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Blackness & the Animal Question

DATE & TIME: 3:00pm - 4:00pm EDT March 16
LOCATION: Zoom

Drawing on recent debates about black lives and animal welfare both coincidentally on the rise in America, Prof. Bénédicte Boisseron investigates the relationship between race and the animal in the history and culture of the Americas and the black Atlantic. This conversation is part of the fast-growing interest in human-animal relationships, an academic trend recently referred to as ‘the animal turn’ following after the more well-known ‘postcolonial turn.’

Bénédicte Boisseron is Professor of Afroamerican & African Studies, specializing in the fields of black diaspora studies, francophone studies, and animal studies.

She received an M.A. in English from Université Denis Diderot (Paris, France) and a Ph.D. in French and Francophone Studies from the University of Michigan. She is the author of Creole Renegades: Rhetoric of Betrayal and Guilt in the Caribbean Diaspora (UP of Florida, 2014), 2015 winner of the Nicolás Guillén Outstanding Book Award from the Caribbean Philosophical Association and recipient of an Honorable Mention from the Caribbean Studies Association for the Barbara Christian Prize for Best Book in the Humanities. Creole Renegades investigates the exilic literature of Caribbean-born and Caribbean-descent writers who, from their new location in Northern America, question their cultural obligation of Caribbeanness, Creoleness, and even Blackness. Her most recent book, Afro-Dog: Blackness and the Animal Question (Columbia University Press, 2018) draws on recent debates about black life and animal rights to investigate the relationship between race and the animal in the history and culture of the Americas and the black Atlantic.

She is the recipient of an Alexander Von Humboldt Research Fellowship (Berlin, Germany) and of an Animals & Society Institute and Animal Studies Program Research Fellowship (Wesleyan University, CT).