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Headshot of GCPR Board Member Dr. Chérie Rivers Ndaliko Department of Geography

Chérie Rivers Ndaliko’s work—as writer, teacher, mother, and radical Black ecologist—is rooted in her commitment to interrupting modern colonialism with the transformative power of imagination. Animated by this priority, she pursues multiple interconnected lines of inquiry, one of which is the liberatory potential of critical creativity in conflict zones. She has published two books on this topic, which draw on more than a decade of socially engaged research with youth in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo—a monograph, Necessary Noise: Music, Film, and Charitable Imperialism in the East of Congo (Oxford University Press, 2016; recipient of the 2017 Merriam Prize and the 2018 Nketia Prize) and an edited volume The Art of Emergency: Aesthetics and Aid in African Crises (Oxford University Press, 2020).

Decolonial pedagogy is another central facet of Ndaliko’s work. In this domain, she focuses on cultivating the capacity to see systems of normalized violence that are rendered invisible by modern colonialism. To this end, she has collaboratively developed a curriculum, Decomposing the Colonial Gaze, which she co-teaches to educators, civil society leaders, community organizers, artists, and activists around the world. She has also curated numerous international multi-media exhibitions on this curriculum, delivered distinguished lectures, and, with a fellowship from the National Humanities Center, written a monograph, To Be Nsala’s Daughter: Decomposing the Colonial Gaze (Duke University Press 2023).

Ndaliko also explores the relationship between imagination and liberation through the Black Atlantic tradition of agroecology. She founded and runs Uzuri Sanctuary, an educational biodynamic freedom farm, where she teaches and cultivates and forages food. In addition to providing healthy food to Black and Indigenous communities in the North Carolina Piedmont, Uzuri Sanctuary aims to revive, valorize, and share indigenous ecological practices that have been demonized by modern colonialism. Ndaliko has written numerous articles on this topic (including “Of Clay and Wonder” forthcoming in Southern Cultures and “A Rebellion of Beans” under review) and plans to write a monograph, Mahereko: A Womanist Lexicon of Radical Black Ecology, with a 2023 fellowship from the Institute of the Arts and Humanities at UNC Chapel Hill.

Ndaliko holds a Ph.D. in African Studies from Harvard University, where she was a pioneering member of the Social Engagement Initiative. She is currently an associate professor of Geography at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and serves as Director of Research and Education at Yole!Africa, an indigenous-led educational and cultural center in Goma, DRC.