At a time when the world, and the country, can seem more divided than ever, it’s important not to lose the idea, and ideal, of solidarity. The title of the BSA’s Annual Conference this year – Identity, Community and Social Solidarity – reflects this: how do we explore what can be shared across different groups? How do we question the individualisation, privatisation and commodification of social life?
Our three distinguished speakers also reflect this theme. Kimberlé Crenshaw is a Professor of Law at UCLA and Columbia Law School, and a leading authority on civil rights, Black feminist legal theory, and race, racism and the law. Her work on intersectionality is groundbreaking and global in its effect: it was influential in the drafting of the equality clause in the South African constitution. Professor Crenshaw spearheaded the ‘Why we can’t wait campaign and co-authored Black girls matter: pushed out, overpoliced and underprotected’, and ‘Say her name: resisting police brutality against Black women’.
Her conference address will be on the theme of ‘From shattered ceilings to a broken democracy: the post-racial condition of Trump’s America’. In it she will look at the political culture that led to Trump’s election, countering the idea that most marginalized in society should be held responsible for this.
Our second speaker is Omar Khan, the Director of Runnymede, and a Governor at the University of East London. His research reports include Financial Inclusion and Ethnicity; Caring and Earning Among Low-income Caribbean, Pakistani and Somali People; and The Costs of ‘Returning’ Home. He has also published many articles and reports on political theory and British political history for Runnymede. He has spoken on topics including multiculturalism, integration, socio-economic disadvantage, and positive action to the United Nations in Geneva, the European Parliament in Strasbourg, and on Capitol Hill in Washington DC.
His address will be on ‘Analysing and responding to race inequality: why sociological theory matters for civil society action,’ in which he outlines the need to challenge the claim that we have overcome racism that has been made by the popular press and political leaders.
Our last speaker is Gregor McLennan, Professor of Sociology at the University of Bristol, where he has also been Head of the School of Politics and Sociology and Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies. His books include Pluralism (1995) and Story of Sociology (2011). Over the past decade, he has been engaged with the challenges to sociology posed by postcolonial and post-secular thought, and his selection and framing of Stuart Hall’s writings on The Question of Marxism and Post-Marxism is soon to be published by Duke UP.
Professor McLennan will talk on ‘Postsecularism?’ at the conference, in which he will consider some definitions, map out some options, and develop some critical observations.
The speakers are experts in their field and we look forward to hearing their views on solidarity and community, and we look forward to seeing you all there.