Rethinking Political Thinkers

A book launch and conversation with Dr Manjeet Ramgotra & Dr Simon Choat, editors of Rethinking Political Thinkers.

18th May 2023 | Barnard’s Inn Hall, London

Political theory addresses the question of how we should live together. Yet the core concepts of political theory have conventionally come from a limited canon of texts written by white men. How might our political values, beliefs, behaviours, and institutions change if we regularly read and discussed a much wider range of texts, ones with ideas that diverge from those now most familiar in public life? 

This major new collection, Rethinking Political Thinkers (Oxford University Press), offers fascinating answers to this question. It presents the key ideas of writers such as Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, and Mill alongside those of marginalized women and thinkers of colour, such as Gandhi, hooks, Du Bois, Butler, Fanon, Firestone, Said, and Goldman. By placing the thinkers of the traditional canon in the contexts of patriarchy, white supremacy, imperialism, and capitalism, and putting them in conversation with neglected and unheard voices, the book presents political thought in new lights and demonstrates that it has always been developed in a variety of locations, forms, and styles. Manjeet Ramgotra and Simon Choat, editors of the volume, will discuss why they initiated this massive, complex project and what they learned in the process. They will be joined by colleagues to discuss how teaching less familiar authors might affect our understanding of where political thought is going and how we might help steer it in better directions.

Manjeet & Simon are joined by two panelists: Kevin Ochieng Okoth, London-based researcher and member of the Salvage Editorial Collective and author of the forthcoming Red Africa: Reclaiming Revolutionary Black Politics (Verso, 2023); and Ẹniọlá Ànúolúwapọ́ Ṣóyẹmí, Departmental Lecturer in Political Philosophy and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government and author of the forthcoming Law’s Moral Legitimacy: Historical Participation and the Quest for a General Jurisprudence (Bloomsbury).

This event is the twenty-fifth in the ISRF’s series of Book Launches.