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2015 Hokenstad International Lecturer

Sewpaul picVishanthie Sewpaul, PhD
School of Applied Human Sciences (SW)
University of KwaZulu Natal Durban 4041,
South Africa President: Association of Schools of SW in Africa
Vice-President: IASSW  


Challenges to the West and the Rest Value Dichotomies: Culture, Human Rights and Social Work

In this presentation Dr. Sewpaul will address the inextricable relationship between development, democracy, culture and human rights, using the lens of intersectionality. Through colonialism and continued forms of imperialism, the west has an indelible footprint on the rest, with an undermining of the intellectuality and self-confidence of colonized peoples, and the destruction of local traditions and cultures. Perhaps as a reactionary measure, African and Asian traditions are upheld as the core of authentic indigenous cultures, an emancipatory alternative to a hegemonic Western culture. Dr. Sewpaul challenges the idealization of, and the essentializing and normalization dynamics and discourses around, what are deemed to be monolithic western, Asian and African cultures, and she will discuss the implications of these for social work’s simultaneous, and seemingly uncontested commitment to respecting cultural diversity, doing no harm and promoting human rights.