An Evening with Sally Haslanger: Race, Gender and the (Im)possibility of Equality

Felix & Sofie: dinsdag 21 april 2015

Felix & Sofie is pleased to welcome Sally Haslanger, Professor of Philosophy and Director of Women's and Gender Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

What does it mean to say race and gender are socially constructed? Why does it matter for social justice? At Felix & Sofie Professor Sally Haslanger will talk about her philosophy of social constructionism in relation to race and gender. Haslanger uses the term social construction to expose how social differences are sometimes masked. Some differences are taken to be natural differences whereas they are social differences. According to Haslanger, the supposed line between the natural and the social is of crucial importance for theories of justice: the “natural” is not as fixed as we might think,  and the “social” can be much more fixed than we imagined. She takes race and gender as an example and argues that they are positions within a structure of social relations. Her work emphasizes how differences between races and genders that are presumed to be natural are in fact the result of problematic interpretations and assumptions but with very real effects. Perceived or imagined physical differences give rise to social differences. Historically, women and minorities were thought to lack certain capacities by nature and as a result were not granted access to the same opportunities as white men.This is not to make a claim about the origins of gender and race, nor it is to make a stand in the nature vs nurture debate. Haslanger argues that by theorizing how gender and race fit within  structures of social relations, we are better able to identify forms of institutionalized and systemic racism and sexism, and to disrupt the reality of these social categories.
She will further talk about the need to resist the widespread philosophical denial of the reality of the social world, how we should think about our role in creating social reality, and what the political implications of her social constructivism are for social justice.


20.00 - 20.05: Opening
20.05 – 20.15: Poem by Kno’Ledge Cesare
20.15 - 20.45: Lecture by Sally Haslanger
20.45 – 21.00: Break
21.00 – 21.10: Essay by Mikki Stelder
21.10 – 21.40: Interview with Sally Haslanger
21.40 – 22.00: Q&A with Sally Haslanger

About Sally Haslinger

Sally Haslanger is Ford Professor of Philosophy and Director of Women's and Gender Studies at the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT. She is former President of the Eastern division of the American Philosophical Association, and has published widely on topics in metaphysics, epistemology and social and political philosophy. Haslanger's work in social and political philosophy has focused on accounts of the social construction of race and gender. Her work in feminist and race theory takes up issues in epistemology and metaphysics. Her latest book, Resisting Reality: Social Construction and Social Critique is a collection of essays on gender and race, and was awarded for outstanding scholarly work in the philosophy of the social sciences. Haslanger currently holds the Spinoza Chair at the University of Amsterdam, given to high-profile thinkers of our time.

About Kno'ledge Cesare

Kno'ledge Cesare is a spoken-word artist and poet, motivational speaker and an active member of the anti-racist Zwarte Piet is Racisme movement. He is also the founder of the Soul Rebel Movement which strives for unity and equality.

About Mikki Stelder

Mikki Stelder is a PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam and a lecturer in gender and postcolonial theory at the School for New Dance Development. She is interested in critical approaches to research, teaching, and activism from queer feminist decolonial perspectives.

The program is presented by Patricia de Vries

2093 / Laatst gewijzigd: 07-Apr-2015

Felix & Sofie

elke derde dinsdag van de maand

21 april 2015
Aanvang: 20.00 uur

Toegang: 5 euro (student/stadspas 4 euro).

Perdu, Kloveniersburgwal 86
Kloveniersburgwal 86

Organisatie: Redactie Felix & Sofie