What is blackness, and how is that question connected to race theories, colonialism, slavery and the contemporary economic exploitation? How do we understand the power relations in today’s postcolonial Africa, and what is the relation between theory and practice in the future battles against racism and oppression?
These big questions are central to the writings and work of Achille Mbembe (b. 1957 I Cameroon, Professor at Johannesburg University of the Witsvatersrand). It is a great event when a scholar of Mbembe’s caliber now visits Oslo to talk about his body of work. Since the English publication of On the postcolony in 2001, Mbembe has been among the most influential and controversial philosophers and social theorists of our time, a position that was further established with his Critique of Black Reason in 2017.
Mbembe will visit Oslo after attending this year’s Holberg debate in Bergen. At the House of Literature, Mbembe will give a lecture on what he terms “savage objects”. It is about African artifacts in Western museums, and about the ongoing debate on ‘restitution’, as it relates to broader issues of debt and universal justice.
The lecture will be followed by a Q&A session with Mbembe about his body of work.