‘Liv Good’: The Intersectionally Just Good Life, an African/Caribbean Perspective

Fri 06 May 2022, 11.20-11.40

Dr Gabriella Beckles-Raymond, SOAS and Birkbeck University

The disruptive impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has called us to consider fundamental life questions: What is the significance of human contact? What are the parameters of social responsibility? What is essential for our comfort and happiness?

Similarly, the 2020 Black Lives Matter uprisings placed a sharpened lens on already deteriorating patterns of intersectional inequality, exacerbated by the pandemic. While such questions often arise in response to catastrophic injustices, appearing as solutions to what is wrong (what is right), they contain within them, simultaneously, a provocation to consider how we want to live, problems notwithstanding (what is good).

However, questions about ‘the good life’ and questions about social justice are typically dichotomised, the former being abstracted from the latter, both in practice – as policy or life choices – and in academic discussions. For those of us who live at the intersections of systemic domination, questions about the good life are thus rendered an intellectual luxury.

This gives rise to two problems. First, in the absence of our own imaginations and articulations of the good life, we must default to dominant versions that entail our own destruction. Second, without an intersectionally just conception of the good life, we lack a sound basis for making decisions about public policies and life choices.

I claim that what it means to ‘Liv Good’ is fundamentally tied to questions of who gets to live the good life. As such, any viable framework for the good life for African/ Caribbean peoples in Britain, must approach the socio-political and ethical as a holistic albeit ‘pluriversal’ endeavour.

About the speaker

Dr. Gabriella Beckles-Raymond is an independent interdisciplinary philosopher, writer, educator, wife, mother, sister, aunty, and CEO of EQBR. Gabriella’s research and writing is concerned with questions of love, moral psychology, and intersectional justice and ethics.

Gabriella works on the Ebony Initiative at SOAS, University of London where she is also a distance learning module convenor. She is co-convenor of the African Diaspora Post-Graduate seminar at Birkbeck University and was Program Lead for Canterbury Christ Church University’s award-winning Theology Degree Partnership Program (2014-2019). She is co-founder of the Black Thought Collective and a member of the Collegium of Black Women Philosophers and the Caribbean Philosophical Association.

Gabriella earned her MA and doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Memphis. She earned her BS in Psychology and MA in Sociology from Morgan State University in Baltimore, where she was also Director of the Academic Enrichment Program. Gabriella also holds the Senior Fellowship of Advanced Higher Education (SFHEA) and has a P.G.C.E. in Secondary Education from the Institute of Education, University of London.