Philomena Essed

Experience goes beyond teaching in the PhD in Leadership and Change Program

The blend of my professional and classroom experience is different at Antioch. We do not really have the ‘classroom’ concept in our [PhD in Leadership and Change] Program where you teach students weeks or months in a row. We mentor and coach more than teach.

Our students bring so much leadership experience into our program, we help them find places and spaces to use their identity as practitioners in their journey towards becoming reflective-practitioner-scholars. I engage students in thinking about leading change, with an emphasis on how to change for what reason. Because my input in the program is often about understanding different forms of marginalization and leading with dignity and for social justice, I would like to believe that what I offer students has larger meaning than just a session or a Learning Achievement. In the sessions I facilitate I highly value the learning involved for all participants, including myself. It is particularly fulfilling when students discuss the relevance of the literature for their practice, or more generally, for the quality of their lives.

My own practice of advisory work and mentoring young people in different countries of the world provides tacit relational knowledge in working with student, but when I refer to my practice explicitly it is usually in my publications.

Professional Background

Philomena Essed has a PhD from the University of Amsterdam and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Pretoria. At Antioch University, she is a professor of Critical Race, Gender and Leadership studies in the PhD in Leadership and Change Program. She is also an affiliated researcher at Utrecht University (The Netherlands) Graduate Gender Program.

Her research and teaching transcends national, cultural and disciplinary boundaries.

Well known for introducing the concepts of everyday racism and gendered racism in the Netherlands and internationally, her work has been adopted and applied in a range of countries, including the US, Canada, South Africa, Sweden, Finland, Russia, the UK, Switzerland and Australia.

She has lectured in many countries – from Germany to Brazil; from South-Africa to Canada – and published numerous articles in English and in Dutch, some of which have been translated into French, German, Italian, Swedish and Portuguese.

Her books include Everyday Racism; Understanding Everyday Racism  and Diversity: Gender, Color and Culture. Co-edited Volumes: Race Critical Theories; Refugees and the Transformation of Societies  and A Companion to Gender Studies (‘outstanding’ 2005 CHOICE award). A volume on Dutch Racism is in progress and another volume Clones, Fakes and Posthumans: Cultures of Replication is in press. Her current research focuses on social justice and dignity as experience and practice in leading change.

In addition to her academic work Philomena has been advisor to governmental and non-governmental organizations, nationally and internationally. Since 2004 she is Deputy Member of the Dutch Equal Treatment Commission where she serves as a panel member in hearings and investigations about structural discrimination, including race, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation and disability.

As an expert witness on race, gender and racism in Europe she addressed among others The European Parliament (Brussels, 1984); The United Nations Economic and Social Council (New York, 2001); The House of Representatives of the States-General (The Hague, the Netherlands, 2004) and the United States Helsinki Commission (Capitol Hill, Washington, 2008).

In April 2011 The Queen of the Netherlands honored Philomena with a Knighthood.

For more information, contact Dr. Essed:

Dr. Philomena Essed
Professor of Critical Race, Gender & Leadership Studies
PhD in Leadership and Change Program