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Dangerous Crossings: Race, Species, and Nature in a Multicultural Age

Claire Jean Kim

Thursday, May 1, 2014 - 6:30pm
Kane Hall, Room 120

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In recent years, there have been a number of impassioned disputes in the U.S. over how racialized groups (immigrants of color, native-born minorities, and Native peoples) use animals in their cultural practices.  The struggle over San Francisco Chinatown’s live animal markets, the Makah whaling controversy in the Pacific Northwest, and the Michael Vick dogfighting scandal are all sites where race, species, and nature have been vigorously contested, complicated, and reproduced in an age shaped by both multiculturalist assumptions and neoliberal imperatives.  In each case, animal advocates charge a racialized group with cruelty and/or doing ecological harm, while group representatives push back with charges of racism and cultural imperialism. How are we to think through these competing sets of moral and political claims and do justice to them both?  How can we move beyond exclusive attention to one form of domination to a viewpoint that acknowledges and addresses multiple forms of domination at the same time?  How might we re-imagine the human, the animal, and nature outside of relations of domination?  What would justice in a multi-racial, multi-species world look like?

About Claire Jean Kim

Claire Jean Kim received her B.A. in Government from Harvard College and her Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University.  She is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Asian American Studies at University of California, Irvine, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate classes on racial politics, multiculturalism, social movements, and human-animal studies.  Dr. Kim’s first book, Bitter Fruit: The Politics of Black-Korean Conflict in New York City  (Yale University Press, 2000) won two awards from the American Political Science Association: the Ralph Bunche Award for the Best Book on Ethnic and Cultural Pluralism and the Best Book Award from the Organized Section on Race and Ethnicity.  Her second book, Race, Species and Nature in a Multicultural Age (Cambridge University Press, 2014), examines the intersection of race, species and nature in impassioned disputes over how immigrants of color, racialized minorities, and Native people in the U.S. use animals in their cultural traditions. Dr. Kim has also written numerous journal articles and book chapters.  Dr. Kim is an Associate Editor of American Quarterly and the co-guest editor with Carla Freccero of a special issue of American Quarterly entitled, Species/Race/Sex (September 2013). She is the recipient of a grant from the University of California Center for New Racial Studies, and she has been a fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey and the University of California Humanities Research Institute.

Sponsoring Departments:

  • UW Graduate School
  • UW Alumni Association
  • Graduate Opportunities and Minority Achievement Program (GO-MAP)
  • Latin American and Caribbean Studies - Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies