Skip to main content

Achille Mbembe

A historian, philosopher, and intellectual, he is one of the outstanding names in contemporary political thought.

With a PhD in History from the Sorbonne, he specialised in Political Science at the Institute d’Études Politiques in Paris and presently teaches History and Politics at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. In his academic career, he has been a visiting professor at some of the world’s most prestigious universities, including Yale, Berkeley, Columbia, and Harvard, and thereby becoming an outstanding reference on the worldwide scale. Translated into more than twelve languages, his books, which are considered to be foundational works in postcolonial thought and contemporary political theory, include Necropolitics, 2019 and first published as an article in Public Texts in 2003 (in Spanish, Necropolítica, Melusina, 2011), a new and complex reconsideration of Foucault’s biopolitics; Critique of Black Reason, 2013 (in Spanish, Crítica de la razón negra, Ned Ediciones, 2016), and Out of the Dark Night, 2013 (in Spanish, Salir de la gran noche. Ensayo sobre África descolonizada, Bellaterra, 2021), in which he reflects on modern-day racism while revisiting some of the most influential historical processes in the shaping of the notion of race. More recently, he has published (in French) Brutalisme (in Spanish, Brutalismo, Paidós, 2022), which is both a markedly philosophical analysis and a political proposal that invites the reader to think about the way in which we inhabit the world. In addition to his contributions in the theoretical sphere, he also promotes spaces in Africa for intellectual and citizen debate, among them the Ateliers de la Pensée in Dakar.

Update: 31 August 2022


Has participated in

Achille Mbembe

Sharing the World

Theologies of power

Religion and Politics in Contemporary Europe

Translating the world from Africa

Urban traumas

Cities and disasters