The “human” is a historically constructed category with political and social agency, and in Western science and culture sets up a hierarchical distinction from other animals and forms of life. In this process of differentiation, animality has been racialized, and used as a means of limiting freedom and protections to members of humankind that threaten a fantasy of white superiority. How do these hierarchies and distinctions persist in the shaping of policy and social relations? How might thinking across species reveal new opportunities for liberation work across different forms of oppression wrought by racism, sexism, imperialism, and capitalism? And, thinking beyond the animal, how might we turn to other forms of interspecies connections and multi-species agencies to recalibrate the meaning of the human for survival on our damaged planet?
Participating in this roundtable are Dr. Colin Dayan (Professor of English; Vanderbilt University), Radhika Govindrajan (Associate Professor; Anthropology, University of Washington), Phillip Thurtle (Professor; Comparative History of Ideas, University of Washington) and Joanne Woiak (Lecturer: Disability Studies, University of Washington).
The Bugs & Beasts Before the Law Colloquium imagines and explores possibilities for survival and liberation for those whose protections are limited or whose personhood is compromised, oppressed, or threatened within sociolegal systems. Leveraging the power of art to reframe what is familiar by engaging multiple disciplinary perspectives, University of Washington faculty and graduate students, as well as invited guest scholars and artists, will interrogate how the question of which bodies have equal protections and rights under the law continues to be contested, but has the possibility to be reimagined through the creative tools.
This discussion will feature real-time captioning.