Philomena Essed, PhD
Professor of Critical Race, Gender, and Leadership Studies, PhD in Leadership and Change
Philomena Essed is professor of Critical Race, Gender and Leadership Studies at Antioch University’s Graduate School of Leadership and Change and an affiliated researcher for Utrecht University’s Graduate Gender program. She holds a PhD from the University of Amsterdam and Honorary Doctorate degrees from the University of Pretoria (2011) and Umeå University (2015). 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, she also pioneered in developing theory on what she has called social and cultural cloning. Her work has been adopted and applied in a range of countries, including the US, Canada, South Africa, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Russia, the UK, Switzerland, and Australia. She has lectured in many countries – from Germany to Brazil; from South-Africa to Canada. Essed writes in English and in Dutch. Some of her articles have been translated into French, German, Italian, Swedish and Portuguese. Her publications span decades, including the now classical 1984 book (in Dutch) Alledaags Racisme (English version, Everyday Racism, 1990), which has been republished in 2018 with additional chapters to bridge the gap between then and now.
Other books include Understanding Everyday Racism; Diversity: Gender, Color and Culture and co-edited volumes: Race Critical Theories; Refugees and the Transformation of Societies; A Companion to Gender Studies (‘outstanding’ 2005 CHOICE award); Clones, Fakes and Posthumans: Cultures of Replication, (2012); Dutch Racism (2014); and Relating Worlds of Racism (in press).
Essed has a lifelong commitment to social justice with a current focus on dignity and ethics of care as experience and practice in leading change. She has been advisor to governmental and non-governmental organizations, nationally and internationally. In the Netherlands she has been a member of the state Selection Commission for the Judiciary (2003-2010, appointed by the State Department of Justice). She has also been Deputy Member of The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights, where she served as a panel member in hearings on structural discrimination, including race, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation and disability (2004-2016).
As an expert witness on race, gender and racism in Europe she presented among others at 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); the United States Helsinki Commission (Capitol Hill, Washington, 2008) and the EU Parliament hearing on Afrophobia (Brussels, 2014). She is founding faculty member of the very successful international Black Europe Summer School (2008-) where she offers yearly courses on the broad theme of ‘Racism and Xenophobia: Causes and Consequences’, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
In 2011 The Queen of the Netherlands honored her with a Knighthood.
- University of Amsterdam, Social Sciences, PhD cum laude*
- University of Amsterdam, Social Anthropology, MA
*The Dutch university system acknowledges one merit distinction, cum laude, for PhD research of exceptional quality
- Umeå University, Sweden, Honorary Doctorate in the Social Sciences, 2015 Video
- University of Pretoria, South Africa, Honorary Doctorate in Education, 2011
- Knighthood in the Order of Oranje-Nassau, awarded by H.R.M. Beatrix, Queen of the Netherlands, 2011
Selected recent community honors
- International Exhibition ‘We Have a Dream’: Ghandi, King, Mandela. Amsterdam, de New Church.Video portret interview with Philomena Essed as part of the exhibition; 2017 https://www.nieuwekerk.nl/tentoonstellingen/wehaveadream
- NiNsee [Dutch National Institute Slavery History and Legacy – Dutch name: Nationaal Instituut, Nederlands Slavernijverleden en Erfenis, NiNsee. Black Achievement Award, category of Science, 2017
Selected current and recent university affiliations
- Umeå University, Sweden, Department of Education, Visiting Professor, 2013-2015
- Utrecht University, the Netherlands, Research Institute Culture and History, Graduate Gender Program, Affiliated Researcher
- Uppsala University, Sweden, Centre for Multidisciplinary Studies on Racism, International Advisory Board
- The Peace Research Institute, Oslo, Norway, Research project: Active Citizenship in Culturally and Religiously Diverse Societies, Academic Board
Selected professional affiliations
- Journal for Citizenship and Globalisation, Editorial Advisory Board
- Center for Intersectional Justice. Berlin. Associated Expert
- Global Critical Caribbean Thought, Book series, Caribbean Philosophical Association and Rowman & Littlefield International, International Review Board
- Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Editorial Board
- Feminist Formations, Advisory Board
- Sociological Inquiry, Editorial Board
As a social justice scholar with a global orientation Essed presents regularly internationally on various themes including: everyday racism, dehumanization and humiliation, cultural cloning in Higher Education and in the professions, entitlement racism, dignity, social justice. Samples:
- 2018: Aalborg University, Denmark and the University of Stravanger, Norway, Conference ‘Race in Contemporary Denmark’. Copenhagen, Denmark (Jan 2018); St Andrews University, Scotland (committed Feb 2018); Black Archives, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (committed Feb 2018) Witwatersrand University, WISER conference on Critical Memory, Johannesburg, South Africa (committed Feb 2018); Harvard Business School, Gender and Work Symposium (committed March 2018)
- 2017: The Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, NIAS-KNAW, Workshop Intersectionality and Algorithmic Discrimination University of Leiden, Lorentz Center; University of Uppsala, Centre for Multidisciplinary Studies on Racism. Conference on Racism and Welfare. Uppsala, Sweden; Mid-Sweden University, Department of Social Work. Östersund, Sweden.
- 2016: UNAM (Universidad National Autónoma de México). Red INTEGRAL (Interdisciplinary Network of Research on Identity, Racism, and Xenophobia in Latin America). Mexico City, Mexico; The Arctic University of Norway. Conference ‘Active Citizenship Today: Discourses, Conditions, Contestations; Copenhagen Business School. Cluster on Diversity and Difference. Copenhagen, Denmark; University of Pretoria. Conference ‘Transforming the Curriculum: South African Imperatives and 21st Century Possibilities’. Pretoria, South Africa
- 2015: Radboud University. Conference ‘The Europe of Women’. Nijmegen, The Netherlands; The Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin in cooperation with the Council on Migration in Germany. International conference “Post-migrant Society?! Controversies on Racism, Minorities and Pluralization.Berlin, Germany; Leiden University. Symposium Diversity and Inclusion: Challenging Implicit Bias. Responses and video interview after the presentation; European Communication Research and Education Association, Diaspora Migration and the Media Section, Conference on The Porous Walls of Fortress Europe: Contemporary Media Discourses of Cultural Belonging. Erasmus University, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
- 2014: Umeå University. Center for Gender Studies. G14 Challenging Power Conference. Folket Hus, Umeå, Sweden; University of Lund, Sweden. Department of Gender Studies. Workshop on ‘Social Justice Research: Conceptual Development and Social-Political Context; University of Lund, Sweden. Department of Gender Studies. Conference ‘Breaking out of Inclusion’. University of Pretoria, 4th Apartheid Archive Conference - Race, Space, Location, Dislocation; Canadian Association of University Teachers, Equity and Diversity Forum. Conference on “Perpetual Crisis? Diversity with Equity in the Academy”, Toronto, Canada
Selected contemporary and classical social justice scholarly interventions
- Women Social Justice Scholars: Risks and Rewards of Committing to Antiracism. Ethnic and Racial Studies. Vol 36, Nr 9, Pp 1393-1410 (2013)
- Entitlement Racism: License to Humiliate. Recycling Hatred: Racism(s) in Europe Today. ENAR (Ed). Brussels: ENAR (European Network Against Racism. Pp 62-77 (2013)
- Cloning the Physician. In Clones, Fakes and Posthumans: Cultures of Replication. Eds. Philomena Essed and Gabrielle Schwab. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi. Pp127-140
- Intolerable Humiliations. Racism, Postcolonialism, Europe. Graham Huggan & Ian Law (Eds). Liverpool: Liverpool UP. Pp 131-147 (2009)
- Designs and (Co)Incidents. Cultures of Scholarship and Public Policy on Immigrants/Minorities in the Netherlands. International Journal of Comparative Sociology. Volume 47 (3-4). Pp 281-312. With Kwame Nimako (2009)
- Naming the Unnamable: Sense and Sensibilities in Researching Racism. M. Bulmer & J. Solomos (Eds) Researching Race and Racism. London: Routledge. Pp 119-133. (2004)
- Cloning Cultures: The Social Injustices of Sameness. Ethnic and Racial Studies. Vol. 25. No. 6. pp. 1066-1082. With David T. Goldberg (2002)
- Contradictory Positions, Ambivalent Perceptions: A Case Study of a Black Woman Entrepreneur. Feminism and Psychology. Vol 4, Nr 1. pp 99-118 (1994)
- Racisme en feminisme. (Racism and feminism). Socialisties Feministiese Teksten 7.9-40. (1982). Selected in 2011 as one of the most influential texts of the Dutch Feminist Movement in the period of the second half of the 20th Century. www.fragen.nu
Selected by the FRAGEN project, coordinated by Aletta, [Institute for Women’s History, [Today called: Atria] Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The project brings together European women’s libraries and scholars from all over Europe to work together. The aims are to collect and digitize the most important texts from the European feminist movements of the second part of the 20th Century.