Afro-Dog: Blackness and the Animal Question


Product Details

Columbia University Press
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.4 X 0.8 inches | 0.85 pounds

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About the Author

Bénédicte Boisseron is associate professor of Afroamerican and African studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is the author of Creole Renegades: Rhetoric of Betrayal and Guilt in the Caribbean Diaspora (2014).


Dazzling in its reach and groundbreaking in its methodology, Afro-Dog redraws the contours of intellectual inquiry with dogs at the lead. Boisseron aims to rethink the hyper-legality of racism and the practice of inequality in ways that are radical and far-reaching.--Colin Dayan, author of With Dogs at the Edge of Life
Afro-Dog is a timely effort to tackle the fraught relations between posthumanism and postcolonialism and between animal studies and African American studies. Inflected by continental philosophy, Boisseron's readings follow a historical trail of dogs from the Middle Passage to the Ferguson unrest in order to theorize a legacy of connections between racism and speciesism, but without posing a false analogy between the two. Especially insightful and important are her arguments about the potential dangers of intersectional analyses which 'risk reproducing what they mean to reject.'--Kari Weil, author of Thinking Animals: Why Animal Studies Now?
Afro-Dog is an amazing book! The animal is not 'the new black'; animals are not the new slaves; and animal studies is not heir to the postcolonial turn. Instead, racialization, specifically New World blackness, is now present in all things animal. Whether as large dogs imported to the Americas to attack indigenous and African rebels or their repressive use in Standing Rock and Ferguson, Bénédicte Boisseron brilliantly explores dogs as instrumental accessories in defining human essence as white, impelling readers to consider the fundamental relationship between challenging speciesism and transcending colonialism. A must-read for anyone interested in the study of animals, enslavement, and race.--Jane Gordon, University of Connecticut
An engaging, synthetic, and quick read on the importance of understanding the flaws of privilege in the making of activist engagements. As such, it should be read by scholars of Atlantic slavery, racial identity, and the animal liberation movement.--H-Florida
Bénédicte Boisseron's Afro-Dog hones in, acutely and in detail, on the often-unhappy convergence of 'animal' and 'black' in current and historical thought, deftly dismantling their rhetorical obfuscations while sacrificing neither 'the animal' nor 'the black.' Instead, she calls for attending to human-animal encounters through the lens of black and animal defiance, a kind of subversive interspecies alliance that could empower both. Brilliantly enlisting theoretical and critical voices in critical race studies, animal studies, Afropessimism, ecofeminism, and more, Boisseron brings a crucial Black Alantic and diasporic perspective to bear on blackness and the question of the animal to show, not that blackness and animality are comparable, but that black people and animals have been and are historically and concretely connected--most often in the form of 'man' and 'dog.'--Carla Freccero, University of California, Santa Cruz
In Afro-Dog, Boisseron brilliantly demonstrates how the relationship between race and personhood has been missing entirely from the current human/animal rights debate, resulting in the argument that animals constitute the new 'slaves.' In doing so she offers a long overdue exploration of the larger and more extended links in American and French culture where blackness and animality have become almost interchangeable in popular discourse.--Sandra Gunning, University of Michigan
Boisseron documents and elaborates on the 'animalization' of blacks and the 'blackification' of animals, the two having often been treated the same by Euro-americans and in their laws....Recommended.--Choice