Join us for a virtual conversation with David Livingstone Smith and local author Myisha Cherry! They will be discussing Smith's latest book, On Inhumanity: Dehumanization and How to Resist It (Oxford University Press).
The Rwandan genocide, the Holocaust, the lynching of African Americans, the colonial slave trade: these are horrific episodes of mass violence spawned from racism and hatred. We like to think that we could never see such evils again. But something deep in the human psyche leads people to persecute the other: dehumanization, or the human propensity to think of others as less than human.
Smith takes an unflinching look at the mechanisms of the mind that encourage us to see someone as less than human. Drawing on numerous historical and contemporary cases and recent psychological research, On Inhumanity is the first accessible guide to the phenomenon of dehumanization; it is bracing and vital reading in a world lurching towards authoritarian political regimes, resurgent white nationalism, refugee crises that breed nativist hostility, and fast-spreading racist rhetoric.
David Livingstone Smith is Professor of Philosophy at the University of England in Biddeford, Maine. He has written or edited eight books, including Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others (St. Martin's Press, 2011), which won the 2012 Anisfield-Wolf award for nonfiction. He has been featured in several prime-time television documentaries, is often interviewed and cited in national and international media, and was a guest at the 2012 G20 economic summit, where he spoke about dehumanization and mass violence.
Myisha Cherry is an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of California, Riverside. Cherry's books include Unmuted: Conversations on Prejudice, Oppression, and Social Justice (Oxford University Press, 2019), and she's currently completing a "crossover" book on the role of anger in anti-racist struggle, under contract with Oxford University Press (Fall 2021). She has written publicly about political emotions, race, and justice for the Los Angeles Times, Salon, The Boston Review, New Philosopher, WomanKind, and the Huffington Post. Cherry is also the host of the UnMute Podcast, where she interviews philosophers about the social and political issues of our day.