Institute for Social Justice

Rethinking the Human/Non-Human Relationship

Current planetary ecological crises challenge us to generate new modes of theory and practice that illuminate destructive driving dynamics, disclose new possibilities, and contribute to powerful ethical-political responses.

How might we re-conceptualize the human, nonhuman, and their myriad relationships?

What is revealed and concealed by the proliferating terminological debates over the characteristics of our time?

What are the implications for our understandings of agency, ethical responsiveness, responsibility, and relationships amidst nonhuman beings, things, and complex dynamical systems?

How ought such shifts inform social movements, understandings of international relations, and political economic practices in a world of entanglement?


Nikolas Kompridis is re-examining the ontological and ethical question of the human and the human/non-human relationship in relation to a critique of humanism and posthumanism, and to the complex temporalities of human and non-human time.  Magdalena Zolkos researches how the theoretical perspectives of affect, corporeality and biopolitics help us understand the relation between humans and nonhuman others (animals and inanimate objects) in advanced capitalism, while also speculating about the possibilities of renegotiating and transforming that relation. Emilian Kavalski explores International Relations (IR) theory and the Anthropocene, and employs complexity theory to conceptualize our engagement with non-human agency and articulate post-human possibilities of “global life”.  Romand Coles examines transformative receptive agency among humans and nonhuman beings, things, and systems – ranging from philosophical explorations of becoming, affect, and assemblage, to political micro-practices and large-scale more-than-human social movements in the face of climate catastrophe and the sixth extinction.