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Opinion | ‘We need to change our approach to race and intersectional discrimination’

Een gastredacteur,
15 juni 2020 - 10:58

The Department of Political Science at the UvA aspires to be a leading voice in the promotion of diversity in the Dutch higher education sector. But it is not doing enough, state 80 concerned members of the Department. ‘Our failure is evident in the ideas we have promoted and the community we have built.’

As members of the Department of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam, we express our support for, and solidarity with, global protests against racially unjust policing and racial injustice in all its forms. This protest movement began in the US, but does not refer to a uniquely US problem. Racial injustice and inequality - intersecting with religion, gender, sexuality and class - generate unjust forms of discrimination in every society on earth.  


Our institution has an important role to play in combatting this discrimination and injustice. More than that, we aspire to be a leading voice in the Netherlands higher education sector, in the promotion of diversity, equality and justice.


We acknowledge that we have yet to live up to this important responsibility. Our failure is evident in the ideas we have promoted and the community we have built. More specifically: we have not adequately focussed on issues of race and its intersectionalities in our research; we have not done enough to provide our students with the knowledge to understand and respond to issues of race and its intersectionalities in our teaching; we have failed to adequately attract and retain persons of colour in our student body, failed to recruit and promote staff of colour and failed to adequately understand how race and other forms of difference intersect to affect our student and staff working life and performance. It is not enough to shake our heads at one police officer in Minneapolis or one President in North America. 


We recognize that we are not doing enough. 

‘Our shortcomings require ongoing measures designed to combat structural and institutional inequalities and prejudice’

These shortcomings cannot be addressed by the adoption of policies and measures that promote non-discrimination and tolerance alone. They stem from structural problems in our education sector, our academic discipline and the community as a whole. They also stem from a non-transparent, informal and hierarchical decision-making structure at our university that perpetuates racial and other inequalities. As such, these shortcomings require ongoing measures designed to combat structural and institutional inequalities and prejudice. With these points in mind, we call on colleagues in our Department to commit to the following goals:


1.     To give added attention to racial inequality, injustice and intersectional forms of discrimination and inequality in our teaching and research; and

2.     To recruit, retain and promote a more racially diverse student and staff body, and seek to eliminate the negative impacts of race and other intersecting forms of difference on their experiences and careers at the UvA;   


There are many concrete measures that our Department may use to achieve these two goals. The ‘Let’s Do Diversity’ report commissioned by the University and prepared by Prof. Wekker et al, the Faculty Diversity Working Group and the Department of Political Science diversity meetings have each been vital in conceptualising and promoting concrete measures on the topics of race and intersectional discrimination. Drawing on these and other resources, we believe that the Department should consider to: 


  • allocate resources in the form of teaching hours for the purpose of curriculum reform;
  • allocate teaching administration resources to expand and improve its minority student recruitment and support measures;
  • allocate resources to support research on race and intersectionality;
  • allocate teaching or programme group resources to support mentoring of minority students and staff;
  • reform hiring practices to require department-wide committees for all positions, including for the consideration of ‘embedding’ guarantees, and temporary and tenure-track staff;
  • collect data on the diversity of its student and staff (academic and support) body;
  • actively study and seek to address racial and intersectional forms of hierarchy in the department, paying specific attention to the following disparities: Professorial/Non-Professorial Academics; Research/Teaching; Academic/Administration&Support; and
  • advocate for changes in the allocation of major research resources (RPAs, Grant Funding etc) at the Faculty, University and National level.  


The precise package of changes that our Department adopts can be a matter of debate. What can no longer be debated is that we need to change our approach to race and intersectional discrimination now. The signatories to this statement are actively working to achieve these concrete changes in our Departmental policy. We are calling upon our colleagues, students and the wider university community to support us in our goal of making the Political Science Department at the UvA a leading voice on these issues, from today. 

Colleagues of the Domain of Social Sciences and of other universities stand together with the staff of the Political Science Department. Like our Political Science colleagues, we stand in solidarity with the global protests against racial injustice and we recognise that we have not done enough work towards racial justice in our research, our teaching, and the hiring and retention of colleagues of color. We acknowledge that it is our collective responsibility to combat racial injustice in our own departments and across the Faculty as a whole. 


Signatories (in order of signing – as of 14 June 2020)


Political sciences

Darshan Vigneswaran

Abbey Steele

Polly Pallister-Wilkins

Beste İşleyen

Saskia Bonjour

Farid Boussaid

Tasniem Anwar

Conny Roggeband

Jana Krause

Lucy Hall

Javier Garcia-Bernardo

Anne Louise Schotel

Mehdi Parvizi Amineh

Evelyn Ersanilli

Jeroen Doomernik

Natalie Welfens

Barbara Koole

Judith de Jong

Ugur Aytac

Serena Cruz

Joost Berkhout

Dawid Walentek

Gijsbert van Iterson Scholten

Marieke de Goede

Ellis Aizenberg

Isabella Rebasso

Liza Mügge

Daniel Mügge

Rocco Bellanova

Sander Mensink

Carola Westermeier

Hannah Werner

Afsoun Afsahi

Linet Durmuşoğlu

Anja van Heelsum

Astrid Bodini

Sonja Evaldsson Mellstrom

Theresa Leimpek

Dimitris Bouris

Franca van Hooren

Johan Oolsthorn

(Ana) Miškovska Kajevska

Ursula Daxecker

Theresa Kuhn

Diliara Valeeva

Nel Vandekerckhove

Julian Gruin

Imke Harbers

Norah Schulten

Sanne van Oosten

Hayley Kelsall

Eric Schliesser

Martijn Dekker

Eline Westra

Anne Kervers

Grace Coert

Mira Burmeister-Rudolph

Anneroos Planqué-van Hardeveld

Gabriel Ramirez Acevedo

Matthijs Rooduijn

Kristin Cain

Gordon Arlen

Eeefje Steenvoorden

Ebe Ouattara

Philip Schleifer

Milan Babic

Armèn Hakhverdian

Geert Lutejin

Anna Salden

Daan Tillie

Jonas Fitzler

Floris de Krijger

Aldert van Dam

Tess Czerski

Sarah Poss

Marieke Bakker

Nicky Westerkamp

Dagmar Punter

Pepijn Maas



Julie McBrien

Barak Kalir

Tina Harris

Hayley Murray

Noëlle Steneker 

Peter Miller

Cristóbal Bonelli

Annerienke Fioole

Shanshan Lan

Else Vogel

Janus Oomen

Anne de Jong

Gezina Oorthuys

David Feenstra

Janine Häbel

Ward Berenschot

Cecilia Vergnano

Joop de Jong

Sasha N. Kruger

Muriël Kiesel

Francio Guadeloupe

Kristine Krause

Erella Grassiani

Rahil Roodsaz

Anja Hiddinga

Rachel Spronk

Raviv Litman

Vincent de Rooij

Shanshan Lan

Apostolos Andrikopoulos

Willy Sier

Jordi Halfman

Niko Besnier

Luisa Steur

Milena Veenis

Eileen Moyer

Bregje de Kok

David E Bukusi

Tusajigwe Erio

Chia-Shuo Tang

Lucy W. Mung'ala 

Katlego Disemelo

Emily Yates-Doerr

Carolyne Egesa


Human Geography, Planning and International Development

Nanke Verloo

Mieke Lopes Cardozo

Federico Savini

Luca Bertolini

Rivke Jaffe

Hebe Verrest

Dennis Arnold

Jolien Groot

Carolina Frossard

Daniel Sloman

Debra Soloman

Daan Bossuyt

Ricardo Fuentealba

Virginie Mamadouh

Yves van Leynseele

Justus Uitermark

Anouk Kootstra

Wouter van Gent

Sofie te Wierik

Cody Hochstenbach

Kim van Winsen

Iris van Urk

Esther Miedema

Maryam Babur



Sarah Bracke

Pamela Prickett

Marci Cottingham

Tania Huijben

Margriet van Heesch

Bram Lancee

Evelien Geerts

Marguerite van den Berg

Stephanie Steinmetz

Anna Esther Younes

Patrick Brown

Andrea Forster

Afra Foli

Milio van de Kamp

Robby Davidson

Anastasiya Halauniova

Fenna Smits

Ceylin Idel

Dragana Stojmenovska

Anna Wallis

Bo Paulle

Kobe de Keere

Sherria Ayuandini

Luis Hernández Aguilar

Phie van Rompu

Dolly Loomans

Simona Vezzoli

Marte Kuijpers

Suzanne de Leeuw

Gerben Moerman

Jan Willem Duyvendak

Myra Bosman

Hein de Haas

Yannis Tsaninis

Marie-Louise Janssen

Josien Aerts

Michiel Stapper

Christian Broër

Berfin Yurdakul

Christophe Janietz

Sherilyn Deen

Janna Besamusca

Stefano Giani

Berna Toprak

Lou Mousset

Laila Wiersma

Floris Mosselman

Minke Hajer

Katharina Stuckradt

Olga Sezneva

Sara Geven

Thijs Bol

Paula Thijs

Anne-Marie van Huls


Institute of Political Science (Leiden University) - In alphabetical order
Amanda Aronsson
Ariane Berends 
Ingrid van Biezen 
Simon Chauchard 
Juliana Chueri 
Matt DiGiuseppe 
Thijs van Dooremalen 
Adeel Hussain 
Corinna Jentzsch 
Kevin Köhler 
Hilde van Meegdenburg 
Martijn Mos 
Katharina Natter 
Simon Otjes 
Francesco Ragazzi 
Alexander Schilin 
Jonah Schulhofer-Wohl 
Tom Theuns 
Vassiliki Tsagkroni 
Claire Vergerio
Josh Walmsley 
Carina van de Wetering