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A Violent History of Benevolence: Interlocking Oppression in the Moral Economies of Social Working By Chris Chapman and A.J. Withers

A Violent History of Benevolence: Dr. Chris Chapman on Social Work History

October 24, 2023 — 

As part of the Baird Poskanzer Memorial Lecture Series, the Faculty of Social Work welcomes Dr. Chris Chapman, associate professor, York University to speak on the history of the social work profession and their book “A Violent History of Benevolence: Interlocking Oppression in the Moral Economies of Social Working”.

A Violent History of Benevolence traces how normative histories of liberalism, progress, and social work enact and obscure systemic violences. The book aims to invite contemporary social workers and others to reflect on the complex nature of contemporary social work, and specifically on the present-day structural violences that social work enacts in the name of benevolence.

Dr. Chris Chapman, York University

Dr. Chris Chapman, York University

Dr. Chapman will talk about their book and explore how normative social work history is structured in such a way that contemporary social workers can know many details about social work’s violences, without ever imagining that they may also be complicit in these violences. They will discuss concepts from their book and how the framings of social work history actively create present-day political and ethical irresponsibility, even among those who imagine themselves to be anti-oppressive, liberal, or radical. 

Dr. Chapman’s research explores ways that everyday interpersonal encounters and ethical navigations relate to interlocking forms of oppression, in both the past and present, including within social work and the helping professions. 

The Baird Poskanzer free lecture with Dr. Chapman is open to the public.

Event details:

Date: November 6, 2023
Time: 12:00 Noon to 1:30 PM
Location: In-person: 2nd Floor – Millennium Library, Carol Shields Auditorium, 251 Donald Street
Live Stream and recording will be available here:

Click to register for event

For more information, please contact Berea at

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