"The Great Chain of Being Come Undone" Linking Blackness and Animal Studies

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This review essay explores three recent academic studies situated at the intersection of Black studies and animal studies: Joshua Bennett's Being Property Once Myself: Blackness and the End of Man, Bénédicte Boisseron's Afro-Dog: Blackness and the Animal Question, and Zakiyyah Iman Jackson's Becoming Human: Matter and Meaning in an Antiblack World. As these books make clear, wide-ranging possibilities can emerge when one reads Blackness and animals together. Each author finds ways of reexamining the human-animal divide, of calling into question other labels and hierarchies, of seeing subjectivity and vitality and resilience where blankness or death or limit have usually been the standard terms. Their work marks the beginning of what we can expect will be a wave of scholarship offering correctives to past silence and simplifications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-215
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Humanities
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Ecology


  • Animal studies
  • Black studies
  • diasporic literature
  • human-animal relationships
  • literature


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