Achille Mbembe was born in Cameroon in 1957. He studied history in France from 1982 to 1986 (Ph.D. obtained from the Panthéon-Sorbonne University in 1989), and was subsequently assistant professor at Columbia University (New York, USA) from 1987 to 1990. He then decided to return to Africa, first to Dakar (Senegal), where he was Executive Secretary at the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) from 1996 to 2000, then to Johannesburg (South Africa), where he has been living and lecturing at Witwatersrand University since 2001. He continues to lecture in the USA as Visiting Professor at Harvard University and publishes essays which dismantle the ways of thinking and functioning of decolonized Africa. In Sortir de la grande nuit, Critique de la raison nègre et Politiques de l’inimitié (La Découverte, 2010, 2013 and 2016), he tackles one of the foundations of the Western world: the way in which otherness and difference have been conceived in terms of race, in order to justify the relations of domination and exploitation which culminated with the slave trade, colonization and apartheid. His next essay will sketch the outlines of “Afropolitanism”, an African and diaspora way of being part of a world which would no longer be defined by race.
1 published article
Cameroonian historian and political scientist Achille Mbembe talks about the Ateliers de la pensée. These “Thinking Workshops” were co-organized with Senegalese economist and writer Felwine Sarr and dedicated to debating the future of Africa.