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The Human Question

Lewis R Gordon

Lewis R Gordon

News vom 22.06.2022

“The Human Question”

Lewis R. Gordon


Friday, 08 July 2022, 18.00 Uhr

Freie Universität Berlin
Hörsaal 1b
Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin

The public lecture is organized by Dr. Mahmoud Al-Zayed (FU Berlin) in the framework of RePLITO.


This talk will first address three problematics made acute by the emergence of Euromodern colonialism: (1) What does it mean to be human? (2) What does it mean to be free?  And (3) What does it mean to be justified? Although these are concerns of humanity for many millennia, they take on an added significance in an age marked by colonialism and its concomitant practices of dehumanization. As concerns of decolonization and liberation follow, there are postmodernist responses in which there are appeals to the “posthuman” and even “anti-human.” These turns are marked, the speaker will show, ironically, by patently colonial, often fascist and idolatrous conceptions of what it means to be human. Part II of the talk will thus address the problematic assumptions on which anti- and posthumanism are built and, through a brief critical discussion of the decolonization of history and thought, offer a portrait of what it means to be human without reductionism and species-centrism on one hand and an appeal to the political implications of power and love on the other.



Short bio

Lewis R. Gordon is an Afro-Jewish public intellectual, academic, and musician (jazz, blues, rock, reggae, hip hop, Euro-classical, etc.). He teaches at UCONN in the United States, where he is Professor and Head of the Philosophy Department, with affiliations in several academic units. He lectures and is involved in political and artistic projects across the globe and holds research and teaching appointments in several countries. He is also Distinguished Scholar at The Most Honourable PJ Patterson Centre for Africa-Caribbean Advocacy at The University of the West Indies, Mona, Honorary President of the Global Center for Advanced Studies, and co-founder of the Phenomenology Roundtable, the Caribbean Philosophical Association, and the Philosophy and Global Affairs Group (which also publishes the journal, edited by Jane Anna Gordon and Lewis R. Gordon, Philosophy and Global Affairs). He is the author of many books, including, most recently, Freedom, Justice, and Decolonization (Routledge, 2021) and Fear of Black Consciousness (London: Penguin Books,  2022; Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the USA), whose German translation is scheduled for publication later this year by Ullstein Verlag. He is this year’s recipient of the Eminent Scholar Award from the Global Development Studies division of the International Studies Association.


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Fachbereich Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften