Interview: Zakiyyah Iman Jackson on Becoming Human — Epistemic Unruliness 30

In this episode, Emily is delighted to talk with Dr. Zakiyyah Iman Jackson about her new book Becoming Human: Matter and Meaning in an Antiblack World. Turning to African diasporic literature, Jackson theorizes the relationship between blackness and animality, bringing black critical theory and posthumanism to bear on one another. Our conversation traces Jackson’s intellectual journey to the book project and to the question of animality more broadly, examines the methodological approaches of the book and the possibilities and poetics of language, and unpacks the project’s political stakes. On the way, we discuss plasticity, Jackson’s ontology, the importance of cultural production for theorizing the human, the relationship between science/positivism and colonialism, and more.

Requests for texts for us to discuss? Dreams for us to interpret? Advice questions for us to answer? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Follow us on Twitter. Like our Facebook page. RSS feed here. Thanks to Bad Infinity for the intro music, “Post Digital,” from their album FutureCommonsalways already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.

 

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Ep. 56 – Donna Haraway, When Species Meet

In this episode Emily, James, and John discuss Donna Haraway‘s When Species Meet (2008), a personal and at times intimate figuring/figuration of human-companion species relations. We plot this work within Haraway’s journey from her essay “A Manifesto for Cyborgs” (1985) to her recent book Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene (2016), as well as think through its placement within the academic discourses of posthumanism and critical animal studies. Following Haraway’s playful writing style, we eventually arrive upon the terms companion species and ethics of flourishing and we flesh out how Haraway reconfigures these points of reference and in so doing reconfigures the “Great Divide” that separates the ontology of human-animal encounters. How can one capacious reading of Haraway lend itself to banter about prison dogs, Catholicism, homo ludens and epistemologies of play, demons, etymology, Marxist value theories, and (perhaps most-irreverently), Derrida’s doubly naked body, materially nude and existentially undressed by the lingering gaze of his cat? Moreover, how does all of the preceding reside in an episode that also features an emergent drinking game that tries to distill the essence of the royal wedding? Companions, Become all of this together with us as you listen along!

Support us on Patreon to help us upgrade our recording equipment, potentially provide episode transcripts, and more – plus, you may have the chance to jump your request to the top of the request queue. Requests for texts for us to discuss? Dreams for us to interpret? Advice questions for us to answer? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Follow us on Twitter. Like our Facebook page. RSS feed here. We are part of the Critical Mediations network. Thanks to Bad Infinity for the intro music, and always already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.

 

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Haraway and her dog Cayenne; image via Wikimedia Commons licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

 

 

Emily’s companion, Ripley

 

Derrida, with his cat (apparently named Logos) https://twitter.com/thelitcritguy/status/840148505398247424