Out of the Dark Night

Essays on Decolonization

Achille Mbembe

Columbia University Press

Out of the Dark Night

Pub Date: November 2019

ISBN: 9780231160285

288 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $30.00£24.00

Pub Date: November 2019

ISBN: 9780231500593

288 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $29.99£24.00

Out of the Dark Night

Essays on Decolonization

Achille Mbembe

Columbia University Press

Achille Mbembe is one of the world’s most profound critics of colonialism and its consequences, a major figure in the emergence of a new wave of French critical theory. His writings examine the complexities of decolonization for African subjectivities and the possibilities emerging in its wake. In Out of the Great Darkness, he offers a rich analysis of the paradoxes of the postcolonial moment that points toward new liberatory models of community and humanity.

In a nuanced consideration of the African experience, Mbembe makes sweeping interventions into debates about citizenship, identity, democracy, and modernity. He eruditely ranges across European and African thought to provide a powerful assessment of common ways of writing and thinking about Africa. Mbembe criticizes the blinders of European intellectuals, analyzing France’s failure to heed postcolonial critiques of ongoing exclusions masked by pretenses of universalism. He develops a new reading of African modernity that further develops the notion of Afropolitanism, a novel way of being in the world that has arisen in decolonized Africa in the midst of both destruction and the birth of new societies, making the case for South Africa as its laboratory. Out of the Great Darkness reconstructs critical theory’s historical and philosophical framework for understanding colonial and postcolonial events and expands our sense of the futures made possible by decolonization.
An important, provocative, and powerful intervention into the politics and the production of knowledge after colonialism in France and about the French empire's former colonies after they became independent. Mamadou Diouf, Columbia University

About the Author

Achille Mbembe (Author)
Achille Mbembe is Professor of History and Political Science at Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg, South Africa, and the University of California, Irvine. He is also a member of the staff at WISER institute in Johannesburg, South Africa. Mbembe is a contributing editor of the scholarly journal Public Culture, and also has an annual appointment as a visiting faculty member in the department of English at Duke University. As one of the most sought-after postcolonial theorists of today, he has spent time working as Assistant Professor of History at Columbia University (1988-1991); a Senior Research Fellow at the Brookings Institute (1991 to 1992); Associate Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania (1992 to 1996); and Executive Director of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (Codesria) in Dakar, Senegal (1996 to 2000). He was also a visiting Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2001, and a visiting Professor at Yale University in 2003. Mbembe has written extensively on African history and politics, and has published several books in French. The English translation, On the Postcolony, was published in 2001 by the University of California Press and he is the co-editor of Johannesburg: The Elusive Metropolis (Duke University Press, 2008).He holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Paris-Sorbonne and a D.E.A. in political science from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris.