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Monday 17 August 2020

Isabel Wilkerson and Fatima Bhutto on the Hidden Power of Caste

Politics &

‘The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power – which groups have it and which do not.’ – Isabel Wilkerson

Race, class, gender. These are the categories that are commonly thought to define our lives. But Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson argues that ultimately the determining factor in societies is a more powerful, unspoken system of divisions: caste. On August 17 Wilkerson comes to Intelligence Squared to talk about this hidden phenomenon, which she sets out in her acclaimed new book, Caste: The Lies That Divide Us. Linking America, India and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson will reveal how our world has been shaped by caste – and how its rigid, arbitrary hierarchies still divide us today.

Wilkerson will set out the eight pillars which she believes connect caste systems across civilizations, and show how our own era of intensifying conflict and upheaval is a consequence of caste. She will demonstrate its surprising impact on health, and explore its effects on culture and politics.

Wilkerson will be joined in conversation by novelist and political commentator Fatima Bhutto, and together they will explore how our societies can move beyond their artificial divisions towards a freer and fairer world.

Praise for Caste:

‘It is the definitive, end all, be all, say all, about what’s happening right now.’ – Oprah Winfrey

‘A transformative new framework through which to understand identity and injustice.’ – TIME

Event Name

Isabel Wilkerson and Fatima Bhutto on the Hidden Power of Caste

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  • Isabel Wilkerson

    Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and bestselling author

  • Fatima Bhutto

    Author and journalist

  • Yassmin Abdel-Magied

    Writer and broadcaster


Speakers are subject to change.

  • Online event
  • Monday 17 August 2020
  • 6pm to 7pm BST



Isabel Wilkerson

Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and bestselling author

American journalist and author whose 2010 book, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration, won the US National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and a place on The New York Times’s list of the Best Nonfiction of All Time. In 1994, while Chicago bureau chief of The New York Times, she became the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for journalism. Her writing has garnered praise from Toni Morrison, Gay Talese and Jill Lepore, and comparisons to writers like John Steinbeck and Zora Neale Hurston. She has taught at Princeton, Emory, and Boston Universities and has lectured at more than two hundred other colleges and universities across the United States and in Europe and Asia.

Fatima Bhutto

Author and journalist

Author and journalist, who was born in Kabul and grew up between Syria and Pakistan. She is the author of six books of fiction and nonfiction. Her debut novel, The Shadow of the Crescent Moon, was longlisted for the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction and the memoir about her father's life and assassination, Songs of Blood and Sword, was published to acclaim. Her most recent novel, The Runaways, was long listed for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. New Kings of the World, a non-fiction look at global pop culture, is her most recent book.

Yassmin Abdel-Magied

Writer and broadcaster

Yassmin is a broadcaster, writer and social advocate. She is author of You Must Be Layla and the critically acclaimed essays It's Not About The Burqa and The New Daughters of Africa.


Speakers are subject to change.