Counterhuman Epistemologies: Human-Rodent Technoscientific Projects in Tanzania

Wednesday, February 9 at 12:00pm to 1:30pm

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The experience and category of “being human” have come under significant challenge, whether due to advances in science and technology (that blur boundaries between the human and nonhuman) or to the growing recognition of the continued dehumanization faced by many Africans, indigenous peoples, the poor, and other historically marginalized communities. In this talk, I offer an overview of my research on human-rodent technoscientific projects in Morogoro, Tanzania to suggest that these interspecies sites are crucial for generating counterhumanepistemologies, or knowledge that critique and challenge—rather than go beyond—what it means to be human in 21st-century Africa.


 Jia Hui Lee is a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the John B. Hurford'60 Center for the Arts and Humanities, and Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Haverford College. His book project is a historically informed ethnography of various human-rodent encounters in zoological research, animal training, and pest management schemes in Tanzania. His research explores how more-than-human encounters in East Africa are crucial sites for generating theories and critiques that offer what Sylvia Wynter calls counterhumanistvisions of being "human" in the 21st-century. He has a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he also developed experimental and sensory modes of doing anthropology.

Sponsored by the Anthropology Department and the Center for Visual Anthropology


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