Towards a humanist politics, with Kenan Malik | The Holyoake Lecture 2022
Is white privilege real? Was the British Empire a good? Does American history begin in 1619 or 1776? Has leftwing antisemitism grown, and if so why? How should we respond both to Islamist terror and to hostility towards Muslims? What explains a movement such as Black Lives Matter? Why do we talk so much now about the ‘white working class’?
These very different questions have all emerged from today’s heated debates around race, identity and culture. The ‘culture wars’ have generated ferocious argument, but little clarity. In this lecture, based on the themes of his upcoming book, Not So Black and White, Kenan Malik seeks that clarity by taking the long view, explaining the real origins of ‘race’ in Western thought, and tracing its path from those beginnings to today’s fractious world. In doing so, this lecture will upend many accepted views about ‘race’, identity, whiteness, and privilege.
Leading thinker Kenan Malik interweaves three narratives: the history of the idea of race, from the Enlightenment to the present; the historical and current relationship between race and class; and his account of how we created a world riven by identity politics. Through these histories, he challenges long-standing assumptions, revealing forgotten stories of a racialised working class, and questioning fashionable concepts like cultural appropriation. And he explains how the struggles to transcend the politics of race have both proved so difficult and are central to any attempt to build a humanist society.
Please note that registration closes on 15 November at 18:59.
About Kenan Malik
Kenan Malik is a writer, lecturer, broadcaster and Observer columnist. A former Moral Maze panellist, he has presented BBC Radio 3’s Nightwaves and Radio 4’s Analysis. His previous books include The Quest for a Moral Compass, and From Fatwa to Jihad, which was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize.
About the Holyoake Lecture series
The Holyoake Lecture explores an aspect of politics or contemporary social or political issue, especially as it relates to secularist and humanist issues, including liberalism, democracy, social justice, feminism, anti-racism, LGBT* rights, or equality.
Holyoake Lecturers who have spoken on their thoughts on moving Towards a Humanist Politics include Owen Jones, Douglas Murray, Baroness Joan Bakewell DBE, and Robert Peston.
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