Unique lecture at VUB: Identity at the root of worldwide conflicts

Unique lecture at VUB: Identity at the root of worldwide conflicts

World-renowned philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah opens Ties that Bind Us lecture series

On Monday 24 June, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) hosted the world-renowned philosopher Professor Kwame Anthony Appiah. He gave a unique lecture titled Speaking of Identity, based on his book Lies that Bind: Rethinking Identity.

Professor Kwame Anthony Appiah is an internationally renowned philosopher. Throughout his career, he has refuted “Western” notions of difference and moral superiority, with a concept in which he views culture as non-exclusive and a participatory and convivial process. In 2018, he published Lies that Bind: Rethinking Identity, which explores how identities – nationality, class, culture, race, religion, gender and sexuality – lie at the root of global conflict and are in turn fostered by conflict.

He weaves philosophical arguments with historical narratives and reveals the tangled contradictions within the stories that appear to define human beings. Moreover, he studies the modern origins of deep-rooted conceptualisations of race, points out the flaws inherent in the notion of a sovereign nation and debunks the very idea of “Western culture”. The book served as the basis for his lecture.

Speaking of Identity is the first in a series of events organised by the VUB, under the banner Ties that Bind Us. The series addresses the need to advocate for an open society that is equipped to accommodate diversity in a changing world. Its objective is to create a platform for a wide range of perspectives, life experiences and knowledge cultures on forms of kinship, solidarity and conviviality, to counter increasingly widespread and dangerously reductive binary thinking.

Ties that Bind Us features speakers and formats that engage with or reflect the complexity and diversity of life experiences, both past and present, in their works or art, literature and criticism.


Prof. Dr. Eva Ulrike Pirker
​+32 (0) 2 629 24 30



Sam Jaspers
Sam Jaspers Woordvoerder a.i., perscontact wetenschap & onderzoek


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