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Social Sciences Seminar: The Paradoxes of "Diversity"


"Diversity" is among the most conspicuous moral slogans of our age. It is also a multi-billion dollar industry, propagated by thousands of professionals and para-professionals: consultants, NGO consciousness raisers, advertisers, job-finders, university academics, journal editors, conference organizers, affirmative action advocates, human rights lawyers and, not least, government and corporate managers, many with offices entirely devoted to diversity issues. It is a truism that diversity is good for society. But is the truism true? New evidence on environments of great ethnic diversity suggests otherwise. This seminar will discuss that evidence. It will also show that diversity, far from being an obvious concept, is a highly paradoxical one - and one that, in some circumstances, is dangerous for the communities that embrace it.

Speaker: Professor Peter Baehr

Professor Peter Baehr is the Chair Professor of Social Theory at Lingnan University and a Fellow of the Centre of Asia Pacific Studies. Before joining Lingnan University, Professor Baehr taught in Canada and Britain. Professor Baehr’s publications include books on Caesar and the fading of the Roman world; the nature of the sociological “classics”; Max Weber’s writings on the Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917; and the idea of fate. His latest work is a two-volume, single-authored study for Stanford University Press, entitled Hannah Arendt, Totalitarianism, and the Social Sciences: Critical Encounters.