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What articulations of the human appear when held up against what the human is not? This panel invites papers that analyze intersections, permeable differentiations, and hard borders between humanity and non-humanity, and the kinds of beings that emerge out of these relational structures of alterity.
Anthropology conceived of as the study of the (discretely) human has in recent years been challenged by a range of multispecies and non-/post-/trans-human anthropologies, that have drifted the focus of inquiries toward our non-human co-beings. Conversely, a counter-argument is presently being made for restating the importance of the centrality of the human in our current earthly predicament. This panel proposes to yank open the divide between these sets of positions, reconstructing this human/non-human problematic as a structure of alterity whose constant policing and transgression is a matter for empirical attention and rigorous theoretical scrutiny. We ask: How is the human articulated through its non-human others? We search for new configurations, perspectives, and calibrations of the human in the intersection between current human and non-human designations. In short, what does the human become when measured against current formulations of what it is not? This panel invites papers that tend ethnographically to intersections of humanity and non-humanity in social undertakings and analyze how such intersections pertain to or articulate different structures of alterity. We urge contributors to think of the non-human in a wide sense that may include spirituality, animality, mechanicity, digitality, nature, or even climatic conditions as they interfere with conventional understandings of the human; or posit novel ones. We stress that the attention to human/non-human alterity and qualia should not be bought at the price of reification of categories. We therefore call for diverse contributions that attend to such differentiation in contextually informed and sensitive ways.