john a. powell – Belonging without Othering: The Story of our Future

Western culture has for the last several centuries built a society founded on three strong separations: our separation from ourselves, our separation from the other (or the person we call the other), and our separation from the Earth. But, according to john powell, one of our nation’s longtime leading experts on civil rights, structural racism, poverty, and democracy, Director of the groundbreaking Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley, the reality is that we’re not separate. We’re deeply connected to each other. Our challenge is that in order to emerge from the existential crises we face and to birth a far more humane civilization, we now need to look deeply at ourselves and our social structures to overcome the separations that have been inculcated into us for so long and rediscover our fundamental connection to each other and the entire web of life. 

This talk was delivered at the 2023 Bioneers Conference.

john a. powell, Director of the Othering and Belonging Institute and Professor of Law, African American, and Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley, was previously Executive Director at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State, and prior to that, the founder and Director of the Institute for Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota. He also formerly served as the National Legal Director of the ACLU, co-founded the Poverty & Race Research Action Council, and serves on the boards of several national and international organizations. Well-known for his work developing the frameworks of “targeted universalism” and “othering and belonging,” john has taught at numerous law schools including Harvard and Columbia University. His latest book is Racing to Justice: Transforming our Concepts of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society.


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