University of Virginia, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Achille Mbembe, "Critique of Black Reason" Workshop

September 18, 2017

The Institute for the Humanites and Global Cultures cordially invites students and faculty to attend a lecture and a workshop by Professor Achille Mbembe (U of Witwatersrand). Both events will feature Mbembe's new book, Critique of Black Reason (2017 - Duke UP). Other workshop panelists include Laurent Dubois (Duke), Juan Obarrio (Johns Hopkins) and Christina Mobley (UVA). 


In order to foster an intimate conversation, faculty and graduate students who wish to participate in the workshop (9/18, Wilson 142, 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.) should register here. Workshop readings drawn from Critique of Black Reason are available through the registration form. Space is limited, and refreshments and lunch will be available.


Professor Mbembe will deliver his lecture entitled "Negative Messianism in the Age of Animism" in Wilson Hall 142, from 5-6:30. There is no registration required for this event.


About the book:


In Critique of Black Reason eminent critic Achille Mbembe offers a capacious genealogy of the category of Blackness—from the Atlantic slave trade to the present—to critically reevaluate history, racism, and the future of humanity. Mbembe teases out the intellectual consequences of the reality that Europe is no longer the world's center of gravity while mapping the relations among colonialism, slavery, and contemporary financial and extractive capital. Tracing the conjunction of Blackness with the biological fiction of race, he theorizes Black reason as the collection of discourses and practices that equated Blackness with the nonhuman in order to uphold forms of oppression. Mbembe powerfully argues that this equation of Blackness with the nonhuman will serve as the template for all new forms of exclusion. With Critique of Black Reason, Mbembeoffers nothing less than a map of the world as it has been constituted through colonialism and racial thinking while providing the first glimpses of a more just future. 


About Achille Mbembe


Achille Mbembe is Research Professor in History and Politics at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He is coeditor of Johannesburg: The Elusive Metropolis, also published by Duke University Press, and the author of On the Postcolony as well as several books in French.

Homer Statue
Wilson 142
9:30 am - 1:30 pm