An important marker of faculty success, especially at Duke, is the ability to work across different fields and disciplines and to enrich scholarly work with innovative approaches and methodologies. The goal of this platform is to stimulate creative thinking in a multidisciplinary way and to be a catalyst for new research programs. Therefore, we hope to foster an environment that will encourage and facilitate scholarly collaboration among Black faculty from different schools and departments at Duke University.

If you have project ideas and are in need of a collaborator, a mentor, or resources, do let us know and we will try our best to connect you to what you need. Contact us at

Also, stay tuned for the Black Think Tank Scholarship that will support multidisciplinary research from undergraduate and graduate students connecting two or more BTT faculty.

Black Think Tank Pilot Project

Bahia, Brazil and the US South: Race, Genetics, and Culture in the African Diaspora

This project aims at delineating a multidisciplinary and intersectional conversation between two regions within the African diaspora: The United States South and Brazil, exemplified by Bahia, the state with the largest Black population. Our research will encompass cultural, political, economic, and genetic aspects of the two regions. Our main goal is to illuminate how two racially and culturally distinct societies were formed despite relying for centuries on African slavery as the primary driver of their economy. We want to address how racial policies and narratives affect the current political climate in both countries.

Research team: We are assembling a multidisciplinary research team that will combine expertise in a variety of areas that embraces the goals of our project. Dr. Silva research interests are in the realm of cellular, molecular biology, and genetics. He is particularly interested in how racial policies and genetic admixture shaped social and wealth disparity in these contexts. Dr. McInnis’ research focuses on literature and cultural aspects of the African diaspora in the US South and the Caribbean. Investigating the Brazilian facet of the Black diaspora will provide new avenues to understand the global impact of slavery and the legacy of African culture in the Americas. Finally, Dr. Winters is interested in understanding the ways that African American religion define our views of race and humanity. His work includes multimedia and multicultural approaches, which will be applied to understand how African Brazilian Religions such as Candomblé and Umbanda help define Brazilian social and racial identity.