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Explore Climate Change and Decolonization in Summer Workshop

Deadline: February 2, 2024

The John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University is pleased to announce the Climate Change, Decolonization, and Global Blackness (CCDGB) Summer Workshop. The Workshop is offered in collaboration with the Elemental Media Lab at Brown University. Ph.D. students at Duke University and Brown University are welcome to apply (deadline Friday, February 2, 2024).

The Workshop seeks to address Climate Change as a co-constituted outcome of the ongoing project of capital and modernity. Climate Change is inextricably bound to material and epistemological realities generated by Western colonial powers’ global conquest, enslavement, and dispossession. Humans, land, territory, and more-than-human ecologies have been casualties of this enterprise and need therefore to be studied in their varied articulations, planetary relationalities, and “deep implicancy” (Ferreira da Silva). Colonialism thoroughly reconfigured the planet, and even after its apparent formal and historical passing, its extractivist technologies continue to shape and capture the planet within a colonial matrix of power. The living legacies of the global colonial project extend the reach of raciality, deepen the disfiguring of the earth, and promote ideological imperatives privileging North Atlantic universals like modernity, linear progressive modernization, freedom, justice, and Development while adjudicating the positionality of cultural difference.

Apprehending Climate Change against this constitutive backdrop “we wish to unthink, think and politicize the idea of global Blackness alongside notions of decoloniality, as being both projects and processes that are fundamentally intertwined in so far as Blackness presents itself as… untenable, fungible, fugitive and opaque…  while decoloniality is a veritable undoing and exceeding of violent colonial disorders” (Crichlow & Northover). The workshop will be structured through several main questions:

  1. How might we understand Climate Change as a co-production of raciality?
  2. Given the effects of Climate Change, how can we grasp the various compositions of the human and its racial decompositions to consider fugitivity as a technology of decolonization?
  3. How can existent and emergent politics respond to present planetary disorder?
  4. How do we grasp temporality and its spatial correlates through analytics of the elements of Air, Water, Fire, and Earth? 
  5. How can pedagogy adapt in order to address creatively and transdisciplinarily the entanglement of CCDGB’s three main components to better grasp the stakes of contemporary Climate Change debates. 
  6. How do we operationalize decentering the human, without falling into the trap of imposing anthropocentric agency on the more than human?

We anticipate conversations among invited scholars and accepted graduate students that will seek to further explore articulations of the workshop’s three elements, namely Climate Change, Decolonization, and Global Blackness. Participants will be expected to read from texts representing the humanities, interpretative social sciences, and various visual and artistic media. At the end of the workshop participants will develop prospective research projects as well as syllabi that evolve from their reflections on the workshop’s themes of inquiry. It is hoped that the project will form a pedagogical node in a network of similar projects already extant and forthcoming in the world.


Directed by Macarena Gómez-Barris (Brown University) and Michaeline Crichlow (Duke University), the workshop will involve ten graduate students (five from Duke; five from Brown) along with seven additional faculty members drawn from several disciplines and interests, including those who have already contributed to the CCDGB lab in the Entanglement Series, inaugurated by Duke University’s John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute in 2022.


A one-week workshop taking place at Duke University from Sunday, May 19–Saturday, May 25, 2023. The workshop will involve two seminar-style sessions each day, Monday-Thursday, along with opening and closing events on the weekends. The Friday sessions will be devoted to a symposium presentation of graduate student projects.


Graduate students should submit applications including a letter of interest (maximum 3 pages) and a CV. Please include the following information in the letter of interest:

  • A statement of purpose including an outline of how your research engages with and contributes to the workshop’s themes of inquiry
  • A brief pedagogical outline describing how you might organize a single seminar session (i.e., concepts, key words, format/activity, a specific media object, etc.)
  • A brief abstract of a relevant project to be developed and introduced at the end of the workshop

Applications are due to no later than February 2, 2024. Participants will receive travel and accommodations, as well as meals during workshop hours (breakfast, lunch).


Enquiries concerning the workshop or application process should be directed to the workshop’s Graduate Coordinator, Michael Cavuto (