This presentation called ‘Human Evolution Exists at the Intersection of Logic and Compassion’ was given by Professor Funmilola Fagbamila at the Justice Conference 2019.
In this presentation, Professor Fagbamila addresses the importance of logic, compassion and emotional intelligence in the pursuit of a more just and healthy society. She argues that the increased political polarization that we currently see, most specifically in the West, is an outgrowth of the often illogical and harmful ways that humans engage in differences. Rather than observing the human difference as that which simply exists, it is often used as a means to ideologically justify the social hierarchies that impede on equal opportunity for all groups. Professor Fagbamila discusses the themes within her most recent work ‘The Intersection’, a stage play on the complexities of black political identity. By staging both familiar and controversial positions in society’s discourses, Fagbamila brings to the surface difficult conversations that are often avoided across the spectrum in our current system of partisan politics. Such honesty is not meant to foster agreement or consensus, but rather a collective dialogue mindful of the powerful potential of intersectionality. As an astute observer puts it, the play leads us to ask two important questions: “What can performance bring to a societal debate that is not possible through more traditional political discourse, and how does Fagbamila’s staging, claiming, theorizing, and embodying of contradictory perspectives create room in an otherwise claustrophobic ideological landscape?”
Funmilola Fagbamila is a Nigerian American scholar, activist, playwright and artist. She currently serves as an adjunct professor of Pan African Studies at California State University, Los Angeles. As an original member of the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM), Funmilola has been organizing with BLM since its inception in 2013. While her artistry is multifaceted, including spoken word and hip hop, Funmilola’s current project, entitled “The Intersection: Woke Black Folk”, is a stage play on the complexities of black political identity. This project has been met with critical acclaim by thinkers and artists such as Angela Davis and Erykah Badu. It premiered in March of 2018 as the featured theatrical production for Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles. In 2015, Funmilola was honored by the United States Congress and the Black Community, Clergy and Labor Alliance for her “commendable activist scholarship, service and struggle”. In 2017, Funmilola was awarded the Inaugural Activist-in-Residence position at the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin. Her writing, political analyses and social commentary have been featured in publications such as the Guardian, NPR and NowThis News. You can find out more about Funmilola’s work at: www.funmilola.com
The Justice Conference is an annual Baha’i-inspired forum for the exploration of international law, global governance, justice and ethics. It takes place in the Netherlands and all are welcome to participate! Find out more about the Justice Conference and register to attend here on their website: justice-conference.com, and check out the Justice Conference Facebook page here.
You can also listen to the audio version of this talk here: Human Evolution Exists at the Intersection of Logic and Compassion – A Talk by Funmilola Fagbamila [Audio Track]
And check out more talks from the Justice Conference playlist here.