Rethinking Political Thinkers workshop

5-6 September 2022, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

A two-day workshop on rethinking political thought, to celebrate the imminent publication of a new textbook on political thinkers.

The traditional canon of political thought, from Plato to Rawls, is dominated by white, European and American men. Yet, in recent years, efforts to feminise and decolonise political thought have gained increasing prominence. This two-day workshop aims to reflect on the reasons why and the ways in which political thought might be rethought – to challenge and expand the canon and to place all political thinkers in the contexts of patriarchy, white supremacy, and imperialism.

The workshop will involve talks by contributors to a new textbook edited by Manjeet Ramgotra (SOAS, University of London) and Simon Choat (Kingston University), to be published early in 2023. Each contributor will introduce their specific thinker and reflect on the themes of the workshop. Amongst the questions to be discussed will be:

  • Why and how can we decolonise political thought?
  • What are the differences and connections between decolonised political thought and comparative political thought?
  • In what ways have the theories of specific thinkers reflected, defended, or challenged relations and structures of race, gender, and class?
  • Should the study of political thought be organised around a canon of thinkers?
  • In what ways does the recognition and inclusion of thinkers of colour and women and indigenous thinkers challenge conventional conceptualisations of politics?
  • Are particular approaches to the study of the history of political thought more suited than others to challenging the traditional canon?

Confirmed speakers:

  • Simon Choat (Kingston University, UK)
  • Alan Coffee (King's College London, UK)
  • Nikita Dhawani (Technical University Dresden, Germany)
  • Ashley Dodsworth (University of Bristol, UK)
  • Kiara Gilbert (London School of Economics, UK)
  • Signy Gutnick-Allen (University of Zurich, Switzerland)
  • Kei Hiruta (Aarhus University, Denmark)
  • Joy James (Williams College, USA)
  • Hagar Kotef (SOAS, University of London, UK)
  • Patrizia Longo (Saint Mary’s College of California, USA)
  • Maeve McKeown (University of Groningen, Netherlands)
  • Vicky Margree (University of Brighton, UK)
  • Esme Murdock (San Diego State University, USA)
  • Viren Murthy (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA)
  • Ayesha Omar (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa)
  • Manjeet Ramgotra (SOAS, University of London, UK)
  • Stella Sandford (Kingston University, UK)
  • Varun Uberoi (Brunel University London, UK)
  • Clare Woodford (University of Brighton, UK)

The conference will be hybrid, with limited spaces in person at SOAS and further spaces available online. Contact for further details and to register your interest.

Supported by:

  • Independent Social Research Foundation
  • Centre for Comparative Political Thought, SOAS, University of London
  • Political Studies Association Political Thought Specialist Group
SOAS, University of London
Russell Square
WC1H 0XG London