23 Jan 2019

Public lecture Amitav Ghosh

Can the non-human speak? Other Beings in Myth, Literature and Ethnography


Lecture by Dr. Amitav Ghosh, recipient of an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences on the 43rd Dies Natalis of Maastricht University


On the face of it, the question ‘Can the non-human speak?’ is an absurdity. Yet it is one of the most essential questions of our era of accelerating man-made climate change. At this moment in time, when we look back on the history that has brought us to the point of a planetary catastrophe, we cannot but recognize that our plight is in large part a consequence of the ways in which certain classes of humans have actively muted all other beings by representing them as brutes; that is to say, creatures whose presence on earth is solely material. This talk looks at some of the ways in which non-human consciousness figures in various narrative traditions.