Dr. Denise Ferreira da Silva’s academic writings and artistic practice address the ethical questions of the global present and target the metaphysical and ontoepistemological dimensions of modern thought. Currently, she is an Associate Professor and Director of The Social Justice Institute (the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice) at the University of British Columbia. Before joining UBC, she was an Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies, at the University of California, San Diego and, from 2010 to 2015, she held the inaugural chair in Ethics, at the School of Business and Management and the directorship of the Centre for Ethics and Politics, at Queen Mary University of London. Her research areas include Critical Racial and Ethnic Studies, Feminist Theory, Critical Legal Theory, Political Theory, Moral Philosophy, Postcolonial Studies, and Latin American & Caribbean Studies. Ferreira da Silva is regularly invited to participate in international events and to contribute to publications in academic and artistic settings.

Her recent academic publications include the book Toward a Global Idea of Race (University of Minnesota Press, 2007), the edited volume  Race, Empire, and The Crisis of the Subprime (with Paula Chakravartty, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), and the articles “Nobodies: Law, Raciality, and Violence” (Griffith Law Review, 2009), “To be Announced: Radical Praxis or Knowing (at) the Limits of Justice” (Social Text, 2013), “Toward a Black Feminist Poethics: The Quest(ion) of Blackness Towards the End of the World” (The Black Scholar, 2014), and “The Racial Limits of Social Justice: The Ruse of Equality of Opportunity and the Global Affirmative Action Mandate (Critical Ethnic Studies, 2016).

She is the principal editor for the Routledge/Cavendish book series Law, Race, and the Postcolonial (with Mark Harris and Brenna Bhandar). Her art-related work include texts for publications linked to the 2016  Liverpool and Sao Paulo Biennales, advising Natasha Ginwala, the curator for the Contour 8 Biennale (Mechelen, 2017), as well as events (performances, talks, and private sessions) and texts that part of her own practice, Poethical Readings (in collaboration with Valentina Desideri).


My theoretical work — which is informed by research on themes such as Female Genital Cutting, Police Brutality, and Black Political Mobilization, and the rhetoric of the “War on Terror” — consists primarily in the formulation of a critical strategy, global/historical analysis , which highlights the centrality of raciality in modern (post-Enlightenment) thought. Drawing from post-structural and feminist theory and psychoanalysis, it is offered as critique of liberal and contemporary critical theorizing, as it seeks to capture how raciality – as a scientific (sociological and anthropological) signifier of human difference which institutes globality as an ontological horizon – operates in the present global (juridical, economic, and symbolic) configuration. And, in doing so, it seeks to open up new venues for the theorizing of global justice. This concern results not only from my interdisciplinary training (Sociology, Anthropology, Political Science, History, and Philosophy) but also from many years of political activism in my working-class neighborhood association (in Rio de Janeiro ) and in the black Brazilian movement.

For up to date list of publications, please visit


Founder & Editor – Living Commons Press

Book Series

(2011-) co-Editor – Law and the Postcolonial: Ethics, Politics, Economics. London: Routledge
(2014) co-Editor – Indigenous Peoples and the Law



(2007) Toward a Global Idea of Race. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

(2013) Race, Empire, and The Crisis of the Subprime. W/ Paula Chakravartty. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.


(2015) Law, Race, and the Postcolonial – A Handbook. W/ Mark Harris. London: Routledge/Cavendish.

(2015) Indigenous Peoples & the Law – A Handbook. W/ Mark Harris. London: Routledge/Cavendish.

(2014) Indigenous Peoples & the Law: Major Works. W/ Mark Harris. London: Routledge.

(2014) Postcolonialism and the Law: Major Works. W/ Mark Harris. London: Routledge.

In Preparation

No-Bodies: Raciality and Logic of Security in the Global Present.

A Critique of Racial Violence.

Human, Race, Rights. W/ Mark Harris & Colin Perrin. London: Routledge/Cavendish.

Postcolonial Capitalism: Histories & Cartographies of Global Capitalism.

W/ Rashne Limki. London: Routledge/Cavendish.

Special Journal Issues

(2014) Guest Editor – Special Issue Race and Post-Raciality. Cultural Dynamics (26): 1, March

(2012) Guest co-Editor – Special Issue on Race, Empire, and the Crisis of the Subprime. American Quarterly  63 (3), September. The Council of Editors of Learned Journal’s 2013 Best Special Issue Award (co-winner)

(2004) Guest Editor – Special issue on Race and Nation in Brazil. Social Identities 10 (6), December.

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles (Last 5 years)

(2014) Ninguem: Direito, Racilidade e Violencia. Revista Meritum.

(2014) “Toward a Black Feminist Poethics: The Quest(ion) of Blackness Towards the End of the World”. The Black Scholar, 44 (2)

(2014) “Transversing the Circuit of Dispossession. The Dispossessed Eighteenth Century, special issue of The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, 55 (3)

(2013) “To be Announced: Radical Praxis or Knowing (at) the Limits of Justice.” Social Text 31 (1 – 114), Spring

(2012) “Accumulation, Dispossession & Debt: The Racial Logic of Global Capitalism – Introduction.” American Quarterly 63 (3), September.

(2011) Notes for a Critique of the ‘Metaphysics of Race’.  Theory, Culture & Society 28 (1).

(2010) “The End of Brazil: An Analysis of the Debate on Racial Equity on the Edges of Global Market Capitalism.” Columbia University National Black Law Journal, 1 (1).

(2009) “Evo Morales: An Outline of a Global Subject.” Seattle University Law Review/ Seattle Journal for Social Justice, 8 (1).

(2009) “No-bodies: Law, Raciality and Violence.” Griffith Law Review 18 (2), August.

Book Chapters (Last 5 years)

(2014) “Radical Praxis or Knowing (at) the Limits of Justice” in Edited by Sherene Razack and Suvendrini Perera. At the Limits of Justice. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

(Forthcoming) “Race and Development” Robert Porter and Vandana Desai (Eds) The Companion to Development Studies, Third Edition. London: Hodde & Stoughton Lmited.

(In Press) “Before Man: Sylvia Wynter’s Rewriting of the Modern Episteme” in The Realization of Living: Sylvia Wynter and Being Human. Edited by Katherine McKittrick. Durham: Duke University Press.

(2013) “Accumulation, Dispossession, and Debt: The Racial Logic of Global Capitalism – An Introduction. W/ Paula Chakravartty. In Race, Empire and the Crisis of the Subprime. Edited by Paula Chakravartty & Denise Ferreira da Silva. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

(2011) “No-Bodies: Law, Violence, Raciality” in Critical Legal Theory (Critical Concepts in Law). Edited by Costas Douzinas and Colin Perrin. London: Routledge.

(2010) “Many Hundred Thousand Bodies Later: An Analysis of the ‘Legacy’ of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda” in Sundhya Pahuja, Fleur Johns, Richard Joyce. Events: The Force of International Law’. London: Cavendish/Routledge.

(2010) “Despensar La Existencia Global: La analítica de la racialidad y la posibilidad de una justicia global,” Raza, etnicidad y racismos: debates a la ciudadanía republicana en el marco de la conmemoración de los Bicentenario de las Independencias en las Américas Negras. Editores CMRL; Agustín Laó Montes; César Rodríguez. Universidad Nacional de Colombia, sede Bogotá- CES – IDCARÁN;  Universidad de los Andes- Observatorio de Discriminación Racial, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, sede Medellín, Facultad de Ciencias Humanas y Económicas