On November 18, Syl Ko delivered the 2021 Annual Tom Regan Memorial Lecture, which was postponed from 2020, in collaboration with the Food Studies Initiative at University of San Diego. The Annual Tom Regan Memorial Lecture celebrates the life and thought of the late philosopher and animal advocate Tom Regan.

Syl Ko is a philosopher and scholar of Black veganism and discussed veganism and animal advocacy in the context of race, gender, and animality. Syl Ko studied philosophy at San Francisco State University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She is the co-author (with Aph Ko) of Aphro-ism: Essays on Pop Culture, Feminism, and Black Veganism from Two Sisters. She is an independent researcher known for bringing race to the forefront of the movement to end animal abuse. Her writing challenges species-centric terminology and dominant conceptions of veganism, encouraging brave and imaginative shifts in thinking that prioritize multispecies justice.

Syl Ko’s lecture was responded to by Rev. Christopher Carter, Assistant Professor, Assistant Chair & Department Diversity Officer, Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Diego, where his teaching and research focuses on philosophical and theological ethics, Black and Womanist theological ethics, environmental ethics, and animals and religion. He is the author of the forthcoming The Spirit of Soul Food: Race, Faith, and Food Justice (University of Illinois).

Syl Ko’s lecture, titled “Re-centering the Human,” had been compiled with author Lindgren Johnson, and accompanied Mooni Perry’s exhibit 코로지엄과식탁위에카오스 (English: Coroseum and Chaos on the Table) at the Um Museum in South Korea (May 15, 2021 to June 13, 2021) and Mooni Perry’s exhibit 짐승에 이르기를 (English: As to the Beast) at Hapjungjigu in South Korea (April 1, 2021 to June 13, 2021).

The CAF lecture, which ranged widely over race, Christianity, religion, and philosophy, took place in the wake of co-founder Nancy Regan’s recent passing, and during the trial of three white men for the killing of Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery. The moderator was CAF board member and ecowomanist theologian, Candace Laughinghouse.

You can watch the entire lecture, including the Q&A here, and read the text of “Re-centering the Human” here.

Books Referenced in This Lecture

Christopher Carter: The Spirit of Soul Food: Race, Faith, & Food Justice (University of Illinois, 2021)

Syl Ko and Aph Ko: Aphro-Ism: Essays on Pop Culture, Feminism, and Black Veganism by Two Sisters (Lantern, 2017)

Lindgren Johnson: Race Matters, Animal Matters: Fugitive Humanism in African America, 1840–1930 (Routledge, 2018)

Robin Wall Kimmerer: Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants (Milkweed, 2020).

Alastair MacIntyre: After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory (Notre Dame University Press, 2007)

Peter Paris: The Spirituality of African Peoples: The Search for a Common Moral Discourse (Augsburg Fortress, 1995)

Sylvia Wynter: On Being Human as Praxis, edited by Katherine McKittrick (Duke University Press, 2015)