Unifying Against Oppression: A Symposium on the Radical Republicanism of Dara Bascara (1983-2021)

August 23, 2021 - August 24, 2021

This event is online


Nottingham University
University of Roehampton

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What is oppression? How can we identify it? What is the relationship between oppression and domination? Can social and political philosophy contribute to overcoming it?

Dara Bascara’s unique approach to these questions integrates feminist, Marxist, and anti-imperialist perspectives on social power with a rigorously analytic methodology. Rethinking the concept of oppression through the lens of civic republican theories of domination, her doctoral thesis - Towards A Unified Theory of Oppression – makes compelling interventions within several urgent political and philosophical debates.

From a background in left-wing and anti-imperialist struggles in the Philippines, including as a student activist at the University of the Philippines Diliman in Manila, Dara (also known as Rachelle) studied at the University of California, Berkeley before completing postgraduate degrees in philosophy at UCL and Birkbeck, University of London. Wherever in the world she went, she was an active organiser with groups including the Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines, the Filipino Domestic Workers Association, and other migrant solidarity campaigns.

This symposium will bring together activist-scholars concerned with questions about power and freedom to critically engage with Dara’s work, drawing out her contributions to philosophy and politics. Themes to be discussed might include:

  • the epistemology of oppression, explored through concepts of ideology, paternalism, standpoint, and testimonial and hermeneutical injustice;

  • the self-emancipation of the oppressed and the responsibility to resist;

  • what radical republican conceptions of domination can contribute to our understanding of oppression;

  • how political philosophy should relate to real emancipatory struggles.

Together, we will begin the exciting task of bringing Dara’s distinctive ideas into the spaces where they need to be heard. 

The symposium will be held online, with two afternoons of sessions taking the form of short contributions followed by discussion.

Speakers include: Lorna Finlayson (Essex), Tom O’Shea (Roehampton), Koshka Duff (Nottingham), Orlando Lazar (Oxford), Noemi Magnani (Herfordshire), Emily Dyson (Oxford), Connor Woodman (Free West Papua Campaign), Laurencia Sáenz (Costa Rica).

Registration via Eventbrite is free but required. Attendees will be sent a Zoom link ahead of the symposium.

Hosted by the Centre for Social Philosophy at the University of Nottingham.


Monday 23rd August

1pm - 2.15pm BST (online)

Contributions from:

- Koshka Duff (University of Nottingham)

- Connor Woodman (Philippines Solidarity)

3pm - 4.15pm BST (online)

Contributions from:

- Tom O’Shea (University of Roehampton)

- Orlando Lazar (University of Oxford)

6pm BST onwards (in person)

- Social gathering at venue in Nottingham TBC - attendance optional, all welcome. Please RSVP - details below.

Tuesday 24th August

 1pm - 2.15pm BST (online)

Contributions from:

- Emily Dyson (University of Oxford)

- Lorna Finlayson (University of Essex)

3pm - 4.15pm BST (online)

Contributions from:

- Noemi Magnani (University of Hertfordshire)

- Laurencia Sáenz (University of Costa Rica)

4.30pm - 5pm BST (online)

- Open discussion about next steps


The symposium will take place on Zoom and a link will be emailed to everyone who signs up on Eventbrite. Sessions will begin with invited contributions from the listed speakers, followed by discussions in which everyone is welcome to participate.

We are excited to announce that, on the evening of the first day (Monday 23rd), there will be an (optional) IRL social gathering in Nottingham. A venue will be selected nearer the time depending on numbers, covid-preferences and other accessibility needs of attendees, and weather forecast. A pub garden is most likely. All symposium participants are warmly invited to attend, although we understand a lot of people will not be able to make it to Nottingham at this time. 

Some limited funds are available to help with travel costs and overnight accommodation for participants outside Nottingham keen to attend in person, particularly those who lack institutional support. Please include a note in your RSVP if assistance with costs would make this event more accessible for you and we will do what we can to help.

Please RSVP by emailing [email protected] if you’d like to attend the IRL social, including any accessibility needs.

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August 24, 2021, 5:00pm BST

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Nottingham University
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