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events programme


Café Culture
For discussion and debate café style

All of the events for the Autumn Series are using a digital platform and are all free to watch.

7 September 2021café politique

Martin Luther King and the Emotions of Nonviolence

Meena Krishnamurthy in conversation with Chiara Ricciardone

There is perhaps no piece by Martin Luther King, Jr. that is more widely read or more beloved than the “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Countless articles and books have been written about its generation and meaning. Despite this, its broader philosophical significance has for the large part been missed. While the “Letter” has exerted particular influence over philosophical debates over the justification of civil disobedience, it has scarcely been considered outside of this context. Political philosophers and theorists have not yet managed to fully appreciate and elucidate all that is going on in the “Letter” and to recognize its full import for political philosophy. In this conversation with Chiara Ricciardone, political philosopher Meena Krishnamurthy will argue that King’s “Letter” is not merely a discussion of civil disobedience but is also – and perhaps even primarily – an essay on political motivation that appeals to the political emotions, both positive and negative. Indignation, distrust, and fear, as well as love, courage, and faith have an important role to play in his theory of nonviolence. 

Meena Krishnamurthy is a political philosopher who works on race, democracy, and social movements. She is currently writing a book (The Emotions of Nonviolence) and a series of related papers on Martin Luther King Jr.’s political philosophy. Krishnamurthy is also writing on Indian political thinkers such as B.R. Ambedkar who are concerned with the nature of caste and casteism. She is especially interested in how thinking about caste can inform our thinking about race and racism in the United States. meenakrishnamurthy.net / twitter.com/mkrishnamurthyX 

Chiara Ricciardone is a writer and a philosopher. She is commissioning editor for The Philosopher and is currently working on a memoir of the pandemic in epistolary form (co-written with Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan). chiararicciardone.net / twitter.com/becomingchiara 

Time: 7pm to 8pm (UK time)
Event registration link:


5 October 2021café scientifique

Water: A Biography

Giulio Boccaletti with Bianca Shead

Humanity’s relationship to moving water has shaped civilization, transformed political institutions, and defined people’s lives. In this conversation with Bianca Shead, renowned geophysical scientist and policy maker Giulio Boccaletti will explore the environmental and social history of water, from the earliest civilizations of sedentary farmers on the banks of the Nile, the Tigris, and the Euphrates Rivers to how the modern world as we know it began with a legal framework for the development of water infrastructure. Throughout history, humans have tried to conquer water, but water always wins; and it would be better for humanity if we realised it.   

Giulio Boccaletti is a globally recognized expert on natural resource security and environmental sustainability. He is an honorary research associate at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford. His new book Water: A Biography is published in September by Pantheon Books. giulioboccaletti.com / twitter.com/G_Boccaletti 

Bianca Shead is Director of Global Strategic Communications for the Nature Conservancy, one of the world’s largest environmental organizations. twitter.com/bee_anchor 

Time: 7pm to 8pm UK / 2pm to 3pm EST
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2 November 2021café politique

What’s Wrong with Work?

Amelia Horgan in conversation with Jana Bacevic

“Work hard, get paid.” It’s simple, even self-evident. But it’s also a lie – at least for most of us. For people today, the old assumptions are crumbling; hard work in school no longer guarantees a secure, well-paying job in the future. Far from a gateway to riches and fulfilment, “work” means precarity, anxiety, and alienation. In this conversation with Jana Bacevic, philosopher Amelia Horgan will pose three big questions: What is work? How does it harm us? And what can we do about it? While abolishing work altogether is not the answer, Horgan will show that when we are able to take control of our workplaces, we become less miserable, and can work towards the transformative goal of experimenting with “work” as we know it.  

Amelia Horgan is Assistant Lecturer in the School of Philosophy and Art History at the University of Essex. Her research interests include political philosophy, feminism, Marxism, and critical theory. He first book Lost in Work: Escaping Capitalism was published this year by Pluto Press. twitter.com/ameliahorgan 

Jana Bacevic is assistant professor at Durham University, UK, and member of the editorial board of The Philosopher. Her work is in social theory, philosophy of science, and political economy of knowledge production, with particular emphasis on the relationship between epistemological, moral, and political elements. janabacevic.net / twitter.com/jana_bacevic

Time: 7pm to 8pm UK / 2pm to 3pm EST
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7 December 2021café philosophique

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Post-Racialism

Paul C. Taylor in conversation with Adam Ferner

In this conversation with Adam Ferner, distinguished philosopher Paul C. Taylor will consider some of the key questions in philosophy of race: What is race-thinking? Don’t we know better than to talk about race now? Are there any races? What is it like to have a racial identity? And how important, ethically, is colour blindness? On the way to answering these questions, he will take up topics such as mixed-race identity, white supremacy, and the relationship between the race concept and other social identity categories. Finally, Taylor will explore the racially fraught issues of policing, immigration, and global justice, and the implications of the political upheavals of the past decade, from the election of Donald Trump to the global upsurge in anti-immigrant populism. 

Paul C. Taylor is W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy Chair of the Philosophy Department at Vanderbilt University. His research interests include race theory, aesthetics, pragmatism, social and political philosophy, and Africana philosophy. His books include Black Is Beautiful: A Philosophy of Black Aesthetics (2016) and Race: A Philosophical Introduction, of which the third edition will be published in December by Polity.   

Adam Ferner is a freelance writer, editor and educator, whose books include: Organisms and Personal Identity (2015), Think Differently (2016), Philosophy: Crash Course (with Zara Bain and Nadia Mehdi, 2018), How to Disagree (with Darren Chetty, 2018), and The Philosophers’ Library (with Chris Meyns, forthcoming). adamferner.com

Time: 7pm to 8pm UK / 2pm to 3pm EST
Event registration link: