7 January 2021

Visiting scholar

Denise Ferreira da Silva

From January to April 2021 Black Feminist Scholar Denise Ferreira da Silva will be a visiting professor at the Art as Forum research center. 

We have invited Denise Ferreira da Silva for a joined research into the grammar and effects of raciality in aesthetic theory (outline below). Da Silva will provide two public lectures:

  • Tangible Possibility. Keynote at the conference Aesthetic Relations, January 21st from 7 - 9 pm.
  • Lecture in the Forum Lectures series, April 27th from 5 – 7 pm.

Further on, da Silva will conduct a research working group with the affiliated Art as Forum researchers and associated peers. Here is the research focus for the working group described:

On Sensibility: Groundwork for a Material Aesthetics

The plan is to clear the path for an approach to the aesthetic that foregrounds sensibility, in its broadest sense. The target here is, obviously, Immanuel Kant’s move, one which happens very early in his Critique of the Pure Judgment, but which is also already announced in Critique of Pure Reason. The move can be described as the distinction between sensibility and subjectivity; on the one hand, sensibility refers to the moment of engagement with the things of the world, which affect the human in the moment of knowledge, as appearances, that is, as already apprehended by the pure (transcendental) intuitions of time and space. On the other hand, subjectivity refers to the moment of engagement with impressions or representations of the things of the world (including the human itself), but here through the most fundamental mediation, which is that of the pure intuition of time—as the determinant of the inner sense and of the unification of appearances and their representations under concepts—which supports the Kantian statement that knowing is but determinacy. Undermining this distinction, that is, both the terms and the separation of sensibility and subjectivity, is, in my view, a crucial move towards dissipating the effects of the power of raciality and the juridic, economic, and ethical architectures it supports.

About Denise Ferreira da Silva


An academic and practicing artist, Professor 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, 2021) 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. `

Currently, she is an Adjunct Professor of Fine Arts at Monash University, Australia, and a Visiting Professor at the Social Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also 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.