Africa in Our Lives: Sophie Sapp Moore

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Sophie Sapp Moore

Sophie Sapp Moore is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow for Research on the Plantationocene (2018-2020), affiliated with the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, CHE, and the Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies. Sophie earned her PhD from UC Davis in 2018, in Cultural Studies with a Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory. Sophie is an interdisciplinary political ecologist, whose research addresses the intersection between processes of political and environmental transformation in the agrarian socio-ecologies of the Caribbean. Her current book project, tentatively titled Futures Otherwise: Radical Life in the Counterplantation, focuses an ethnographic and historical lens on the emergence and contestation of radical Black geographies in Haiti’s central borderlands since the early 19th century.


Sophie Sapp Moore in the field (2016)

Beginning in January 2019, the 18-month Sawyer Seminar will open at UW-Madison on the topic of “Interrogating the Plantationocene.” With generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and support from the Center for the Humanities, the Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies, and the Nelson Institute’s Center for Culture, History, and Environment, this seminar will be devoted to an interdisciplinary examination of the past and present of plantations, their materialities, the economic, ecological, and political transformations they have wrought, and their significance to the making of human bodies, capitalism, and land over the course of four centuries. Anthropologists, artists, environmental scientists, geographers, historians, literary scholars, and sociologists, among others, will explore and deepen the concept of the Plantationocene. Other organizers of the exhibition include Monique Allewaert, Associate Professor of English, Pablo Gómez, Associate Professor of History and the History of Medicine, and Gregg Mitman, Vilas Research and William Coleman Professor of History, Medical History, and Environmental Studies.

The Seminar will focus on putting the Plantationocene concept in dialogue with two other ways of naming our epoch: the Anthropocene and the Capitalocene. Seminar programming will comprise a series of public talks, a graduate course, and a series of workshops with invited guests (pre-registration required). Participants from all disciplines are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Attendance at pre-registered seminars will be limited to 30 participants, with priority given to graduate students enrolled in the course. Participants will be expected to attend all three Friday seminars. To express interest in attending Friday seminars or to have your questions answered about events, please send an email to

You can find information about the Sawyer Seminar here. To receive information and updates about the Sawyer Seminar, please subscribe to the istserv:

See the full program here >> 


By Aberdeen Leary