Minorities and Philosophy Annual 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. It aims to address three closely related areas that, to date, have been largely overlooked by mainstream Anglophone philosophers and philosophy departments:

1. Minority issues within academic philosophy
2. Theoretical issues regarding philosophy of race, gender, sexual orientation, class, disability, native language, and more
3. Philosophy done from minority perspectives

In encouraging awareness and discussion of these topics, MAP hopes to foster improved department cultures and promote the participation of previously underrepresented groups in philosophy.


Details of the 2017 lecture will be posted here when announced.


The 2016 lecture was held on Friday 9th December, from 2:30 - 4:30pm in the Humanities Research Institute (HRI)

Dr Meena Dhanda (University of Wolverhampton): "An inescapable comparison - casteism and racism"

In this paper Meena gives arguments for why we cannot avoid comparing racism and casteism in the diaspora. Living in the diaspora invariably makes South Asian populations susceptible to racial discrimination, but it does not uniformly make all of them open to empathising with the victims of casteism. Well meaning anti-racists do not automatically become anti-castetists. Their failure to empathise is a result of collective hypocrisies which thrive in the political environment of multi-culturalism. The victims of casteism see a continuity in their experience; just as racism does not go away, for them casteism too does not go away, even when they rise up in status, economically and politically. Opposition to legislation against caste discrimination in the U.K., must be seen in this wider context. The opposition to the legislation is also fed by the growing transnational attempts to forge a Hindu identity. In building her framing ideas, besides using the notion of collective hypocrisies from C├ęsaire, Meena also uses the idea of stigmatised identities from Goffman, structural oppression from Camfield and her own notion of practical identity. She gives some examples of the experience of casteism in the diaspora from her own research and encounters. She explains the context of stakeholder engagement in the EHRC project on Caste in Britain that she led in 2013-14. She suggests that seriously uprooting casteism requires deep scrutiny of ones expressionless complicity in systems of oppression, through reflecting on ones unthinking enjoyment of privileges. A check on the reproduction of casteism can be made by thinking of the ways casteism is embeded in structural oppressions (beyond individual motivations and actions) and on the basis of such a materialistic - though necessarily incomplete - understanding, strategise action on policy change and cultural reform. The backdrop of continuing racism in the diaspora, has the potential to generate anti-casteist solidarities as well as, paradoxically, make available routes of evasion of responsibility. Comparison between racism and casteism, she concludes illuminates the inner logic of oppression.