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Jan Brouwer thesis prize awarded to Ruth Kleczewski

01 December 2020

We are very happy to announce that this year's Jan Brouwer thesis prize in the category Philosophy has been awarded to Ruth Kleczewski. The prize is awarded to the best master's theses in eight categories from the Humanities and Social Sciences by the Royal Holland Society for Sciences and Humanities (KHMW) each year. Ruth has graduated from our Research Master's programme in Philosophy this summer with distinction cum laude.

Ruth Kleczewski
Ruth Kleczewski

Understanding racism in the Netherlands

The winning thesis is entitled ‘Tolerant or Racist? Using Epistemology of Ignorance to make sense of Dutch Racism’ and was supervised by Dr Charlotte Knowles and Dr Silvia Mazzini. The thesis draws on North American scholarship on the Epistemology of Ignorance and Critical Race Studies and deploys it in a novel way in order to better understand Dutch racism. The thesis argues that in order to properly understand and ultimately tackle racism within the Netherlands, one cannot simply transplant American analyses into a European context. Instead one must attend to the particular social, historical and cultural context of the Netherlands, and specifically the idea of tolerance and its centrality within Dutch identity.

An important piece of scholarship

An excerpt from the nomination letter (by Charlotte Knowles):

The thesis is extremely well crafted, very readable, and demonstrates an aptitude for both analytic and applied philosophical thinking. In addition to its philosophical merits, the thesis displays a clear understanding of the historical background of colonialism and the way in which it informs the current social, political and cultural moment. It is an important piece of scholarship that is timely, socially and politically engaged, as well as philosophically astute.

Award ceremony

The award ceremony is planned for 11 February 2021 at KHMW’s headquarters in Hodshon House in Haarlem or in digital form depending on the corona measures in place at the time.


This article was published by the Faculty of Philosophy.

Last modified:03 December 2020 5.58 p.m.
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