Sharon Patricia Holland

Oct 7, 2023

an other

a black feminist consideration of animal life

Duke University Press 2023

In an other: a black feminist examination of animal life (Duke UP, 2023), Sharon Patricia Holland offers a new theorization of the human animal/divide by shifting focus from distinction toward relation in ways that acknowledge that humans are also animals. Holland centers ethical commitments over ontological concerns to spotlight those moments when Black people ethically relate with animals. Drawing on writers and thinkers ranging from Hortense Spillers, Sara Ahmed, Toni Morrison, and C. E. Morgan to Jane Bennett, Jacques Derrida, and Donna Haraway, Holland decenters the human in Black feminist thought to interrogate blackness, insurgence, flesh, and femaleness. She examines MOVE's incarnation as an animal liberation group; uses sovereignty in Morrison's A Mercy to understand blackness, indigeneity, and the animal; analyzes Charles Burnett's films as commentaries on the place of animals in Black life; and shows how equestrian novels address Black and animal life in ways that rehearse the practices of the slavocracy. By focusing on doing rather than being, Holland demonstrates that Black life is not solely likened to animal life; it is relational and world-forming with animal lives.

Sharon P. Holland (she/her) is the President of the American Studies Association. She is also the Townsend Ludington Distinguished Professor in American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She served as Chair of the Department from July 2020- July 2022.

Callie Smith, PhD. is a museum educator and poet based in Louisiana.

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Phd English, poet, museum educator, and major animal lover.
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