Black Feminism & Ancestral Ways of Knowing

Image: private/Cassandra Ellerbe.


Black Feminism & Ancestral Ways of Knowing

A workshop by Cassandra Ellerbe on African diasporic and shamanic practices

Black/African diasporic feminists/womanists (meaning all that identify as such) have often looked to spirituality and ancestral ways of knowing for their work, sustenance and empowerment while navigating the societal complexities and challenges brought about by the history of oppression. Black feminist scholar bell hooks (now an ancestor) often spoke about the necessity of “living a life in the spirit” and how crucial this was/is for Black women to tap into their “Divine” essence and nurture our spiritual selves. Here, spirituality references the recognition of the existence of “something or a force” that extends beyond our human perception, and speaks to and acknowledges the divinity within us all.

This workshop evolved from Ellerbe's current research that examines African diasporic and shamanic practices such as Kemetic Yoga/ Smai Tawi along with aspects of the system of Ifá among a select group of Black diasporic feminists located in Berlin, Germany. Ellerbe asserts that these practices can be considered decolonial forms of resistance.


Cassandra Ellerbe completed a PhD in Comparative Cultural Studies and Anthropology in 2006 at the University of Ghent, Belgium and has worked as a researcher on migration and gender related issues in several EU research projects. In 2015 she worked as a co-curator for the exhibition “(K)ein Platz an der Sonne- “No Place in the Sun” – Humboldt Lab Dahlem Ethnological Museum, Berlin Germany and was a Fellow at (2015-2016) BIGSAS (Bayreuth School of African Studies). From February 2016 till May 2019, she worked as a Job Placement Officer with Team180/ Flucht & Asyl at the Agentur für Arbeit - Berlin Süd while lecturing on social justice & diversity as a faculty member at Bard College Berlin. 2019-2021 Cassandra worked as a Senior Researcher and Communication Manager at the Berlin University of Technology in the Interreg Central Europe project “SIforRef: Integrating Refugees into Society and the Labour Market Through Social Innovation” (2019-2022). Cassandra held the position as Officer for Diversity & Inclusivity at the University of Bremen, Germany in the EU project YUFE (Young Universities for the Future of Europe) from April 2021 - November 2022. In addition to her academic research, Cassandra is a certified diversity, social justice and embodied social justice trainer, Smai Tawi/Kemetic Yoga teacher, and conducts internationally empowerment workshops for migrant and refugee women of colour. She serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Berlin NGO Frauenloop & Chairperson of the Board SUSI Interkulturelles Frauenzentrum, and is passionate about empowering and supporting migrant and refugee women of colour in reaching their fullest potential.


This is a closed event. If you have any questions about this event, please contact Yasmin Guillén Lange. Press inquiries can be made here.

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