Black Feminism and the Polycrisis: Configuring a Novel Solution Space Through Intersectional Methodology

Photo by Tourmaline, Pollinator (still), 2022 Read more

2023/24 Call for Fellows
2023/24 Call for Fellows

Black Feminism and the Polycrisis: Configuring a Novel Solution Space Through Intersectional Methodology


How can we use the unique insights and intersectional methods of Black feminism to respond to the complexities of the contemporary polycrisis?


Polycrisis is the word being used to diagnose some of the most important global concerns of our times. The Financial Times designated 2022 “the year of the polycrisis,” and defined polycrisis as the “collective term for interlocking and simultaneous crises of an environmental, geopolitical and economic nature.” While the diagnosis is certainly apt, much of the current analysis of the solution space focuses too narrowly on the consequences of the polycrisis while overlooking the systemic reasons that fuel it in the first place. There is a need for critical interventions and expanded views.

Black feminism has developed tools such as intersectionality which illuminate our world and offer new ways of co-existence. Intersectionality involves thinking about interlocking domains of power - and the way out of polycrisis requires such a multi-perspectival tool that travels in the complexity of relational patterns and systems. In this project, we aim to extend the kaleidoscopic toolbox of Black feminism by spelling out a heuristics for a novel solution space to the polycrisis.

By drawing on intersectional models, we bring a novel “polycritical” and “epistemically polyamorous” approach to the polycrisis. We will work along three dimensions: (1) develop intersectional theory and praxis including Global South perspectives, (2) formulate critical arguments about the polycrisis and its relationship to Europatriarchal systems of domination, and (3) offer concrete, imaginative visions for a better future based on applications of intersectional methodology to the polycrisis.


Minna Salami
Minna is a feminist author, social critic, and researcher with interests in the politics of knowledge production, feminist theory, and contemporary African thought. She is the author of Sensuous Knowledge, a frequently sought essayist and commentator, and has presented talks at prominent institutions such as the UN, EU, and Yale University, among others.

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On the basis of humanistic and social-scientific reflection on human becoming in the 21st century, THE NEW INSTITUTE develops concrete visions of future socio-economic and political realities. We gather thinkers and practitioners with interdisciplinary and intercultural backgrounds in academia, politics, business, media, the arts, and technology around projects that effect positive social change.


Scholars from the humanities and social sciences or practitioners in politics, business, art, media, or journalism with a commitment to the mission of THE NEW INSTITUTE, expertise in a field related to this project, and interest in collaborating across our programs. Individuals with expertise in global feminism and intersectionality, as well as those working in fields of qualitative and quantitative research, e.g., with backgrounds in feminist pragmatism or feminist methodologies are especially encouraged to apply.


Actively participate in the collaborative fellow work concerning the project.



During our selection process, finalists are expected to attend a selection workshop at our premises in Hamburg. Travel costs are covered. The workshop is essential to form a coherent fellow group. Please only apply if you can attend the workshop which will take place on May 25, 2023.


Please send your application as a single pdf to

  • Letter of motivation (3 pages max), including statement of relevant fit to the call;
  • CV (please include in the header: current address, including time zone, current affiliation, last university or higher education degree including the institution from which you received the degree, nationality, gender, cell phone number, and the title of your proposed project)

For further information (including what we offer), click here and direct any questions to


Tourmaline is an artist, writer and transgender activist who uses video and photography to create elaborate scenes celebrating LGBTQI+ movements and queer culture. Influenced by scholar Saidiya Hartman's concept of 'critical fabulation', Tourmaline uses fiction and speculation to (re)write marginalized histories erased from official sources. In "Pollinator" (2022), Tourmaline dons early twentieth-century costumes while wandering through the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Edwardian period rooms at the Brooklyn Museum. The scenes are interspersed with archival footage of Marsha P. Johnson, a Stonewall activist and founder of Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR). Tourmaline acts as a "pollinator," carrying matter on her clothes, while the work celebrates Johnson's nurturing role in the gender non-conforming and trans community. Through joyful storytelling, Tourmaline's work evokes "freedom dreaming," imagining an alternative history and future for Black transgender communities.

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