Sharon Patricia Holland is Townsend Ludington Distinguished Professor of American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and author of
Love : Livestock
Chapter 4 investigates that entity called “black love” and speculates about what happens when the object of one's community-building ethic is not necessarily directed toward the human. It takes another look at L.A. Rebellion filmmaker Charles Burnett's two films released in the 1970s, The Horse and Killer of Sheep, as extended commentaries on the place of animal life in Black negotiations of life and living. These explorations argue that animals don't just stand in for systems of oppression in Black life but actually participate in the affective work of living that becomes constitutive of Black forms of insurgence. If, as Jacques Derrida observes, politics is about “livestock,” then political life cannot cohere without animal life (human or otherwise) at its service.