An academic and practicing artist, Dr. Denise Ferreira da Silva’s work addresses the ethico-political challenges of the global present. She is the author of Toward a Global Idea of Race (University of Minnesota Press, 2007), A Dívida Impagavel (Oficina da Imaginaçāo Política and Living Commons, 2019), Unpayable Debt (Stenberg/MIT Press, forthcoming) and co-editor (with Paula Chakravartty) of Race, Empire, and the Crisis of the Subprime (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013). Her several articles have been published in leading interdisciplinary journals, such as Social TextTheory, Culture & SocietySocial Identities, PhiloSOPHIA, Griffith Law Review, Theory & Event, The Black Scholar, to name a few. Her artistic works includes the films Serpent Rain (2016) and 4Waters-Deep Implicancy (2018)in collaboration with Arjuna Neuman; and the relational art practices Poethical Readings and Sensing Salon, in collaboration with Valentina Desideri. She has exhibited and lectured at major art venues, such as the Pompidou Center (Paris), Whitechapel Gallery (London, MASP (Sāo Paulo), Guggenheim (New York), and MoMa (New York). She has also written for publications for major art events (Liverpool Biennale, 2017; Sao Paulo Biennale, 2016, Venice Biennale, 2017, and Documenta 14) and published in art venues, such as Canadian ArtTexte Zur Kunst, and E-Flux. `

She is a member of several boards including Haus de Kulturen de Welt (Berlin), International Consortium for Critical Theory Programs and the journals Postmodern Culture, Social Identities, and Dark Matter.


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

Selected Publications

Book Series

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

Books Published

Ferreira da Silva, D (In Press) Notes Towards the End of Time. London: Living Commons Press

Ferreira da Silva, D. Homo Modernus. Edinburgh & São Paulo: Oficina da Imaginação Politica/Living Commons.

Ferreira da Silva, D (2019) A Divida Impagavel. Edinburgh & São Paulo: Oficina da Imaginação Politica/Living Commons/Casa do Povo.

Ferreira da Silva, D (2007) Toward a Global Idea of Race. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press


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

(In Press) Indigenous Peoples & the Law – A Handbook. W/ Mark Harris. 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 8 years)

Ferreira da Silva, D (2020) “Krize evropské imaginace.” Artalk Revue. N.4
( January.

Ferreira da Silva, D (2019) “How.” E-Flux # 105 ( December.

Ferreira da Silva, D (2019) “Em Estado Bruto.” Ars, 17 (36): 45-56.

(2018) “Hacking the Subject. Black Feminism and Refusal Beyond the Limits of Critique.” PhiloSPHIA. A Journal of Continental Feminism, 8.1, Winter: 19-41.

(2017) “The Banalization of Racial Events.” Theory & Event, 20 (1).

(2016) “The Racial Limits of Social Justice: The Ruse of Equality of Opportunity and the Global Affirmative Action Mandate.” Critical Ethnic Studies, 2 (2): 284-298, Fall.

(2015) “Globality.” Critical Ethnic Studies, 1(1): 33-38, Spring.

(2014) “Ninguém: Direito, Racilidade e Violéncia”. Revista Meritum9 (1), Jan-Dec.

(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)

Book Chapters

Ferreira da Silva, D (2019) “Notes from the Underside of Visibility – Interview with Jota Mombaça and Thiago de Paula Souza. Eds. Maria Hlavajova and Wietske Mass. Propositions for Non-Facist Living: Tentative and Urgent. Cambrdige: MIT Press.

Ferreira da Silva, D (2018) “Global Nomads.” Atlantica: Contemporary Art in Angola. Monica de Miranda (Ed.) Lisbon: Hangar Editions.

Ferreira da Silva, D (2018) “Foreword.” Hern, Matt Hern, Selena Couture, Daisy couture, and Sadie Couture. On this Patch of Grass: City Parks on Occupied Land. Black Point, NS: Fernwood Publishing.

Ferreira da Silva, D. “Madiha Sikander’s Majmua: Depths of Time.” Postscript. UBC Master of Fine Art Graduate Exhibition. Vancouver: Morris and Ellen Belkin Gallery.

Ferreira da Silva, D. “Introduction” to Volume 1. Eds. Denise Ferreira da Silva and Mark Harris. Postcolonialism and the Law: Major Works. London: Routledge.

Ferreira da Silva, D. “Introduction” to Volume 4. Eds. Denise Ferreira da Silva and Mark Harris. Postcolonialism and the Law: Major Works. London: Routledge.

Ferreira da Silva, D. “Togetherward.” File Note for the Exhibition Cristian Nyampeta’s Translating the Words after the World. London: Camden Arts Centre, August, 2017.

Ferreira da Silva, D. (2017) “Canvas Infinita.” Lucy Cotter Editor. Cinema Olanda- Wendelien van Oldenbourg. Berlin: Hatje Cantz publisher

Ferreira da Silva, D (2017) “Blacklight.” Otobong Nkanga Luster and Lucre. Eds. Clare Molloy, Philippe Pirotte and Fabian Schöneich. Berlin: Sternberg Press.

Ferreira da Silva, D (2017) “Canvas Infinita.” Lucy Cotter Editor. Cinema Olanda- Wendelien van Oldenbourg. Berlin: Hatje Cantz publisher.

Ferreira da Silva, D (2017) “The ‘Refugee Crisis’ and the current Predicament of the Liberal State”. Edited by Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez.

Subjects and Objects In Exile. Ghent: L’ Internationale Books, pp. 202-211.

Ferreira da Silva, D (2016) “On Difference Without Separability,” 32nd Bienal de São Paulo – Incerteza Viva. Catalogue. Edited by Jochen Volz and Júlia Rebouças. São Paulo: Fundação Bienal de São Paulo, pp. 57-65.

Ferreira da Silva, D (2016) “The Racial Event or That Which Happens Without Time.” Rosie Cooper, Sandeep Parmar, and Dominic Willsdom (Eds.) The Two-Sided Lake: Scenarios, Storyboards and Sets from Liverpool Biennial 2016. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, pp. 256-263