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UNE’s David Livingstone Smith talks forthcoming book, speaking engagements

David Livingstone Smith
David Livingstone Smith, Ph.D., professor of philosophy, discusses his forthcoming book, "On Inhumanity: Dehumanization and How to Resist It," and several upcoming speaking engagements.

February 11, 2020

With seven authored books under his belt, University of New England Professor of Philosophy David Livingstone Smith, Ph.D., is gearing up to release his eighth book, “On Inhumanity: Dehumanization and How to Resist It,” this summer.

The book, composed of 26 short chapters, is about dehumanization — what it is and how it works, its connections to racism and atrocity, and how to combat the phenomenon, Smith said.

The book uses examples, including the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, the lynching of black Americans, and anti-Romani persecution, among others, to describe dehumanization, which is characterized by the denial of full humanness to others.

“The book is for a very broad readership,” said Smith. “It’s a nonacademic book. Although the academic substance is there, it’s very nontechnical.”

“On Inhumanity” is the follow-up to Smith’s 2011 book “Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others,” which won the 2012 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Nonfiction. That book was recently highlighted in an article by the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards about the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

In addition to his forthcoming book, Smith has several upcoming speaking engagements that will take him to locations across the nation.

On February 25, Smith will speak at the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute at a lunchtime discussion titled “How Dehumanization Works.” Then, on March 26, Smith will travel to Arizona State University to present “Dehumanization Matters” as part of the lecture series “Rehumanizing the Dehumanized: Survivors Tell Their Stories.”

Smith will also present the Altheimer Lecture at Hendrix College on April 23.

In December, Smith was featured on an episode of the podcast “Through Conversations,” in which he discussed the mentality behind dehumanization. His forthcoming book, “On Inhumanity: Dehumanization and How to Resist It,” is now available for pre-order.

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