Past Events

“Racial Capitalocene: Ecology and Abolition” - Live Q&A with T. J. Demos

Conference, Lecture – T. J. Demos

  • 25 November 2020
  • 4:00 – 4:40 pm
  • An event as part of the multi-part conference programme 'British Art and Natural Forces'
  • Online Event

T. J. Demos will be live on Zoom to answer your questions about his video lecture entitled “Racial Capitalocene: Ecology and Abolition”, which will be released on 19 November as part of the 'British Art and Natural Forces' series.

Demos' presentation begins with consideration of Infinity Minus Infinity, the 2019 speculative film by the Otolith Group, as a portal into a discussion and critical consideration of the conference’s conceptual framework, one that expands to vital questions of socio-environmental methodologies emerging in ecocritical art, visual culture, and politico-ecological analysis today. Within the latter, the status of ‘nature’ is thoroughly conflicted: it’s been questioned and even opposed by those who see it as a discursive vehicle for ideological forces (as a mode of naturalization, whether of gender or race, capitalism or nationality); and displaced and hybridized by others who view its discreet identity and presumed separateness from culture no longer ontologically viable in an Anthropocene geological era of deep entanglements. In considering the sixteenth century’s Anthropocene emergence as inextricable from colonial capitalism and Indigenous genocide, and linking that deep history to more recent dramas of Britain’s ‘hostile environment’ of xenophobic migration policy in the afterlife of slavery, Infinity Minus Infinity goes further still. Disrupting nature and nationality alike, even while uncovering how each has been reproduced in the other to violent effect, it names the racial Capitalocene as a more compelling political geology, one that demands an abolitionist critical framework of response, where social, environmental, and racial justice coincide. Answering that call, the presentation also considers the radical chronopolitics of Black Quantum Futurism and the Indigenous futurism of Thirza Jean Cuthand, each of which expands our conceptions of abolitionist ecologies and broadens the stakes of current socio-environmental artistic horizons.

Listings caption: The Otolith Group, Infinity Minus Infinity, 2019 (still)

Guidelines for users attending Zoom webinars

Before the webinar

  • Please download Zoom software in advance.
  • Please register to attend the Research Lunch webinar through Eventbrite.
  • We will share the link to the Zoom webinar with you in advance by email through Eventbrite.
  • If you require closed captioning during this event, please get in touch at least two weeks before the event date.
  • If you have not received the Zoom link by 3pm the day before the event please get in touch as soon as possible via [email protected].

During the event

  • Paul Mellon Centre staff hosting the event will employ the appropriate security features to help ensure that events and meetings operate safely.• There will be a waiting room feature that allows the host to control when all participants join the meeting.
  • You will be automatically muted when you join the webinar and can only communicate verbally if the host unmutes you.
  • There will be a brief introduction and recap of the series followed by the Q&A will last for c. 45 minutes and the chair will prompt discussion.
  • How to ask questions:
  • Use the Q&A box to ask/write your questions
  • You can also use the virtual Raise Hand button if you have a question/comment to make by audio.
  • Use Chat box to make comments
  • If you are experiencing any technical problems, please notify Ella Fleming (events manager) or Danielle Convey (events assistant) directly using the chat box function. Alternatively you can email them via [email protected].
  • The Paul Mellon Centre will not take photographs of this event and participants are requested likewise not to do so.
  • This session will be recorded for educational and research purposes. The recording may be made available on the Centre’s website and via YouTube. It will be stored indefinitely in the Centre’s Institutional Archive.
  • Any offensive behaviour will not be tolerated and attendees can be removed from the webinar by the host.


The Paul Mellon Centre is aware of its obligations under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and is committed to processing your data securely and transparently.

For more information on how the Centre processes personal information see our privacy policy:

For more information on Zoom’s compliance with EU GDPR see:

About the speaker

  • T. J. Demos is an award-winning writer on contemporary art, global politics, and ecology. He is the Patricia and Rowland Rebele Endowed Chair in Art History in the Department of the History of Art and Visual Culture, at University of California, Santa Cruz, and founding Director of its Center for Creative Ecologies. Demos is the author of numerous books, including Against the Anthropocene: Visual Culture and Environment Today(Sternberg Press, 2017); Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology(Sternberg Press, 2016); The Migrant Image: The Art and Politics of Documentary During Global Crisis (Duke University Press, 2013) – winner of the College Art Association’s 2014 Frank Jewett Mather Award – and Return to the Postcolony: Spectres of Colonialism in Contemporary Art (Sternberg Press, 2013). Demos co-curated Rights of Nature: Art and Ecology in the Americas, at Nottingham Contemporary in January 2015, and organized Specters: A Ciné-Politics of Haunting, at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid in 2014. During 2019–21, with the Center for Creative Ecologies, and as a Getty research institute scholar, he’s working on a Mellon-funded research project, art exhibition, and book project dedicated to the questions: what comes after the end of the world, and how can we cultivate futures of social justice within capitalist ruins? His new publication, Beyond the World’s End: Arts of Living at the Crossing was recently released by Duke University Press.