Allison L. Rowland, "Zoetropes and the Politics of Humanhood" (Ohio State UP, 2020)
The way that we talk about living beings can raise or lower their perceived value. On this episode of the New Books Network, Dr. Lee Pierce (s/t) interviews Dr. Allison L. Rowland (s) about zoetropes and zoerhetorics or ways of talking about living beings that promote (#blacklivesmatter) or demote (“collateral damage”) lives and groups of lives.
Zoetropes and the Politics of Humanhood (Ohio State University Press, 2020)looks at a variety of these zoerhetorics and the zoetropes or rhetorical devices those discourses contain, and how they build on the necropolitical concept that we are constantly parsing populations into worthy lives, subhuman lives, and lives sentenced to death. Through a series of case studies, including microbial life (at the American Gut Project), fetal life (at the National Memorial for the Unborn), and vital human life (at two of the nation’s premier fitness centers)—and in conversation with cutting-edge theories of race, gender, sexuality, and disability—this book brings to light the discursive practices that set the terms for inclusion into humanhood and make us who we are.
We hope you enjoyed listening as much as we enjoyed chatting about this fascinating book. Connect with your host, Lee Pierce, on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for interview previews, the best book selfies, and new episode alerts.
Thanks to Allison L. Rowland for joining us today on New Books Network. Dr. Rowland is Maurer Associate Professor of Performance and Communication Arts at St. Lawrence University and invites “arguments, discourses, responses, and feedback” (her words) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks also to artist Sarah Knobel for the book’s cover art.
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