South African-based, Cameroon-born philosopher, intellectual and social theorist, Professor Achille Mbembe's address considers the importance of radical mediation between cultures, translating experience and creating mutual understanding across international borders.
Mbembe is widely accepted as one of the most significant thinkers, theoretically examining the links between Africa, the contemporary world, and the way that history in and of Africa has impacted on notions of the contemporary. His seminal work, On the Postcolony (2000, English translation 2001), elicited much debate and ushered in a new discourse in the understanding and theorisation of Africa.
Achille Mbembe obtained his Ph.D. in History at the University of Sorbonne in Paris, France. He subsequently obtained a D.E.A. in Political Science at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in the same city. He has held appointments at Columbia University in New York, Brookings Instituition in Washington, D.C., University of Pennsylvania, University of California, Berkeley, Yale University, Duke University and Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) in Dakar, Senegal. Mbembe is currently a member of the staff at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) at the University of the Witwatersrand as well as contributing editor of the scholarly journal Public Culture. He also has an annual appointment as a visiting faculty member in department of English at Duke University. Mbembe has written extensively on African history and politics and his work has been translated in various languages. He is the author of many books in French, including Sortir de la grande nuit. Essai sur l”Afrique decolonisee (Paris, 2010), and is also the winner of the Bill Venter/Altron Award for his On the Postcolony (2001).
This lecture also forms part of the conference Between the Lines – a joint project of the Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Braunschweig, Germany, and the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town. This lecture is presented by the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) in collaboration with the Michaelis School of Fine Art.