David Livingstone Smith to give lecture on dehumanization and how to resist it

David Livingstone Smith, Ph.D., professor of philosophy, will give a lecture on dehumanization via Zoom on Thursday, Oct. 22, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The event is hosted by the Marshall T. Steel Center for the Study of Religion and Philosophy at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas.

In illustrating the topic of the upcoming event, Smith discussed the historical account of Rudolf Höss, commander of the Auschwitz extermination camp, sipping wine with his brother-in-law Fritz. Fritz asked him what the term subhuman meant. “Look, you can see for yourself,” Höss, replied. “They are not like you and me. They are different. They look different. They do not behave like human beings.”

Smith says the Holocaust, the enslavement and brutal lynching of Black Americans, and many other atrocities, were fueled by such dehumanizing beliefs. Drawing on 10 years of research, and using real examples, Smith will explain how dehumanization works, focusing on its close connection to racism, its psychological dynamics, and what we need to do to resist and combat its toxic power.

Smith is the author of the award-winning book “Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others.” He recently released his eighth book, “On Inhumanity: Dehumanization and How to Resist It.”

You can register for Smith’s lecture in advance by emailing steel@hendrix.edu

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