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Forum on Decentering the Human


It is increasingly claimed that we are now living in the Anthropocene - a new geological epoch reflecting the commencement of significant human impact on the Earth. Yet at the same time, the central and dominant position of humans in our understanding of the world is being questioned. This trend has been driven by at least three different factors. The first is the climate crisis which has, paradoxically, highlighted the interdependence of all life on earth and challenged the idea that animals, plants and other non-humans are simply resources for the use of humans. Second, there is a greater willingness to question the tenets of monotheistic traditions which enthrone humans at the top of a hierarchy of beings created by a deity. In parallel, secular philosophies ranging from rationalism to different strands of humanism have been criticised for their attempts to place the hu(man) being at the centre of everything existing. Thirdly and lastly, the breath-taking speed of developments in AI and robotics are challenging the assumed uniqueness of human intelligence and even consciousness, while biomedicine and biotechnology are questioning the boundaries between humans and non-humans.  

All three developments raise fundamental questions about the relationship between humans and other living as well as non-living beings. Through a variety of research activities and events, the Forum aims to foster and explore the intellectual and policy implications of this radical shift in thinking, with a focus on the disciplines based in the humanities and social sciences as well as in collaboration with colleagues in the natural sciences. It will catalyse interdisciplinary research that brings non-humans (such as animals, nature, AIs and divinities) to the fore of enquiry with the aim of questioning anthropocentrism. 

Call for Members


Professor Kathryn YusoffDr John Adenitire and Dr Alexis Alvarez-Nakagawa co-convene the Forum and look forward to working with colleagues across and beyond Queen Mary who share an interest in this new field of enquiry. Twenty one colleagues have joined the Forum already. If your research interests correspond with the aims of the Forum, please get in touch with the conveners directly.


Forum on Decentering the Human became a Faculty Research Centre in July 2023.


Past Events

AI Minds and Governance Frameworks on 10 April 2024 (in collaboration with the IHSS Research Programme Global Epistemologies)

The Mind of a Bee on 4 April 2024 at 3 pm

Animal Sentience and Legal Protections on 6 March 2024 at 12 pm (in collaboration with the IHSS Research Programme Global Epistemologies)

Talk Series – Fundamental Rights for Non-Humans: Foundations, Faults, and Future

Inhuman Reparations, 8 December 2023 at 1 PM

The Non-Human Turn in Law International Colloquium took place on 19-20 June 2023 

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