Meena Dhanda arrived in the UK from Punjab, India in 1987 with an award of the Commonwealth Scholarship for her doctoral work in Philosophy at Balliol College, Oxford University. She was a Rhodes Junior Research Fellow at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, before taking up a full-time lecturing position at the University of Wolverhampton in 1992, progressing to a Readership (Associate Professorship) in 2010.
Meena is engaged in doing empirically informed social, moral and political philosophy. She is internationally recognised as a leading academic in the development of diaspora dalit studies. She does philosophy with a ‘practical intent’ both in her teaching and research, by exploring practical and theoretical aspects of identity and cultural politics in relation to gender, race, class and caste. Within philosophy she aims to facilitate the critical inclusion of unfairly neglected thinkers drawing upon diverse traditions of thought in her areas of interest. Her doctoral thesis at Oxford University was published as a book The Negotiation of Personal Identity. She has made a significant contribution to the debate on gender quotas in the Indian parliament through her edited book Reservations for Women. She was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship for a primary research project ‘Caste Aside: Dalit Punjabi Identity and Experience’ concluded in 2012 and resulting in a number of publications.
In 2013-14, as a Principal Investigator of UK Equality and Human Rights Commission project ‘Caste in Britain’, Meena led a consortium of academic experts from five leading universities, producing two substantial reports - internationally noted and widely discussed – on the proposed inclusion of a provision in the Equality Act 2010, to protect British citizens against caste discrimination.
She is regularly invited to deliver keynotes, guest lectures and seminar papers in the UK and abroad, and uses her extensive experience of interacting with a diverse audience to enrich her teaching. She is a valued member of professional organisations, an executive member of the Society for Women in Philosophy UK and has served as an elected council member of the British Association for South Asian Studies. In 2014-16, Meena was the Chair of the Black and Minority Ethnic Staff Network of the University of Wolverhampton. From 2016, she is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, U.K.
Meena is interested in guiding research in social, moral and political philosophy, cultural politics, feminism, philosophy of film, philosophy of religion, philosophy of law, theorists of anti-racism and anti-castism. She is equally at home in guiding research from a philosophical and/or a trans-disciplinary perspective.