FEATURE: Syl Ko

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Syl is a graduate student in the philosophy department at UNC-Chapel Hill. She is also a contributor to Aphro-ism.com. Her work focuses primarily on decolonial/non-Eurocentric approaches to critical animal studies and the relationship between decolonial thinking and animal ethics. At the moment, Syl is developing a view in which obligations to non-human animals are generated through an anti-racist/anti-colonial commitment. On this view, the exploitation of non-human animals ought to be thought of as a distinctive type of racial oppression. As a result, she argues that anti-racist/anti-colonial politics and activism must involve addressing the situation of non-human animals.

Her dissertation, which she is currently writing, is an argument that rejects standard (Wittgensteinian) “forms of life” justifications for animal exploitation on the grounds that such views neglect the racial character of animality. By neglecting this feature of animality, such views unintentionally promote racist conceptions of the human/humanity.

Syl is also a local activist who devotes much of her free time to addressing the nature of activist sites and the ways in which they problematically exclude the plight of non-human animals. She works with a number of other activists on this issue and on de-compartmentalizing activist spaces in general. Syl also volunteers for the vegan pledge run by the local chapter of the Peace Advocacy Network by delivering the annual talk on animals and ethics/social justice.

Syl has been vegan for six years. She lives in Chapel Hill, NC with her feline companion, Squash, and (also vegan) partner, Francesco.

 

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