatness, aims to deconstruct the biomedical model of fatness, and highlights the racialisation of fatphobia. However, despite the flurry of scientific activity around ‘obesity’, and its implications for medical and public health interventions, this area has been given surprisingly little attention by philosophers of science.

I outline reasons for considering fatness to be a salient, and marginalised, social category, and the ways in which feminist epistemology can help us in understanding the role of values in ‘obesity science’. I then consider two cases to demonstrate the ways in which non-epistemic values may be at play in knowledge production in the science of ‘obesity’: firstly, research into metabolic dysfunction, and secondly, research into the ‘obesogenic’ microbiome.


Poster for Minorities in Philosophy (MAP) Lecture 2022


Poster for Minorities in Philosophy (MAP) Lecture 2018

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