"Why is Oppression Wrong?" Serene Khader (CUNY)

Apr 18, 2024, 4:30 pm6:00 pm
Laura Wooten Hall, Room 301 (Kerstetter Room)
Open to Princeton University ID Holders and Other Academic Affiliates


Event Description


It is often claimed that oppression reduces freedom. But it does not follow from this that oppression is wrong because it reduces freedom. I argue that freedom dimunition is not what makes oppression wrong across cases, and that thinking that it does undercuts another desideratum of oppression theory: the need to acknowledge that oppression can be structural. Structures can oppress agents without diminishing their freedom, or by diminishing their freedom in ways whose harm can only be spelled out with reference to values besides freedom.


Serene J. Khader is Professor of Philosophy and Women’s and Gender Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and Jay Newman Chair in Philosophy of Culture at Brooklyn College. She is a moral and political philosopher and feminist theorist, and much of her work is about the normative implications of feminist politics, especially in global and transnational contexts. She is the author of Decolonizing Universalism: A Transnational Feminist Ethic (Oxford 2019) and Adaptive Preferences and Women’s Empowerment (Oxford 2011), as well as a number of articles. Her public-facing work has been published in venues such as The New York Times, and her first trade book entitled, Faux Feminism: Why We Fall for White Feminism and What We Can Do About It is forthcoming with Beacon Press this fall.

Department of Philosophy