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Zakiyyah Iman Jackson: On Race, Species and Becoming Human

To highlight the International Day Against Racism, Zakiyyah Iman Jackson takes the floor to share her innovative thinking on the intricate relations between race, species and the idea of ‘the human’. In her thought-provoking book Becoming Human: Matter and Meaning in an Antiblack World, she scrutinizes key African American, African and Caribbean cultural texts. She argues they generate conceptions of ‘being’ that disrupt the human-animal distinction that persistently reproduces the racial logics and orders of Western thought. Unlike most black studies scholars, Jackson questions the emancipatory promise of ‘humanization’. Instead, she turns to texts by leading scholars and writers like Sylvia Wynter, Audre Lorde, Octavia Butler and others. She uses their work to drive a new understanding of being that neither relies on animal abjection to define the human, nor reestablishes the need to be recognized as ‘proper human’ within liberal humanism as an antidote to racialization.

20:00: Introduction by Tundé Adefioye
20:10: Zakiyyah Iman Jackson (USC): ‘Architectures of the Flesh’
20:40: Q&A with the Zoom-audience, facilitated by Tundé Adefioye
21:10: Closing words by Tundé Adefioye

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