CES Summer School

Endangered Theories: Standing by Critical Race Theory in the Age of Ultra-Violence

18-22 July 2022

CES | Alta (plus other locations in Coimbra, PT)


The idea of proposing the summer school ‘Endangered Theories’ stems from three concurrences. The first one has been unfolding worldwide, from the United States to Europe and Australia, right-wingers’ desire to restore a conservative social order has manifested in a concerted attack against what they purport Critical Race Theory (CRT) is. By positing what is defacto a niche of critical legal theory as either a harmful pedagogy for white pupils, or a form of anti-white racism, or, at best, as a highly divisive ideology, a disparate array of enraged right-wing parents, pundits and politicians, have successfully leveraged the latest salvo against anti-racist social movements, Black Lives Matter (BLM) in primis. In the USA, no less than twenty-two states have sought to pass legislation banning or limiting the teaching of race and racism in schools or universities. In Australia, where the attack against CRT was mounted by the same politician who rallied against the teaching of gender in schools, it renewed the legitimacy of the white hegemonic status quo. In France, it has lent a new rationale for state representatives to oppose scrutinizing its national history, political values and identity. In Italy, where the far right and radical right politicians have been rallying against migrants and no-border activists for years, it re-asserted that the ‘nation’ is ‘white and ‘in danger.’

The second occurrence has taken place in Europe, where both the Black Lives Matter movement and racial inequities that the Covid-19 global pandemic brought in sharp relief led to the launch of the Action Plan Against Racism (APAR) in the spring of 2020. As the chair of The European Network Against Racism (ENAR), Karen Taylor, stated in the wake of its launch, APAR constitutes the very first European normative document that ‘explicitly acknowledges the existence of structural, institutional and historical dimensions of racism in Europe’ as well as the necessity of addressing them by adopting a critical race and intersectional approach. Not incidentally, the attacks against CRT are taking place at the same time as anti-racist organisations put renewed pressure on the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to enforce the recommendations of APAR, including involving racial and ethnic minorities in European policymaking, and redressing European national histories of colonialism, enslavement and genocide.

The third occurrence has unfolded in Portugal. Following a string of racially motivated crimes that culminated in the murder of Bruno Candé in July 2020, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Dunja Mijatović, issued the Memorandum on combating racism and violence against women in Portugal. In this document, Mijatović urged the Portuguese government to ‘acknowledge the legacy of the repressive structures put in place by past colonial policies’ and to identify and correct ‘ingrained racist biases and their present-day ramifications’. Heeding this request, the National Plan Against Racism and Discrimination (NPARD) was launched in 2021 presenting ‘intersectionality’ and deconstruction of ‘stereotypes’ as its guiding principles. Albeit nowhere in the NPARD is clarified how exactly CRT will inform the anti-racist interventions of the state, well-known right-wing pundits have systematically attacked CRT inspired scholarship and activism.

Because of these occurrences, CRT has been in the public eye, at the same time, as a dangerous political ideology and as a suitable tool to redress racism. In the first instance, CRT has operated as an empty signifier, by which right-wingers have conflated affirmative actions with multiculturalism, wokeism, identity politics, political correctness, and cancel culture. In the second instance, CRT has worked as an anti-racism tool, by which activists have advanced their demands for social justice. Either way, no comprehensive explanation has been offered about what CRT is, how it distinguishes itself from and/ or relates with other theoretical paradigms concerned with race and racism and, more importantly, if and how it accounts for the various ways in which racialized minorities have been oppressed from country to country in Europe and elsewhere.

The summer school ‘Endangered Theories’ addresses these questions through a programme that mixes introductory lectures on relevant theoretical paradigms concerned with the intersections of power relations and social divisions that are structured by race, gender, class, and nationality with lectures that illustrate their application in a variety of national contexts (e.g., UK, Italy, Portugal, USA, and South Africa), roundtables with experts, workshops with participants, and social events. Each day is dedicated to one of the five selected models: CRT; Critical Whiteness Studies; Postcolonial Europe; Afro-Pessimism; and Settler Colonial Studies. Besides reflecting the expertise of the organisers, these paradigms afford prospective participants the opportunity to approach standing debates with new theoretical lenses. Afro-Pessimism and Settler Colonial Studies, for instance, have been rarely deployed to examine the various phases of the Portuguese empire, let alone the formation of its national myths and identities.

Responsible researchers / coordinators:
Gaia Giuliani (CES), Maria Elena Indelicato (CES), and João Figueiredo (CEDIS) |  Executive assistant: Carla Panico (CES).


Teaching Team

Alana Lentin, Associate Professor, Institute for Culture and Society (ICS), Western Sydney University
Ana Cristina Pereira, Researcher, Centre for Social Studies (CES), University of Coimbra
Annalisa Frisina, University of Padova
Carla Panico, PhD student, Centre for Social Studies (CES), University of Coimbra.
Cristiano Gianolla, Researcher, Centre for Social Studies (CES), University of Coimbra
David Marriott, Acting Professor, Charles T. Winship Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, Emory University.
Erin Torkelson, Lecturer, Department of Geography, Durham University.
Gaia Giuliani, Researcher, Centre for Social Studies (CES), University of Coimbra / Associate Professor in Political Philosophy (ASN 2017, Italy).
João Figueiredo, Researcher, (CEDIS), Nova University.
Júlia Garraio, Researcher, Centre for Social Studies (CES), University of Coimbra
Leopold Podlashuc, Lecturer, Department of History, Durham University.
Linette Park, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of African American Studies, Emory University.
Luciane Lucas dos Santos, Researcher, Centre for Social Studies (CES), University of Coimbra
Maíra Magalhães Lopes, Researcher, Centre for Social Studies (CES), University of Coimbra
Maria Elena Indelicato, Researcher, Centre for Social Studies (CES), University of Coimbra.
Meera Sabaratnam, Reader in International Relations, SFHEA, Leverhulme Research Fellow 2021-23, Politics & International Studies, SOAS
Ruba Salih, Director of Research, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, and Chair of the Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies, SOAS.
Sérgio Barbosa, Researcher, Centre for Social Studies (CES) University of Coimbra, and Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS), Bochum, Germany
Silvia Roque, Researcher, Centre for Social Studies (CES), University of Coimbra

School Format

Mixed Face to Face and Online, in accordance with Covid-19 traveling restrictions.

During the morning sessions, invited international speakers will introduce the following theoretical paradigms:

First day: Critical Race Theory;
Second day: Critical Whiteness Studies;
Third day: Postcolonial Europe;
Fourth day: Afro-Pessimism;
Fifth day: Settler Colonial Studies.

The 2 hours guest lectures will be followed by a 1 hour Q&A session, during which prospective participants will engage in conversation with the guest lecturers of the day, discuss their research projects and work, as well as engage with each others’ perspectives.

During the afternoon sessions, invited national speakers will illustrate how the previously introduced theoretical models are of great assistance to understand how different forms of racism unfold in several national contexts (e.g. Italy, Brazil and Portugal). These guest lectures will last 1 hour and half and be followed by either a roundtable with national speakers or by a session of research and work presentations made by selected participants and commented by the invited speakers of the day.

During the evening sessions, invited speakers and participants will be given the opportunity to socialise in a non-institutional environment and network with the researchers of CES and the University of Coimbra more broadly.

Target participants: post-graduate students in the social sciences and humanities, political activists and members of NGOs in the field of anti-racism and human rights, school teachers in the fields of Sociology, History and Geography, journalists, social workers and policymakers.

Selection process: prospective participants who want to present either their research or their work are invited to write to the summer school organisers. In the email, please indicate a brief abstract (maximum 250 words), short bio (maximum 150 words), and the speakers you would like to engage with your work. On the basis of this information, the organisers will schedule your presentation and inform you accordingly.

Application Process (April 30, 2022):
Notification of Acceptance (May 7, 2022)

Registration Fees:
Early Birds Registration (May 31, 2022)
Paid staff members: 150
Self-financed/students: 120

Regular Registration (June 30, 2022)
Paid staff members: 200
Self-financed/students: 200

Fee waiver
Three fee waivers will be granted upon request (see application form below)

The registration fee include participation in seminars, roundtables, film screening, and social events, reading materials and coffee-breaks. The organisers endeavoured to keep the summer school as accessible as possible. Invited lecturers do not receive honoraria. PhD students are encouraged to apply for funding at their institution and present their work at the summer school.


UNpacking POPulism: Comparing the formation of emotion narratives and their effects on political behaviour (UNPOP; PTDC/CPO-CPO/3850/2020); Inter-Thematic Group on Migration (ITM); Doctoral Programme ‘Democracy in the Twenty-first Century’ (CES-UC); O Holocausto em português: um repositório dinâmico de recursos educativos (FACC 21/7/9); Il Razzismo é Una Brutta Storia



Working anguages: English and Portuguese | Maximum and minimum number of participants: 25 and 20 respectively.


For further information, please email to

Photography © João Figueiredo | Art Intervention, Parque Popular, Saint Thomas, Saint Thomas, and Prince, 2021


Covid-19 Contingency Plan:

In the case in which Covid-19 continues to affect travelling plans, all the international speakers will be delivering their lectures via Zoom.
In the case in which the global pandemic continues to affect hosting events in person, all the national speakers will be delivering their contributions via Zoom. In this last scenario, the planned social events will be also cancelled and replaced by Zoom working group sessions. All speakers will be offered a honorarium to compensate them for their time and registration fees for participants lowered.


Coimbra is a vibrant touristic city and touristic that offers a wide arrange of affordable accommodations. This offer includes several high standards hostels. Please check the links below and plan your stay accordingly.

Change the World Hostels, Coimbra

Pousadas da Juventude, Coimbra

Coimbra Portagem Hostel, Coimbra

Penedo da Saudade - Suites & Hostel, Coimbra

Canteens | The University of Coimbra is dotted with canteens that provide affordable and healthy meals. Please check the link and plan your stay accordingly.

About Programme   Accommodation