Rice University

Events at Rice

Thesis Defense

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Speaker: Biko Gray
Doctoral Candidate

Enfleshing the Subject: Race and Religion in the Development of Subjectivity

Friday, April 14, 2017
11:00 AM  to 1:00 PM

226  Humanities Building

After killing Michael Brown and allowing his body to lie in the hot Ferguson sun for over four hours, Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson testified to the grand jury that Brown's demeanor was demonic. "It's like a demon, that's how angry he looked." Using the demonic to (in part) describe Brown raises considerable questions about the connection between race and religion in the perception and treatment of black life. In this project, I ask about this connection, and how it conditions such encounters and treatments. Focusing on the tension between the strictures of embodiment and the open movement of the flesh, I argue that religion and race condition the subject’s emergence and development. I will show that, while they are often explored through rational, representational, and discursive approaches, when refracted through the tension of enfleshment (that is, the tension between the body and the flesh), religion and race also speak to felt engagements and encounters that cannot fully be captured by thought alone. In other words, religion and race condition the subject’s emergence and development because they speak to an excess, to that which is “beyond” the conscious operations of subjective life.

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