Celebrating the Anti-Racist Activism of Sir Michael Dummett
New College has launched a trio of initiatives commemorating the 10th anniversary of the death of former fellow Professor Sir Michael Dummett, delayed by one year due to the pandemic.
Michael is recognised as a philosopher of great stature but his efforts in the fight against racial injustice are often overlooked. These initiatives seek not only to give his impact in this area the attention it deserves, but to continue his and New College’s commitment to protecting and celebrating diversity.
The initiatives are:
- A new collection of visiting fellowships promoting diversity
- A new book that studies the anti-racist activism of both Sir Michael Dummett and his wife Ann
- A symposium celebrating the lives of Michael and Ann
More details on each of the three initiatives can be found below.
Dummett Visiting Fellowships
The College has created the Dummett Visiting Fellowships, designed to increase the diversity of backgrounds and areas of expertise available to students. They will serve for three years, giving talks, running workshops, and participating in the College's social and cultural activities.
Each of the Dummett Fellows is a successful individual from a group which is currently under-represented in their industry or in Oxford’s academic community.
The first four Dummett Fellows are:
- Prasanna Puwanarajah, actor and director
- Rageh Omaar, journalist and broadcaster
- Femi Fadugba, author
- Alison Cox, engineer
Prasanna Puwanarajah studied Medicine at New College and was an NHS Junior Doctor before moving into acting full-time. He is now a familiar face on stage and screen, having featured in television shows such as The Crown (Netflix), Doctor Foster (BBC), and Mum (BBC).
Rageh Omaar studied Modern History at New College and has established himself as a highly successful journalist, broadcaster, and writer. He was a BBC foreign correspondent for 15 years and currently presents on ITV News at Ten. He has also written two books – Revolution Day, about the invasion of Iraq, and Only half of me, on growing up as a British Muslim.
Femi Fadugba is an author whose debut novel, The Upper World, is currently being made into a Netflix feature starring Academy Award-winner Daniel Kaluuya. The story follows two teenagers from Peckham in their life-threatening race against the clock, exploring themes of love, violence and time travel. Femi has previously worked as a management consultant, solar financier, theoretical physicist, and science tutor.
Alison Cox, who studied Engineering Science here at New College, is the Executive Director for Engineering and Technical Services at Sir Robert McAlpine, London. The ratio of female engineers in the UK is one of the lowest in Europe and Alison herself almost gave up on her career in Engineering, fearing it was incompatible with having a young family.
Righteous Anger: the book
Righteous Anger: Celebrating the Anti-Racist Activism of Michael and Ann Dummett brings to life the anti-racist activism of former Fellow, Sir Michael Dummett, and his wife Ann a decade after their deaths.
Published by New College Library for the 10th anniversary of Michael’s death, Righteous Anger documents this lifelong commitment to racial justice and equality—a commitment that led him to record the Montgomery, Alabama busing crisis as a first-hand witness, play a key role in the founding of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), and get arrested for resisting the police break-up of a picket around an Oxford hairdressing salon that refused to serve non-white customers.
Along with a selection of archival and unpublished photographic material, the book includes some of Michael’s writings, new biographical sketches of Michael and Ann, the tributes of family and friends, and critical essays illuminating the historical background as well as some philosophical presuppositions of their work against racism.
To order your copy, please download an order form.
Righteous Anger: the symposium
The Righteous Anger Symposium celebrating the lives of Sir Michael and Ann Dummett will take place at 2pm on Monday 21st November 2022.
Professor Sir Michael Dummett died in December 2011, and his wife Ann on 7th February 2012. This event is focused on Michael, but also commemorates Ann, and their joint contribution to the struggle against injustice in the areas of race and immigration.
Michael Dummett is recognised as a philosopher of huge stature. But his role in British politics and social thinking is also critically important, if not enough remembered. Nor has it been much related to his academic life.
Prior to events in 2025, which will celebrate both his birth and his role as a philosopher, this Symposium seeks to explain and contextualise him as someone whose righteous anger against racism in our society found its way into many practical, and often courageous, actions - well beyond what normally would be expected of an Oxford academic.
Mr Miles Young, New College
Professor Robert Bernasconi, Penn State University
Mr Alfie Steer, Hertford College
Professor William Emmanuel Abraham
Professor Kwame Anthony Appiah, New York University
Professor John Haldane, University of St Andrews
Dr Kimberley Ann Harris, Marquette University
Dr Daniel Isaacson, Wolfson College
Dr Anat Matar, Tel Aviv University
Dr Ian Patel, London School of Economics
Dr Paolo Fait, New College