This is a past event.
In the last few weeks the way we move around has changed radically everywhere in the world. The borders that formerly enclosed Countries or States have suddenly been lifted and became closer to our region, our city, our street and indeed our home. The freedom to move around we all took for granted – particularly those of us who live in a European country – was restricted. Given the new perspective brought on by this experience, we will now be able to reflect on the many dimensions of world mobility, its history of inclusion, and its numerous accounts of exclusion about who has, or has not, truly been able to inhabit this planet.
For a world without borders was the theme of the conference that Cameroonian historian Achille Mbembe presented at Culturgest on October 2018; it is to this theme we now return. In addition to listening to this inspiring debate, we also suggest a writing by the author published on the open-access website Buala: The universal right to breath, a defence of the right to breathe in times of pandemic, but also a warning about the duty to “restore a inhabitable Earth”. The question is raised: “Will we be able to rediscover our sense of belonging to the same species and our unbreakable bond to all things living? Perhaps this is the definitive question, before the door is shut forever.”
Achille Mbembe (Cameroon, 1957) is a professor of history and politics at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WiSER), University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, as well as at Harvard. He holds a PhD in history from the Université de Paris I-Panthéon Sorbonne and from the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris. He teached at Berkeley, Columbia and Yale. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and headed the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa in Dakar, Senegal. In this same city he co-created, in 2016, Les Ateliers de la Pensée, a vital space of debate and encounter amongst thinkers, artists and academicians from and about Africa.
A leading historian, philosopher and political theorist, he has been working extensively on the postcolonial theory and African Politics. Some of his important books are: On the Postcolony, Critique of Black Reason (Geschwister Scholl literary award, 2015) and Politiques de l’inimitié and Brutalisme (2020). In 2018, Professor Mbembe was awarded with the Ernest Bloch and the Gerda Henkel Prizes.