'Genealogical misfortunes': Achille Mbembe's (re-)writing of postcolonial Africa

Syrotinski, M. (2012) 'Genealogical misfortunes': Achille Mbembe's (re-)writing of postcolonial Africa. Paragraph, 35(3), pp. 407-420. (doi:10.3366/para.2012.0067)

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Abstract

In his latest work, Sortir de la grande nuit, the Cameroonian social theorist, Achille Mbembe nuances his description of the ontological status of the postcolonial African subject, which he had theorized extensively in his best-known text, On the Postcolony, and at the same time exploits the conceptual resources of a number of Jean-Luc Nancy’s lexical innovations. This recent text is also a reprise of an earlier autobiographical essay, and the gesture of this ‘reinscription’ is critical to our understanding of Mbembe’s status as a contemporary ‘postcolonial thinker’, and the way in which he positions himself within a certain intellectual genealogy of postcolonial theory. Within this trajectory, I argue that we can read fruitfully his relationship to three influential figures: Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Nancy and Ruben Um Nyobè.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Syrotinski, Professor Michael
Authors: Syrotinski, M.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > French
Journal Name:Paragraph
Publisher:Edinburgh University Press
ISSN:0264-8334
ISSN (Online):1750-0176
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2012 Edinburgh University Press
First Published:First published in Paragraph 35(3):407-420
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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