Achille Mbembe & Felwine Sarr eds, To Write the Africa World – Polity 2023, trans. Drew Burk
In October 2016, thirty intellectuals and artists from Africa, its diasporas, and beyond gathered together in Dakar and Saint-Louis, Senegal, to reflect on the present and future of Africa in the midst of transformations that are sweeping through the contemporary world. The aim was to take stock of the renewal of Afro-diasporic critical thought and to discuss the new perspectives emerging from the ongoing projects constructing political, cultural, and social imaginaries for and from the African continent.
This book brings together and makes available to the English-speaking world the material presented at the 2016 Ateliers de la pensée – Workshops of Thought – in Dakar. The authors deal with a wide range of issues, including decolonization, the development of social utopias, and the pursuit of new forms of political, economic, and social production on the African continent. Running throughout is a constant concern to interrogate the categories and frames of meaning that have served to characterize the dynamics of the African continent and a shared desire to produce new frames of intelligibility through which to see Africa’s present realities and its future. The contributions also attest to the view that there is no African question that is not also a global question, and that the Africanization of the global question will be a decisive feature of the twenty-first century.
To Write the Africa World and its companion volume The Politics of Time will be indispensable for anyone interested in Africa – its past, present, and future – and in the new forms of critical thought emerging from Africa and the Global South.
Achille Mbembe & Felwine Sarr eds, The Politics of Time: Imagining African Becomings – Polity 2023, trans. Philip Gerard
As we enter the third decade of the twenty-first century, the world is undergoing a major historical shift: Africa, and the Global South more generally, is increasingly becoming a principal theatre in which the future of the planet plays itself out. But not only this: Africa is at the same time emerging as one of the great laboratories for novel forms of social, economic, political, intellectual, cultural, and artistic life. Often arising in unexpected places, these new forms of life materialize in practices that draw deeply from collective memory while simultaneously assuming distinctly contemporary, even futuristic, guises.
In November 2017, the second session of the Ateliers de la pensée – Workshops of Thought – was held in Dakar, Senegal. Fifty African and diasporic intellectuals and artists participated and their debates unfolded along numerous thematic lines, approached from the standpoints of many different disciplines. This volume is the result of that encounter. Among the many topics discussed were the concurrence and entanglement of multiple temporalities, the politics of life in the Anthropocene, the project of decolonization, and the preservation and transmission of different ways of knowing. At a time when the world is haunted by the specter of its own end, the contributors to this volume ask whether one can, by taking Africa as a point of departure, seize hold of other options for the future – not only for Africa, but for the world.
The Politics of Time and its companion volume, To Write the Africa World, will be indispensable works for anyone interested in Africa – its past, present, and future – and in the new forms of critical thought emerging from Africa and the Global South.