For The Wild
May 2, 2023: john a. powell on Institutions of Othering and Radical Belonging
This week we are rebroadcasting our interview with john a. powell, originally aired in May 2019. If you enjoy this weeks episode, make sure you listen to the first episode in our special series The Edges in the Middle, which features a conversation between john a. powell and By Akmolf .
Now more than ever, we are reminded of the vital importance of creating practices that strengthen and recognize our shared humanity. However, in order to do so, we must examine the systems, ideologies, and actions that have emboldened us to deny humanity in the first place. At the beginning of this weeks episode, john a. powell defines any practice which denies someones humanity as an act of othering. Both at home and abroad it seems we are witnessing a surge of “othering,” whether it is reflected in election cycles, the rise of ethnonationalism, or the pervasiveness of violent acts. We must wonder, how and why do societies rely on the process of othering? And more importantly, how do we move into engagement, organizing, and bridging?
john a. powell (who spells his name in lowercase in the belief that we should be “part of the universe, not over it, as capitals signify”) is an internationally recognized expert in the areas of civil rights, civil liberties, structural racism, housing, poverty, and democracy. He is the Director of the Othering & Belonging Institute at the University of California, Berkeley, a research institute that brings together scholars, community advocates, communicators, and policymakers to identify and eliminate the barriers to an inclusive, just, and sustainable society and to create transformative change toward a more equitable world.