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Fall Philosophy Colloquia: Zakiyyah Jackson

Fall Philosophy Colloquia: Zakiyyah Jackson will give a talk on "Against Criticism: Notes on Decipherment and the Force of Art"

This talk investigates the relationship between science and aesthetics. The focal points are two articles by the highly-influential Jamaican-Cuban literary critic and philosopher of the Americas, Sylvia Wynter: "Rethinking ‘Aesthetics’: Notes Towards a Deciphering Practice” and "Towards the Sociogenic Principle: Fanon, Identity, the Puzzle of Conscious Experience, and What It Is Like to be 'Black.'" In what follows, I will introduce Wynter’s decipherment as an anti-formalism and consider to what extent her “deciphering practice” offers a critical challenge to what this talk identifies as underexamined and troubling continuities between cultural criticism and the cult(ure) of the gene in the biological sciences and biocentrism. 

Zakiyyah Iman Jackson is an Associate Professor of English and Director of the Center for Feminist Research at the University of Southern California. Professor Jackson is the author of the multiple award-winning book: Becoming Human: Matter and Meaning in an Antiblack World. Jackson’s research explores the literary and aesthetic aspects of Western philosophical and scientific discourse and investigates the engagement of African diasporic literature, film, and visual art with the historical concerns, knowledge claims, and rhetoric of Western science and philosophy. Professor Jackson is at work on a book: “Obscure Light: Blackness and the Derangement of Sex/Gender.” Jackson’s articles can be found at

Monday, October 24 at 3:30pm to 5:00pm

Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library

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