Philomena Essed is professor of Critical Race, Gender and Leadership Studies at Antioch University’s Graduate School of Leadership and Change and Affiliated Researcher at the University of Utrecht’s, Gender Graduate Program. She holds a PhD from the University of Amsterdam (cum laude, 1990) and Honorary Doctorate degrees from the University of Pretoria (2011) and Umeå University (2015) . In 2011 The Queen of the Netherlands honored her with a Knighthood.
Well known for introducing the concepts of everyday racism and gendered racism, she also pioneered in developing theory on social and cultural cloning. The now classical 1984 book (in Dutch) Alledaags Racisme (English version, Everyday Racism, 1990) has been republished in 2018 with additional chapters. Other books include Understanding Everyday Racism; Diversity: Gender, Color and Culture and the 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: Dehumanisation, Belogning and the Normativity of European Whiteness (2018) . Her current focus is on dignity and ethics of care as experience and practice in leading change.
Essed has a life long commitment to social justice. 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. 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) and 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 addressed among others 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).
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