• Faculty

  • Romy Opperman

    Assistant Professor of Philosophy


    Office Location
    D - 6 East 16th Street

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    Romy Opperman


    My research bridges Africana, continental, decolonial, environmental, and feminist philosophy to foreground issues of racism and colonialism for environmental ethics and justice. Specifically, my work is oriented by eco-philosophies that trouble theories of justice inherited from liberal political philosophy, and by ontological politics and practices of freedom operative in racial ecologies, place-based movements, and struggles over land. My research also contributes to continental philosophy and critical theory by examining how Africana and decolonial philosophy repurpose aspects of the former traditions for their own ends.

    I understand philosophy as the practice of asking questions that we rarely get to ask either in everyday life or in other disciplines. It enables us to critically reflect on common sense and features of our world that present themselves as necessary and natural. For me, philosophy is a way of challenging hierarchy, domination and socio-ecological destruction, since it allows us to fundamentally question the conditions of the present, and to imagine alternative futures. As a teacher, I aim to empower students by helping them to cultivate the capacity to question themselves and their world; to think, read and write rigorously and critically; and to reflect on what a good life and society might mean.

    Degrees Held

    PhD 2020, The Pennsylvania State University

    MPhil 2013, University of Cambridge

    BA 2012, University of Warwick

    Professional Affiliation

    SPEP committee on the status of women 

    Recent Publications

    I am working on a book manuscript tentatively titled Groundings: Black Ecologies of Freedom. The book develops the concepts of racist environments and ecological freedom and asks how established topics within environmental and climate justice are transformed when considered from the radical philosophical traditions of the Black diaspora. 

    "Repairing the World: Romy Opperman interviews Esther Stanford-Xosei," OPP (Oxford Public Philosophy) 2024 

    “Sylvia Wynter’s Caribbean Critical Theory” –  in Creolizing Critical Theory: New Voices in Caribbean Philosophy 2024  

    "Anti-Nuclear Anti-Colonial Feminism," Blog of the APA (American Philosophical Association), November 1st 2023 

    "Decolonial ecologies" Malcom Ferdinand with Romy Opperman in What Matters Most: Conversations on the Art of Living, edited by Anthony Morgan, Agenda Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2023 

    "The Need for a Black Feminist Climate Justice: A Case of Haunting Ecology and Eco-Deconstruction" CR: The New Centennial Review, Volume 22, Number 1, Spring 2022, pp. 59-93 (Article) 

    "Racism" in "The New Basics: The Planet," The Philosopher, 2022

    Interview for Research Matters 2021

    Haunting and Hosting - Gender and its Discontents 2020

    We Need Histories of Radical Black Ecology Now - Black Perspectives 2020 

    A Permanent Struggle Against an Omnipresent Death: Revisiting Environmental Racism with Frantz Fanon,” Critical Philosophy of Race, Volume 7, Issue 1, 2019, pp.57-80 2016.

    'Born in Flames' and the No Future of Afrofuturism,” Another Gaze: A Feminist Film Journal, 2016 

    Performances and Appearances


    Title TBA,  An Environment for Black Feminism: History, Theory, Aesthetics, Copenhagen University, June 13-14th 

    “Revolutionary Survival: Anti-Nuclear Lessons” (keynote), From Crisis to Coordination (conference), University of Minnesota, May 24th 

    “Radioactive Colonialism’s Renaissance,” Anti-colonialism and its Afterlives: Renewing and Rethinking Debates, The New School for Social Research, April 27th 

    Book Symposium Feminism, Capitalism & Ecology - Johanna Oksala, Nancy Fraser, Alyssa Battistoni, Cinzia Arruzza, Romy Opperman, The New School for Social Research, April 25th

    “Anti-Nuclear Resistance as Intersectional Survival: Reflections on Eco-Nuclearism,” the Philosopher’s Holiday Speaker Series, Vassar College, April 24th 


    “Reproducing Climate Violence or Generating Liberation? Anti-Colonial Feminist Perspectives on Nuclear,”  Global Legacies of Anti-Nuclear Activism, UC Santa Barbara, April 13th 


    "Anti-Colonial Feminist Perspectives on Nuclear," (talk) University of Antioch, November 3rd

    "Have We Learnt Nothing? Catastrophe, Ceremony, and Autonomy," The Ecologies of Education conference, The New School, October 27th 

    "Reproducing Climate Violence or Generating Liberation? Anti-Colonial Feminist Perspectives on Nuclear, International Association of Environmental Philosophy, Toronto, October 16th

    "Black Trash and Ecological Resistance," Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy, Toronto, October 13th

    Invited Dialogue on Sylvia Wynter, Peformance, Possession & Automation, UK, April 25th

    "Liberation Ecology: Maroonage, Mining, and Sylvia Wynter’s Black Metamorphosis," Critical Theory Cluster, Northwestern, IL, March 30th 

    "Twisting the Travelogue: Landscape between Saidiya Hartman and Édouard Glissant" Visual Philosophy Conference, The New School, NY, March 24th 

    "Grounding Freedom" Anti-Racism, Anti-Colonialism & Climate Change (virtual speaker series) Case Western Reserve University, March 22nd  

    "The Need for a Black Feminist Climate Justice," Climate Ethics Symposium, University of Washington, Seattle, March 2nd 

    "Nature Revisited with Sylvia Wynter's Critical Theory," International Society for Environmental Ethics invited panel, Central APA, Denver, February 25th 

    “Groundings: Ecological Freedom in Caribbean Philosophy”,  Race & the Environmental Humanities invited panel, Central APA, Denver, February 22nd 

    Down to Earth: Sylvia Wynter’s Black Metamorphosis," Fordham MAP speaker series (Minorities and Philosophy), February 14th 


    "Book Panel: Anarchafeminism with Chiara Bottici, Judith Butler, and Romy Opperman," The New School, NY, September 15th 

    “Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals, Alexis Pauline Gumbs in conversation with Romy Opperman” – Nyansapo: Festival Afroféministe Européen, Mwasi, 2nd July

    “Grounding Ecologies of Freedom,” Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art in collaboration with the Brooklyn Rail, NY, June 28th

    “Bury me in a Free Land: Grounding Abolition Ecology,” Philosophy in the Wild (University of Pennsylvania) June 17-19th (Keynote)

    Book panel: Elemental Difference and the Climate of the Body (OUP, 2021), Philosophia - George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, June 2nd-4th

    Keynote roundtable with Mark Christian Thompson and Robert J. C. Young, Nonidentity: Current Configurations in Critical Theories and Poetics, Department of German and Comparative Literature, NYU, NY, April 28-29th  

    “On Conditions and Conditionality: Ecological Injustices and the Biopolitics of Resistance: discussion with Romy Opperman, Adelita Husni Bey, and Kay Gabriel,” These Conditions, Vera List Center for Art and Politics / Contemporary Aesthetics Research Collaborative (CARC), April 2nd

    Beyond Simone: Political phenomenology of the Veil and its appearance,” Hourya Bentouhami in conversation with Romy Opperman, Gender Matters Symposium, NSSR, March 25th

    “Gleaning from Charles Mills’ ‘Black Trash’: Implications for Critical Philosophy of Race,” Critical Philosophy of Race after Ten Years, Pennsylvania State University, PA, March 15th-16th

    Sylvia Wynter’s Caribbean Critique (Ethics & Caribbean Philosophy), The Center for Ethics, University of Toronto, February 21st

    Decolonising Ecology: Malcom Ferdinand in Conversation with Romy Opperman, January 24th 


    International Association of Environmental Philosophy (IAEP) 

    Philosophers and the Climate Crisis 10-12th June 

    Minorities and Philosophy, MAP - Fordham 

    Finding Ceremony: Honoring Black Feminist Elders Gender Matters Symposium, Gender and Sexuality Studies Institute (NSSR)

    "Critical Black Feminist Theory" at Adorno and Non-Identity Seminars 

    Black Feminist Ecologies salon (Wesleyan)

    SWIP UK 

    Research Interests

    Africana Philosophy, Black Studies, Black Feminist Philosophy, climate migration, climate justice, Continental Philosophy, Decolonial Philosophy, environmental justice, Environmental Philosophy, Feminist Philosophy, Indigenous Philosophy and Native Studies, Postcolonial thought, Social and Political Philosophy

    Awards And Honors

    Fellow, Mellon Initiative for Inclusive Faculty Excellence (2021-3) 


    Future Courses

    Defending the Dead
    LPHI 2071, Fall 2024

    Frantz Fanon & Sylvia Winter
    GPHI 6162, Fall 2024

    Frantz Fanon & Sylvia Wynter
    LPHI 2072, Spring 2025

    Gender and its Discontents
    UTNS 5406, Spring 2025

    Independent Study
    GPHI 6990, Fall 2024

    Sylvia Wynter
    GPHI 6166, Spring 2025

    Past Courses

    Black Feminist Ecologies
    LPHI 3064, Spring 2024

    Freedom in Black Philosophy
    GPHI 6295, Fall 2023

    Gender and its Discontents
    UTNS 5406, Spring 2024

    Gender and its Discontents
    GLIB 5406, Spring 2024

    Gender and its Discontents
    GPHI 5406, Spring 2024

    Independent Study
    GPHI 6990, Fall 2023

    LPHI 2028, Fall 2023

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