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Title: Four Black Lives: Philosophy of Religion and State-Sanctioned Antiblack Violence


Abstract: Aiyana Stanley-Jones. Tamir Rice. Alton Sterling. Sandra Bland. Their four lives mattered. They matter. This talk, based upon my recent monograph Black Life Matter, will discuss how these black lives matter. It will explore what it means to be matter, to be living matter—which is to say, to be flesh. And in so doing, it will explore the violent and brutal philosophical and religious logics that continue to justify and sanction antiblack violence through the ab/use of black flesh. But this isn't the whole story. Black flesh is also a site of profound care and love. As such, black life—living matter—speaks to a different kind of sacrality, a modality of celebration-in-mourning that speaks to the inestimable significance of black life, black lives, in a world of unrelenting antiblack violence. Put simply, black lives matter. To those who loved them and to those who killed them. This talk explores some of the reasons why this is the case.


Speaker Bio: Biko Mandela Gray's work operates at the nexus and interplay between continental philosophy of religion and theories and methods in African American religion. His research is primarily on the connection between race, subjectivity, religion, and embodiment, exploring how these four categories play on one another in the concrete space of human experience. He also is interested in the religious implications of social justice movements. He is currently working on a book project that explores how contemporary racial justice movements, like Blacklivesmatter, demonstrate new ways of theorizing the connection between embodiment, religion, and subjectivity.

Event Details

  • Sarah Hornung
  • Anabella Castillo Vargas
  • Avalon Marandas
  • Elana Von Der Heyden

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