Beyond sugar and shackles

Geri Augusto
14 Jul 2018
Suitable for:
Free drop-in event, no need to book

Plant-based knowledge, textiles and gardens of the enslaved

This free talk by Geri Augusto will draw upon the author's research and practice regarding subjugated knowledges (knowledges of the enslaved and of indigenous peoples, especially) in the USA, Brazil and South Africa, focusing on plantations, hard-won plots and textiles of servitude and resistance, as well as recent artworks, exhibitions and "techno-tales" that she conceived, to suggest how objects, particularly plants and things made from them (food, medicines, textiles) might tell different stories about slavery, the slave trade and the enslaved, particularly women, in ways that do not rob them of subjectivity, reconfigure what we think about the Industrial Revolution, cotton and indigo - and may also lead to new insights for other disciplines and fields of inquiry.


Geri Augusto is Gerard Visiting Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs and Africana Studies at Brown University (USA) and a Watson Institute Faculty Fellow. She is interested in epistemologies of practice, subjugated knowledges, histories of science and technology, science and technology policy in the Global South, and the praxis of radical Black transnationalism, especially in the USA, Brazil and Southern Africa.

Augusto has published widely on all her interests, including chapters in 'What Do Science, Technology, Innovation Mean from Africa?' (C Mavhunga, Ed, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2017), and in 'The Road to Democracy: International Solidarity', Vol. 3 (SADET, Pretoria, 2018).

Her current projects are a multimodal book, 'Plant Thoughts', and 'Kalunga Letters', an annotated volume of Black activist mother-daughter correspondence over 20 years. Augusto’s public humanities projects include the assemblages 'Plants of Bondage/Liberation Flora' and 'Negro Cloth Nkisi', as well as the symbolic slave garden at Brown’s Center for Study of Slavery and Justice.

A Fulbright scholar in Brazil, she collaborates in Salvador, Bahia with the Instituto Steve Biko para Educaçao e Cultura. Augusto is one of the editors of a multimedia US Southern Freedom Movement history from-the-inside-out, at