Black Futures Symposium

Black Futures Symposium: Black Ecologies

Join the Black Studies Colloquium for its inaugural Black Futures symposium, sponsored by the Baruch College Office of the Provost, CUNY’s Black, Race, and Ethnic Studies Initiative (BRESI), and Baruch College’s Black and Latino Studies Department. This year our  theme is “Black Ecologies.” This symposium features presentations from activists and scholars discussing a range of interpretations of Black Ecologies as thought and practice emerging from the study of geography, social history, effects of climate change or disruptions in the social and natural world, and the ways Black people have created their own environments to protect themselves. 

Black Futures Scholars: Student Research and Award Opportunity

Following the symposium, there is an opportunity for students to become Black Futures Scholars. As Black Futures Scholars, students will create creative and critical responses to the symposium in the form of researched blog posts, podcasts, and video blogs. There will be in-person and online workshops to support the development of responses.  Black Futures Scholars will receive a cash award for their contributions. Students interested in becoming scholars are encouraged to attend the symposium. If you cannot attend the full symposium, access to recordings of events will be made available at a later date.

Topics include:

  • Land Displacement and Disputes
  • Global Climate Justice
  • African Technology and Innovation
  • Equitable Disaster Recovery (relief for natural disasters like hurricanes, heatwaves, and water scarcity)
  • Climate Migration

          and more…


Thursday 1:00 pm-2:30 pm (EST) October 13, 2022 Cristina Sturmer, activist, and researcher with Brazil’s Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST), Landless Rural Workers Movement. 

Cristina Sturmer is a researcher and activist of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) based in the Santa Maria Settlement in Paranacity, a municipality in the state of Paraná in the Southern Region of Brazil. Sturmer received her BA in Economic Sciences with training in Cooperativism and Development from the Federal University of Fronteira Sul (UFFS) and her MA in Agroecology and Sustainable Rural Development from the same institution. She was a Substitute Professor in Economic Theory at UFFS Campus Laranjeiras do Sul, systematizing the Cantuquiriguaçu Agroecology Network through a project developed by the National Agroecology Articulation (ANA). She is also a member of the October 4th of the Emergency Brigade of Solidarity with the Mozambican people. Currently, she is on the board of the Vitória Agricultural Production Cooperative (COPAVI) and coordinates the FINAPOP project department, both linked to the MST. Projects developed in the area of Public Policies for Territorial Development, Agrarian Reform, Solidarity Economy, and Agroecology with emphasis on women’s groups, agro-industries, quilombola communities, and Guarani indigenous people.

This session is will be moderated by Professor Rojo Robles, Black and Latino Studies, Baruch College.


Thursday 3:30pm -5:00 pm (EST)  October 13, 2022, Colette Pichon Battle, Esq., activist and researcher with Taproot, a global climate justice organization.

Colette Pichon Battle is a generational native of Bayou Liberty, Louisiana. She founded the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy and led the development of programming focused on equitable climate disaster recovery, global migration, community economic development, and energy democracy for more than 17 years in the Gulf South. Colette now serves as the Partner of Vision & Initiatives at Taproot Earth, a global climate justice organization working for a world where all people can live, rest and thrive in the places they love.  She serves on the governance council of the Southern Movement Assembly, co-chairs the national Water Equity and Climate Resilient Caucus with PolicyLink, serves on the steering committee of the Ocean Justice Forum, and is a lead architect of the 5-state, multi-issue initiative Gulf South for a Green New Deal. Colette also helped to develop the 13-state Southern Communities for Green New Deal with the Southeast Climate & Energy Network and the Red, Black & Green New Deal, the national climate initiative with the Movement for Black Lives. In 2022, Colette received the William O. Douglas Award- recognizing individuals who have made outstanding use of the legal/judicial process to achieve environmental goals, particularly those with national significance. Her TED Talk on climate migration was ranked in the top 10 TED talks of 2020. And she was named a 2019 Obama Fellow for her work with Black and Native communities.

This presentation will be moderated by Professor Erica Richardson, English, Baruch College.


Friday,  11:00 am-12:30 pm (EST) October 14, 2022, Nisrin Elamin, PhD,  Anthropology Department, New College, the University of Toronto.

Nisrin Elamin received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Stanford University in 2020. Her doctoral research was an ethnographic examination of the ways Saudi and Emirati corporate investments in land reconfigured everyday social relations between landless and landholding stakeholders in central Sudan. Through support from the Social Science Research Council, Wenner-Gren, and the National Science Foundation she conducted research in local courts, farming communities, investor conferences, agribusiness farms, government ministries, and in the mosques of Sufi religious leaders mediating land disputes in the aftermath of large-scale land enclosures. Nisrin has published scholarly articles in Critical African Studies and the Project on Middle East Political Science Journal. She has also published a number of op-eds for Al Jazeera, Pambazuka News, Okay Africa, and the Cultural Anthropology Hot Spot Series.

This session will be  moderated by Professor Keisha Allan, Black and Latino Studies, Baruch College


Friday, 1:00-2:30pm (EST) October 14, 2022, Chakanetsa Mavhunga, PhD, Science, Technology, and Society Department at MIT.

Chakanetsa Mavhunga is a full professor of Science, Technology, and Society at MIT. His latest book is entitled Knowledge in the Service of and through Problem-solving (out early 2023) and is the first in his Dare To Invent the Future trilogy to be published with MIT Press. His professional interests lie in the history, theory, and practice of science, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the international context, with a focus on Africa. Prof. Mavhunga joined MIT as a tenure-track assistant professor in 2008 after completing his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan. His previous books include Transient Workspaces: Technologies of Everyday Innovation in Zimbabwe (MIT Press, 2014), the edited volume entitled What Do Science, Technology, and Innovation Mean from Africa? and The Mobile Workshop: The Tsetse Fly and African Knowledge Production (MIT Press, 2018). He also convenes the Graduate Super-Seminar on Global South Cosmologies & Epistemologies alongside distinguished theorists from the Global South. He characterizes his work as knowledge in the service of and through problem-solving, wherein theory is a product of and informs an ethic of ‘responsibility to community,’ so that especially faculty and students from marginalized communities carry their communities’ priorities to shape what they do on campus, while drawing the university to communities, to engage in learning-and-solving-at-the-intersection of multiple forms of knowing. Prof. Mavhunga will draw from this ongoing work in Zimbabwe and western Massachusetts for his talk.

This session will be moderated by Professor Shelly Eversley, Chair of Black and Latino Studies, Baruch College.

To Register for these Events on Zoom, please click here: Black Futures Symposium: Black Ecologies 2022

For inquiries, email either Erica Richardson at