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School of Geography

Professor Kathryn Yusoff


Professor of Inhuman Geography

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 8922
Room Number: Geography Building, Room 110


I am a transdisciplinary geographer focused on inhuman geographies. I understand the inhuman as a place from which to think about earthly relations and inhumane histories. Theoretically, I engage historical, geophilosophical and black feminist methods to speak to issues of environmental change, empires of geologic practices and the politics of planetary states. 

Specifically, I am interested in the role of inhuman epistemologies in race, gender, and subjectivity for more equitable environmental world-building.


My teaching builds on my ongoing pedagogical commitment of decolonizing geography, through a focus on the examination of unequal environments. Modules engage how pedagogic encounter is racial, social-economic and gendered in relation to normative understandings of ability and disability, and therefore insists that acknowledging students’ life experiences outside of the classroom is crucial to their participation, as well as extending those experiences through an approach of geographical expansiveness.


Current modules

GEG5142 Colonial Lives & Afterlives

GEG5156 Advanced Methods Geographical Practice (Theory)

New for 2024/5 *Race & Environment*

GEG7120 Geographical Thought & Practice



Previous modules

GEG4005 People and the Environment

GEG5227 The Anthropocene: Between natural and social sciences

GEG6141 New York: Nature in the City (Fieldtrip)


Research Interests:

Geologies of Race

Understanding geology and race as modes of historical planetary transformation and social change involves a conceptualization of geologic life and subjectivity. This empirical and theoretical research has sort to show how colonial earth practices, overseen by the discipline of geology, transformed the planet into a global entity organized by practices of extraction and racial subjugation. I locate the histories of race and geology as co-terminus and therefore inextricably linked in questions of justice, world making, subject deforming and future building. Geologic Life shows the processes by which race and racialization emerged geologically and shape a contemporary political terrain of power and environments defined by racial geologies.


This work has been published in journal articles and in two monographs: A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None (University of Minnesota Press, 2019) and Geologic Life: Inhuman intimacies and the Geophysics of Race (Duke University Press, 2024).


Read the introduction to Geologic Life here:




The Inhumanities is an ongoing call for epistemic change that argues the need for a new institute of the ‘Inhumanities’ to recenter who and what the humanities has chosen to overlook in its stories of the earth. The Inhumanities addresses how the bones of geology and the stratigraphic imagination structured Enlightenment thought and its dreams of the world. Alongside the emergence of the humanist subject, geology ushered in a subject birthed within its elemental grammar: the inhuman. Interned in the geographical imperatives and desires of colonial conquest, the dual natality of the inhuman as both a category of matter and race, set in place a material praxis of anti-Blackness, anti-Indigenous and anti-Browness. Caught up in the ontological wake of the afterlives of violent colonial geologies, the Inhumanities engages with the forced intimacies of the inhuman and its racialized axis of extraction as another set of earth practices.

I am co-director of the Co-Director of Forum on DeCentering the Human in HSS.



Planetary Portals

How do we engage with the colonial present and repair the epistmic violence of representation and environmental devastation? The Planetary Portals Collective (Kerry Holden, Casper Laing Ebbensgaard, Micheal Salu & Kathryn Yusoff) examines these colonial afterlives of extractive industries in southern Africa, drawing attention to their social and environmental costs across the continent. We investigate how colonial dreams of Empire have been and still are sustained through ‘changes of states’ exemplified in today’s mining of rare earth elements (REEs) and their transformation into the digital data infrastructures of techno-utopian futures. Colonialism is an ongoing material present that requires counter-poetics, which challenge its planetary passage and modes of affective and material reproduction.


The Planetary Portals project dives into the time-space praxis of colonial history and the on-going shadows of its worlding, the group explores the process of taking this portal apart – destabilising points of stabilisation, and disrupting legacies of time and space that hold.

Live streaming of “Diamond Power: Diabolical Architectures of Colonialism” at Transmediale is available here:

Planetary Portals in Planetary Portals in Gropius Bau Journal  and FOAM Environmental Issue


A full list of publications is available at PubLists.


I am interested in supervising students who explore questions related to the environment and race with interdisciplinary approaches across critical theory, black and brown geologies/ecologies and the environmental humanities.

Current PhD students

  • Matthew Beach
  • Imani Jacqueline Brown
  • Therese Koegh (external)

Past PhD students

  • Laura Mariana Reyes Carranza
  • Kate Lewis-Hood
  • Charlotte Wrigley
  • Alexandra Boyle
  • Francisco Gallardo
  • Helen Pritchard
  • Jean De Pomereu

Public Engagement

I have developed a body of work that is interdisciplinary and international in its conversations on the Anthropocene, geology, and race within the broader fields of humanities and social studies of planetary change. Within those interdisciplinary fields I speak in many cultural forums on colonial extraction and epistemic violence and creative strategies to dismantle and reimagine the earth at the level of language, and in the context of geographical imaginaries and social theory.

In my academic scholarship, artistic, and pedagogical engagements, I have sought to define a new field in geologic subjectivity and understanding of the connection between geology and race. My research foregrounds the need for the recognition of discipline shifting research and interdisciplinary engagement with the issues of environmental justice and race. I seek to create community and critical practice around historic and contemporary Black and Brown environmentalisms.


I have a long history in public engagement, mainly focused on the arts and interdisciplinary approaches to environmental change, racial climates, and extraction. I began my research career by organizing meetings between arts and sciences around climate change 20 years ago to make space for debates and communicate environmental knowledge in public. Since then, I have been involved with libraries, arts organisations, science organisations, film collaborations, school pedagogy and was Academic Lead on Re/Sisters: A Lens on Gender and Ecology, Barbican Major Exhibition, Oct 2023 —Jan 2024.

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