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Thisdocumentwasdeliberatelywrittenasaspokentext.

It
formsthebasisofaseriesofpubliclecturesgivenatthe
WitsInstituteforSocialandEconomicResearch(WISER),
UniversityoftheWitwatersrand(Johannesburg),at
conversationswiththeRhodesMustFallMovementatthe
UniversityofCapeTownandtheIndexingtheHuman
Project,DepartmentofSociologyandAnthropologyatthe
UniversityofStellenbosch.Thenatureoftheevents
unfoldinginSouthAfrica,thetypeofaudiencethat
attendedthelectures,thenatureofthepoliticaland
intellectualquestionsatstakerequiredanentirely
dierentmodeofaddressonethatcouldspeakbothto
reasonandtoaect.

Twentyoneyearsafterfreedom,wehavenowfullyentered
whatlookslikeanegativemoment.Thisisamomentmost
Africanpostcolonialsocietieshaveexperienced.Liketheirsin
thelate1970s,1980sand1990s,oursisgrayandalmostmurky.
Itlacksclarity.
Todaymanywanttonallybringwhitesupremacytoits
knees.Butthesameseemtogomissingwhenitcomesto
publicallycondemningtheextra-judicialexecutionsoffellow
Africansonthestreetsofourcitiesandinourtownships.As
Fanonintimated,theyseenocontradictionbetweenwantingto
topplewhitesupremacyandbeinganti-racistwhile
succumbingtothesirensofisolationismandnational-
chauvinism.
Manystillconsiderwhitesassettlerswho,onceinawhile,
willattempttomasqueradeasnatives.Andyet,withthe
adventofdemocracyandthenewconstitutionalState,there
arenolongersettlersornatives.Thereareonlycitizens.Ifwe
repudiatedemocracy,whatwillwereplaceitwith?
Ourwhitecompatriotsmightbefencingotheirprivileges.
Theymightbeenclavingthemando-shoringthembut
theyarecertainlygoingnowhere.
Andyettheycannotkeeplivinginourmidstwithwhiteness
oldclothes.Fencingoonesprivileges,o-shoringthem,
livinginenclavesdoesnotinitselfsecurefullrecognitionand
survival.
Meanwhile,blacknessisfracturing.Blackconsciousness
todayismoreandmorethoughtofinfractions.
Anegativemomentisamomentwhennewantagonisms
emergewhileoldonesremainunresolved.
Itisamomentwhencontradictoryforces-inchoate,
fractured,fragmentedareatworkbutwhatmightcomeoutof
theirinteractionisanythingbutcertain.
Itisalsoamomentwhenmultipleoldandrecentunresolved
crisesseemtobeonthepathtowardsacollision.
Suchacollisionmighthappen-ormaybenot.Itmighttake
theformofoutburststhatenduppeteringout.Whetherthe
collisionactuallyhappensornot,theageofinnocenceand
complacencyisover.
Whenitcomestoquestionsconcerningthedecolonization
oftheuniversity-andofknowledge-inSouthAfricanow,there
areanumberofclear-cutpoliticalandmoralissueswhichare
alsoissuesoffairnessanddecencymanyofuscaneasily
agreeupon.

Demythologizingwhiteness
Onesuchissuehasjustbeendealtwithandsuccessfully-
attheUniversityofCapeTown.
Tothosewhoarestillindenial,itmightbeworthreiterating
thatCecilRhodesbelongedtotheraceofmenwhowere
convincedthattobeblackisaliability.
DuringhistimeandlifeinSouthernAfrica,heusedhis
considerablepowerpoliticalandnancial-tomakeblack
peoplealloverSouthernAfricapayabloodypriceforhis
beliefs.
Hisstatueandthoseofcountlessotherswhosharedthe
sameconviction-hasnoplaceonapublicuniversitycampus
20yearsafterfreedom.
Thedebatethereforeshouldhaveneverbeenaboutwhether
ornotitshouldbebroughtdown.Allalong,thedebateshould
havebeenaboutwhydidittakesolongtodoso.
TobringRhodesstatuedownisfarfromerasinghistory,
andnobodyshouldbeaskingustobeeternallyindebtedto
Rhodesforhavingdonatedhismoneyandforhaving
bequeathedhislandtotheUniversity.Ifanything,weshould
beaskinghowdidheacquirethelandintherstinstance?
Arguablyotheroptionswereavailableandcouldhavebeen
considered,includingthatwhichwasputforwardlateinthe
processbyretiredJudgeAlbieSachs,whoproposeda
transformativereworkinginsteadofremovalandwhose
contributiontothesymbolicremakingofwhatistoday
ConstitutionHilliswellrecognized.
ButbringingRhodesstatuedownisoneofthemany
legitimatewaysinwhichwecan,todayinSouthAfrica,
demythologizethathistoryandputittorestwhichisprecisely
theworkmemoryproperlyunderstoodissupposedto
accomplish.
FormemorytofulllthisfunctionlongaftertheTruthand
Reconciliationparadigmhasrunoutofsteam,the
demythologizingofcertainversionsofhistorymustgohandin
handwiththedemythologizingofwhiteness.
Thisisnotbecausewhitenessisthesameashistory.Human
history,bydenition,ishistorybeyondwhiteness.
Humanhistoryisaboutthefuture.Whitenessisabout
entrapment.
Whitenessisatitsbestwhenitturnsintoamyth.Itisthe
mostcorrosiveandthemostlethalwhenitmakesusbelieve
thatitiseverywhere;thateverythingoriginatesfromitandit
hasnooutside.
Wearethereforecallingforthedemythologizationof
whitenessbecausedemocracyinSouthAfricawilleitherbe
builtontheruinsofthoseversionsofwhitenessthatproduced
Rhodesoritwillfail.
Inotherwords,thoseversionsofwhitenessthatproduced
menlikeRhodesmustberecalledandde-commissionedifwe
havetoputhistorytorest,freeourselvesfromourown
entrapmentinwhitemythologiesandopenafutureforallhere
andnow.
ItmightthenbethatthestatueofRhodesandthestatuesof
countlessmenofhisilkthatarelitteringtheSouthAfrican
landscapeproperlybelongtoamuseum-aninstitutionthat,
withfewexceptions,hashardlybeensubjectedtothekindof
thoroughcritiquerequiredbythesetimesofoursin
SouthAfrica.
Yet,amuseumproperlyunderstoodisnotadumpingplace.
Itisnotaplacewherewerecyclehistoryswaste.Itisrstand
foremostanepistemicspace.
Astrongeroptionwouldthereforebethecreationofanew
kindofinstitution,partlyaparkandpartlyagraveyard,where
statuesofpeoplewhospentmostoftheirlivesdefacing
everythingthenameblackstoodforwouldbeputtorest.
Puttingthemtorestinthosenewplaceswouldinturnallowus
tomoveonandrecreatethekindofnewpublicspacesrequired
byournewdemocraticproject.

Architecture,publicspacesandthecommon
Now,manymayask:Whatdoesbringingdownthestatueof
alate19thcenturyprivateerhavetodowithdecolonizinga21st
centuryuniversity?Or,asmanyhaveinfactbeenasking:
Whyarewesoaddictedtothepast?
Arewesimply,asFerialHaajee,theeditoroftheweekly
CityPressargues,ghtingoverthepastbecauseofourinability
tobuildafuturewhich,inhereyes,ismostlyabouteachofus
turningintoanentrepreneur,makinglotsofmoneyand
becomingagoodconsumer?
Isthistheonlyfuturelefttoaspiretooneinwhichevery
humanbeingbecomesamarketactor;everyeldofactivityis
seenasamarket;everyentity(whetherpublicorprivate,
whetherperson,business,stateorcorporation)isgovernedasa
rm;peoplethemselvesarecastashumancapitalandare
subjectedtomarketmetrics(ratings,rankings)andtheirvalue
isdeterminedspeculativelyinafuturesmarket?
Decolonizingtheuniversitystartswiththede-privatization
andrehabilitationofpublicspacetherearrangementof
spatialrelationsFanonspokesoeloquentlyaboutintherst
chapterofTheWretchedoftheEarth.
Itstartswitharedenitionofwhatispublic,i.e.,what
pertainstotherealmofthecommonandassuch,doesnot
belongtoanyoneinparticularbecauseitmustbeequally
sharedbetweenequals.
Thedecolonizationofbuildingsandofpublicspacesis
thereforenotafrivolousissue,especiallyinacountrythat,for
manycenturies,hasdeneditselfasnotofAfrica,butasan
outpostofEuropeanimperialismintheDarkContinent;andin
which70%ofthelandisstillrmlyinthehandsof13%ofthe
population.
Thedecolonizationofbuildingsandofpublicspacesis
inseparablefromthedemocratizationofaccess.
Whenwesayaccess,wearenaturallythinkingaboutawide
openingofthedoorsofhigherlearningtoallSouthAfricans.
Forthistohappen,SAmustinvestinitsuniversities.Forthe
timebeing,itspends0.6%ofitsGDPonhighereducation.The
percentageofthenationalwealthinvestedinhighereducation
mustbeincreased.
Butwhenwesayaccess,wearealsotalkingaboutthe
creationofthoseconditionsthatwillallowblackstaand
studentstosayoftheuniversity:Thisismyhome.Iamnotan
outsiderhere.Idonothavetobegortoapologizetobehere.I
belonghere.
Sucharighttobelong,sucharightfulsenseofownership,
hasnothingtodowithcharityorhospitality.
Ithasnothingtodowiththeliberalnotionoftolerance.
Ithasnothingtodowithmehavingtoassimilateintoa
culturethatisnotmineasapreconditionofmyparticipatingin
thepubliclifeoftheinstitution.
Ithaseverythingtodowithownershipofaspacethatisa
public,commongood.
Ithastodowithanexpansivesenseofcitizenshipitself
indispensablefortheprojectofdemocracy,whichitselfmeans
nothingwithoutadeepcommitmenttosomeideaofpublic-
ness.
Furthermoreespeciallyforblackstaandstudents-ithas
todowithcreatingasetofmentaldispositions.Weneedto
reconcilealogicofindictmentandalogicofself-armation,
interruptionandoccupation.
Thisrequirestheconsciousconstitutionofasubstantial
amountofmentalcapitalandthedevelopmentofasetof
pedagogiesweshouldcallpedagogiesofpresence.
Blackstudentsandstahavetoinventasetofcreative
practicesthatultimatelymakeitimpossibleforocial
structurestoignorethemandnotrecognizethem,topretend
thattheyarenotthere;topretendthattheydonotseethem;or
topretendthattheirvoicedoesnotcount.
Thedecolonizationofbuildingsandpublicspacesincludes
achangeofthosecolonialnames,iconography,i.e.,the
economyofsymbolswhosefunction,allalong,hasbeento
induceandnormalizeparticularstatesofhumiliationbasedon
whitesupremacistpresuppositions.
Suchnames,imagesandsymbolshavenoplaceonthewalls
ofapublicuniversitycampusmorethan20yearsafter
Apartheid.

Classroomswithoutwallsanddierentformsof
intelligence
Anothersiteofdecolonizationistheuniversityclassroom.
Wecannotkeepteachingthewaywehavealwaystaught.
Anumberofourinstitutionsareteachingobsoleteformsof
knowledgewithobsoletepedagogies.Justaswedecommission
statues,weshoulddecommissionalotofwhatpassesfor
knowledgeinourteaching.
Inanagethatmorethanevervalorizesdierentformsof
intelligence,thestudent-teacherrelationshiphastochange.
Inordertosetourinstitutionsrmlyonthepathoffuture
knowledges,weneedtoreinventaclassroomwithoutwallsin
whichweareallco-learners;auniversitythatiscapableof
conveningvariouspublicsinnewformsofassembliesthat
becomepointsofconvergenceofandplatformsforthe
redistributionofdierentkindsofknowledges.

Thequantiedsubject
Universitieshavealwaysbeenorganizationalstructures
withcertiedandrequiredprogramsofstudy,gradingsystem,
methodsforthelegitimateaccumulationofcreditsand
acceptableandnonacceptablestandardsofachievement.
Sincethestartofthe20thcentury,theyhavebeen
undergoinginternalchangesintheirorganizationalstructure.
Today,theyarelargesystemsofauthoritativecontrol,
standardization,gradation,accountancy,classication,credits
andpenalties.
Weneedtodecolonizethesystemsofmanagementinsofar
astheyhaveturnedhighereducationintoamarketableproduct
boughtandsoldbystandardunits.
Wemightneverentirelygetridofmeasurement,counting,
andrating.Weneverthelesshavetoaskwhethereachformof
measurement,countingandratingmustnecessarilyleadtothe
reductionofeverythingtostapleequivalence.
Wehavetoaskwhethertheremightbeotherwaysof
measuring,countingandratingwhichescapethetrapof
everythinghavingtobecomeanumericalstandardorunit.
Wehavetocreatealternativesystemsofmanagement
becausethecurrentones,dominatedbystatisticalreasonand
themaniaforassessment,aredeterringstudentsandteachers
fromafreepursuitofknowledge.Theyaresubstitutingthis
goaloffreepursuitofknowledgeforanother,thepursuit
ofcredits.
Thesystemofbusinessprinciplesandstatistical
accountancyhasresultedinanobsessiveconcernwiththe
periodicandquantitativeassessmentofeveryfacetof
universityfunctioning.
Anenormousamountoffacultytimeandenergyare
expendedinthefulllmentofadministrativedemandsfor
ongoingassessmentandreviewsofprogramsandinthe
compilationofextensivelesdemonstrating,preferablyin
statisticalterms,theirproductivitythenumberof
publications,thenumberofconferencepaperspresented,the
numberofcommitteesservedon,thenumberofcourses
taught,thenumberofstudentsprocessedinthosecourses-
quantitativemeasuresofteachingexcellence.
Excellenceitselfhasbeenreducedtostatistical
accountancy.
Wehavetochangethisifwewanttobreakthecyclethat
tendstoturnstudentsintocustomersandconsumers.
Wehavetochangethisandmanyothersites-iftheaimof
highereducationistobe,onceagain,toredistributeasequally
aspossibleacapacityofaspecialtypethecapacitytomake
disciplinedinquiriesintothosethingsweneedtoknow,butdo
notknowyet;thecapacitytomakesystematicforaysbeyond
ourcurrentknowledgehorizons.

Thephilosophicalchallenge
Letmenowmovetothemostimportantpartofthislecture.
Whilepreparingit,itbecamecleartomethatthequestionswe
faceareofaprofoundlyintellectualnature.
Theyarealsocolossal.Andifwedonotforegroundthem
intellectuallyintherstinstance;ifwedonotdevelopa
complexunderstandingofthenatureofwhatweareactually
facing,wewillendupwiththesameoldtechno-bureaucratic
xesthathaveledus,intherstplace,tothecurrentcul-de-
sac.
Tobeperfectlyfrank,Ihavetoaddthatourtaskisrendered
allthemorecomplexbecausethereishardlyanyagreementas
tothemeaning,andevenlesssothefuture,ofwhatgoesbythe
nameoftheuniversityinourworldtoday.
TheharderItriedtomakesenseoftheideaof
decolonizationthathasbecometherallyingcryforthose
tryingtoundotheracistlegaciesofthepast,themoreIkept
askingmyselftowhatextentwemightbeghtingacomplexly
mutatingentitywithconceptsinheritedfromanentirely
dierentageandepoch.Istodaysuniversitythesameas
yesterdaysorareweconfrontinganentirelydierent
apparatus,anentirelydierentrationalitybothofwhich
requireustoproduceradicallynewconcepts?
Weallagreethatthereissomethinganachronistic,
somethingfundamentallywrong,withanumberofinstitutions
ofhigherlearninginSouthAfrica.
Thereissomethingfundamentallycynicalwheninstitutions
whosecharacterisprofoundlyethno-provincialkeep
masqueradingasreplicasofOxfordandCambridgewithout
demonstratingthesameproductivityastheoriginalplacesthey
aremimicking.
Thereissomethingprofoundlywrongwhen,forinstance,
syllabidesignedtomeettheneedsofcolonialismand
Apartheidcontinuewellintothepost-Apartheidera.
Wealsoagreethatpartofwhatiswrongwithour
institutionsofhigherlearningisthattheyareWesternized.
Butwhatdoesitmeantheyarewesternized?
TheyareindeedWesternizedifallthattheyaspiretoisto
becomelocalinstantiationsofadominantacademicmodel
basedonaEurocentricepistemiccanon.
ButwhatisaEurocentriccanon?
AEurocentriccanonisacanonthatattributestruthonlyto
theWesternwayofknowledgeproduction.
Itisacanonthatdisregardsotherepistemictraditions.
Itisacanonthattriestoportraycolonialismasanormal
formofsocialrelationsbetweenhumanbeingsratherthana
systemofexploitationandoppression.
Furthermore,Westernepistemictraditionsaretraditions
thatclaimdetachmentoftheknownfromtheknower.
Theyrestonadivisionbetweenmindandworld,orbetween
reasonandnature,asanontologicalapriori.
Theyaretraditionsinwhichtheknowingsubjectisenclosed
initselfandpeeksoutataworldofobjectsandproduces
supposedlyobjectiveknowledgeofthoseobjects.Theknowing
subjectisthusable,wearetold,toknowtheworldwithout
beingpartofthatworldandheorsheisbyallaccountsableto
produceknowledgethatissupposedtobeuniversaland
independentofcontext.
Theproblembecausethereisaproblemindeedwiththis
traditionisthatithasbecomehegemonic.
Thishegemonicnotionofknowledgeproductionhas
generateddiscursivescienticpracticesandhassetup
interpretiveframesthatmakeitdiculttothinkoutsideof
theseframes.Butthisisnotall.
Thishegemonictraditionhasnotonlybecomehegemonic.
Italsoactivelyrepressesanythingthatactuallyisarticulated,
thoughtandenvisionedfromoutsideoftheseframes.
Forthesereasons,theemergingconsensusisthatour
institutionsmustundergoaprocessofdecolonizationbothof
knowledgeandoftheuniversityasaninstitution.
Thetaskbeforeusistogivecontenttothiscallwhich
requiresthatwebeclearaboutwhatwearetalkingabout.

IsdecolonizationthesamethingasAfricanization?
Callstodecolonizearenotnew.Norhavetheygone
uncontestedwhenevertheyhavebeenmade.Weallhavein
mindAfricanpostcolonialexperimentsinthe1960sand1970s.
Then,todecolonizewasthesamethingastoAfricanize.To
decolonizewaspartofanation-buildingproject.
FrantzFanonwasextremelycriticaloftheprojectof
Africanization.HiscritiqueofAfricanization(TheWreched
oftheEarth,chapter3)wasentirelypolitical.
First,hedidnotbelievethatnation-buildingcouldbe
achievedbythosehecalledthenationalmiddleclassorthe
nationalbourgeoisie.
FanondidnottrusttheAfricanpostcolonialmiddleclassat
all.
HethoughttheAfricanpostcolonialmiddleclasswaslazy,
unscrupulous,parasiticandabovealllackingspiritualdepth
preciselybecauseithadtotallyassimilatedcolonialistthought
initsmostcorruptform.
Notengagedinproduction,norininvention,norbuilding,
norlabour,itsinnermostvocation,hethought,wasnotto
transformthenation.Itwasmerelytokeepintherunningand
bepartoftheracket.Forinstanceitconstantlydemandedthe
nationalizationoftheeconomyandofthetradingsectors.
Butnationalizationquitesimplymeantthetransferinto
nativehandsofthoseunfairadvantageswhichwerealegacyof
thecolonialpast.
Healsothoughtthatintheaftermathofcolonialism,the
middleclassmanipulatedtheoverallclaimtoself-
determinationasawayofpreventingtheformationofan
authenticnationalconsciousness.
Inordertopreserveitsowninterests,themiddleclass
turnedthenationalprojectintoananemptyshell,acrudeand
fragiletravestyofwhatmighthavebeen.Inthiscontext,the
discourseofAfricanizationmostlyperformedideological
work.Africanizationwastheideologymaskingwhat
fundamentallywasaracketeeringorpredatoryprojectwhat
wecalltodaylooting.
Moreominously,Fanontookacertaindiscourseof
Africanizationtobeakintosomethinghecalled
retrogressionretrogressioniswhenthenationispassed
overfortherace,andthetribeispreferredtothestate.
Retrogressiontooiswhen,behindaso-callednationalist
rhetoric,lurksthehideousfaceofchauvinismtheheart
breakingreturnofchauvinisminitsmostbitteranddetestable
form,hewrites.
Intheaftermathofindependence,Fanonwitnessedevents
similartowhatweinSouthAfricacallxenophobicor
AfrophobicattacksagainstfellowAfricans.Hewitnessed
similareventsintheIvoryCoast,inSenegal,intheCongo
wherethosewecallforeigners,intheSouthAfricanlexicon,
controlledthegreaterpartofthepettytrade.
TheseAfricansofothernationswereroundedupand
commandedtoleave.Theirshopswereburnedandtheirstreet
stallswerewrecked.
FanonwasillateasewithcallsforAfricanizationbecause
callsforAfricanizationare,inmostinstances,alwayshaunted
bythedarkdesiretogetridoftheforeigner-adarkdesire
which,Fanonconfesses,madehimfuriousandsickatheart.
Itmadehimfuriousandsickatheartbecausetheforeigner
tobegottenridofwasalmostalwaysafellowAfricanfrom
anothernation.
AndbecausetheobjectivetargetofAfricanizationwasa
fellowAfricanfromanothernation,hesawinAfricanization
thenameofaninvertedracismself-racismifyoulike.
AsfarasIknow,Fanonsisthemosttrenchantcritiqueof
thedecolonization-as-Africanizationparadigm.
Hisisitsmosttrenchantcritiquebecauseofhisconviction
thatveryoften,especiallywhenthewrongsocialclassisin
charge,thereisashortcutfromnationalismtochauvinism,
andnallytoracism.
Inotherwords,wetoppleCecilRhodesstatueonlyto
replaceitwiththestatueofHitler.

Dierenceandrepetition
Now,ifAfricanizationanddecolonizationarenotthesame
thing,whatthenisthetruemeaningofdecolonization?
ForFanon,strugglesfordecolonizationarerstand
foremostaboutself-ownership.Theyarestrugglestorepossess,
totakeback-ifnecessarybyforce-thatwhichisours
unconditionallyand,assuch,belongstous.
Asatheoryofself-ownership,decolonizationistherefore
relational,alwaysabundleofinnaterights,capabilitiesand
claimsmadeagainstothers,takenbackfromothersandtobe
protectedagainstothersonceagain,byforceifnecessary.
Inhiseyes,self-ownershipisaprecondition,anecessary
steptowardsthecreationofnewformsoflifethatcould
genuinelybecharacterizedasfullyhuman.
Becominghumandoesnotonlyhappenintime,but
through,bymeansof,almostbyvirtueoftime.Andtime,
properlyspeaking,iscreationandself-creationthecreationof
newformsoflife.Andifthereissomethingwecouldcalla
Fanoniantheoryofdecolonization,thatiswhereitis,inthe
dialecticoftime,lifeandcreationwhichforhimisthesame
asself-appropriation.
Decolonizationisnotaboutdesign,tinkeringwiththe
margins.Itisaboutreshaping,turninghumanbeingsonce
againintocraftsmenandcraftswomenwho,inreshaping
mattersandforms,neednottolookatthepre-existingmodels
andneednotusethemasparadigms.
Thushisrejectionofimitationandmimicry.Thushis
calltoprovincializeEurope;toturnourbacksonEurope;to
nottakeEuropeasamodelandthisforallsortsofreasons:


[1]TherstwasthattheEuropeangamehasnallyended;
wemustndsomethingdierent;thatWetodaycando
everything,solongaswedonotimitateEurope(WoE,312);
ortodaywearepresentatthestasisofEurope(314);


[2]ThesecondwasthatItisaquestionoftheThirdWorld
startinganewhistoryofMan(315);wemusttrytosetafoota
newman(316).

Thetimeofdecolonizationhadadoublecharacter.Itwas
thetimeofclosureaswellasthetimeofpossibility.Assuchit
requiredapoliticsofdierenceasopposedtoapoliticsof
imitationandrepetition.
ItisnotverydiculttounderstandwhyforFanon,
decolonizationcametobesocloselyassociatedwiththese
fundamentalfactsaboutbeing,timeandself-creation,and
ultimatelydierenceasopposedtorepetition.
Thereasonisthatcolonizationitselfwasafundamental
negationoftime.

[1]Negationoftimeinthesensethat,fromthecolonialpoint
ofview,nativeswerenotsimplypeoplewithouthistory.They
werepeopleradicallylocatedoutsideoftime;orwhosetimewas
radicallyoutofjoint.

[2]Negationoftimealsointhesensethatthatessential
categoryoftimewecallthefuturethatessentialhuman
qualitywecallthedispositiontowardsthefutureandthe
capacityforfuturityallofthesewerethemonopolyofEurope
andhadtobebroughttothenativesfromoutside,asa
magnanimousgiftofcivilizationagiftthatturnedcolonial
violenceandplunderintoabenevolentactsupposedtoabsolve
thosesuchasRhodeswhoengagedinit.

[3]Thirdly,negationoftimeinthesensethat,inthecolonial
mind,thenativewasontologicallyincapableofchangeand
thereforeofcreation.Thenativewouldalwaysandforeverbea
native.Itwasthebeliefthatifsheorheweretochange,the
waysinwhichthischangewouldoccurandtheformsthatthis
changewouldtakeorwouldbringaboutallofthiswould
alwaysendinacatastrophe.

Inotherwords,thenativeprinciplewasaboutrepetition-
repetitionwithoutdierence.Nativetimewassheerrepetition-
notofeventsassuch,buttheinstantiationoftheverylawof
repetition.
Fanonunderstandsdecolonizationaspreciselyasubversion
ofthelawofrepetition.Inorderforthistohappen,
decolonizationhadtobe:
[1]Aneventthatcouldradicallyredenenativebeingand
openituptothepossibilityofbecomingahumanformrather
thanathing;
[2]Anhistoricaleventinthesensethatitcouldradically
redenenativetimeasthepermanentpossibilityofthe
emergenceofthenotyet.
[3]Tothecolonialframeworkofpre-determination,
decolonizationopposestheframeworkofpossibility
possibilityofadierenttypeofbeing,adierenttypeoftime,a
dierenttypeofcreation,dierentformsoflife,adierent
humanitythepossibilitytoreconstitutethehumanafter
humanismscomplicitywithcolonialracism.
Decolonization,hesays,isalwaysaviolentphenomenon
whosegoalisthereplacingofacertainspeciesofmenby
anotherspeciesofmen(35).
TheLatintermspeciesderivesfromarootsignifyingto
look,tosee.Itmeansappearance,orvision.Itcanalso
meanaspect.Thesamerootisfoundinthetermspeculum,
whichmeansmirror;orspectrum,whichmeansimage;in
specimenwhichmeanssign,andspectaculumwhichrefers
tospectacle.
WhenFanonusesthetermanewspeciesofmen,whatdoes
hehaveinmind?
Anewspeciesofmenisanewcategoryofmenwhoareno
longerlimitedorpredeterminedbytheirappearance,and
whoseessencecoincideswiththeirimagetheirimagenotas
somethingseparatefromthem;notassomethingthatdoesnot
belongtothem;butinsofarasthereisnogapbetweenthis
imageandtherecognitionofoneself,thepropertyofoneself.
Anewspeciesofmenisalsoacategoryofmenwhocan
createnewformsoflife,freefromtheshockrealizationthatthe
imagethroughwhichtheyhaveemergedintovisibility(race)is
nottheiressence.
Decolonizationistheeliminationofthisgapbetweenimage
andessence.Itisabouttherestitutionoftheessencetothe
imagesothatthatwhichexistscanexistinitselfandnotin
somethingotherthanitself-somethingdistorted,clumsy,
debasedandunworthy.

Seeingoneselfclearly
Now,letsinvokeanothertraditionrepresentedbyNgugiwa
Thiongo(DecolonizingtheMind,1981)forwhomtoAfricanize
hasaslightlydierentmeaning.
ForNgugi,toAfricanizeispartofalargerpoliticsnotthe
politicsofracketeeringandlooting,butthepoliticsoflanguage
orashehimselfputsit,ofthemothertongue.
Itisalsopartofalargersearch-thesearchforwhathecalls
aliberatingperspective.
Whatdoeshemeanbythisexpression?Hemainlymeansa
perspectivewhichcanallowustoseeourselvesclearlyin
relationshiptoourselvesandtootherselvesintheuniverse
(87).ItisworthnotingthatNgugiusesthetermdecolonizing
bywhichhemeansnotaneventthathappensonceandforall
atagiventimeandplace,butanongoingprocessofseeing
ourselvesclearly,ofemergingoutofastateofeitherblindness
ordazziness.
Weshouldnote,too,thelengthtowhichNgugigoesintying
uptheprocessofseeingourselvesclearly(whichinhismind
isprobablythesameasseeingforourselves)tothequestion
ofrelationality(atropeverypresentinvariousothertraditions
ofBlackthought,inparticularGlissant).
Wearecalledupontoseeourselvesclearly,notasanactof
secessionfromtherestofhumanity,butinrelationtoourselves
andtootherselveswithwhomwesharetheuniverse.
Andthetermotherselvesisopen-endedenoughto
include,inthisAgeoftheAnthropocene,allsortsofliving
speciesandobjects,includingthebiosphereitself.
LetmeaddthatNgugiis,morethanFanon,directly
interestedinquestionsofwritingandteachingwriting
oneself,teachingoneself.
Hebelievesthatdecolonizationisnotanendpoint.Itisthe
beginningofanentirelynewstruggle.Itisastruggleoverwhat
istobetaught;itisaboutthetermsunderwhichweshouldbe
teachingwhat-nottosomegenericgureofthestudent,butto
theAfricanchild,agurethatisverymuchcentraltohis
politicsandtohiscreativework.
LetmebrieyrecallthecorequestionsNgugiisgrappling
with,anditisprettyobviousthattheyarealsoours.
Whatshouldwedowiththeinheritedcolonialeducation
systemandtheconsciousnessitnecessarilyinculcatedinthe
Africanmind?Whatdirectionsshouldaneducationsystem
takeinanAfricawishingtobreakwithneo-colonialism?How
doesitwanttheNewAfricanstoviewthemselvesandtheir
universeandfromwhatbase,AfrocentricorEurocentric?What
thenarethematerialstheyshouldbeexposedto,andinwhat
orderandperspective?Whoshouldbeinterpretingthat
materialtothem,anAfricanornon-African?IfAfrican,what
kindofAfrican?Onewhohasinternalizedthecolonialworld
outlookoroneattemptingtobreakfreefromtheinheritedslave
consciousness?
Ifwearetodoanythingaboutourindividualandcollective
beingtoday,Ngugiargues,thenwehavetocoldlyand
consciouslylookatwhatimperialismhasbeendoingtousand
toourviewofourselvesintheuniverse(88).
InNgugisterms,decolonizationisaprojectofre-
centering.Itisaboutrejectingtheassumptionthatthemodern
WestisthecentralrootofAfricasconsciousnessandcultural
heritage.ItisaboutrejectingthenotionthatAfricaismerelyan
extensionoftheWest.
Indeeditisnot.TheWestassuchisbutarecentmomentof
ourlonghistory.LongbeforeourencounterwiththeWestin
the15thcenturyunderthesignofcapital,wewererelational,
worldlybeings.
Ourgeographicalimaginationextendedfarbeyondthe
territoriallimitsofthiscolossalContinent.Itencompassedthe
trans-SaharianvastexpansesandtheIndianOceanshores.It
reachedtheArabianPeninsulaandChinaSeas.
Decolonizing(laNgugi)isnotaboutclosingthedoorto
Europeanorothertraditions.Itisaboutdeningclearlywhat
thecentreis.
AndforNgugi,Africahastobeplacedatthecentre.
Educationisameansofknowledgeaboutourselves.After
wehaveexaminedourselves,weradiateoutwardsanddiscover
peoplesandworldsaroundus.WithAfricaatthecentreof
things,notexistingasanappendixorasatelliteofother
countriesandliteratures,thingsmustbeseenfromtheAfrican
perspective.Allotherthingsaretobeconsideredintheir
relevancetooursituationandtheircontributiontowards
understandingourselves.Insuggestingthiswearenotrejecting
otherstreams,especiallythewesternstream.Weareonly
clearlymappingoutthedirectionsandperspectivesthestudy
ofcultureandliteraturewillinevitablytakeinanAfrican
university.
IhavespentthisamountoftimeonNgugibecauseheis
arguablytheAfricanwriterwhohasmostpopularizedthe
conceptofdecolonizingwearetodayrelyingupontofoster
theprojectofafutureuniversityinSouthAfrica.Ngugidrew
practicalimplicationsfromhisconsiderationsandwemightbe
wisetolookintosomeoftheseaswegrapplewithwhatitmight
possiblymeantodecolonizeourowninstitutions.Mostofthese
implicationshadtodowiththecontentandextentofwhatwas
tobetaught(curriculumreform).
CrucialinthisregardwastheneedtoteachAfrican
languages.AdecolonizeduniversityinAfricashouldputAfrican
languagesatthecenterofitsteachingandlearningproject.
Colonialismrhymeswithmono-lingualism.
TheAfricanuniversityoftomorrowwillbemultilingual.
Itwillteach(in)Swahili,isiZulu,isiXhosa,Shona,Yoruba,
Hausa,Lingala,GikuyuanditwillteachallthoseotherAfrican
languagesFrench,PortugueseorArabichavebecomewhile
makingaspaceforChinese,Hinduetc.Itwillturnthese
languagesintoacreativerepositoryofconceptsoriginating
fromthefourcornersoftheEarth.
AsecondimplicationofNgugispositionisthatAfrica
expandswellbeyondthegeographicallimitsoftheContinent.
HewantedtopursuetheAfricanconnectiontothefour
cornersoftheEarthtotheWestIndies,toAfro-America.
Thelessonisclear.DecolonizinganAfricanuniversity
requiresageographicalimaginationthatextendswellbeyond
theconnesofthenation-state.
Alotcouldbesaidhereinviewofthesegregationistand
isolationisthistoriesofSouthAfrica.
Recentscholarshiponthemanyversionsofblack
internationalismanditsintersectionswithvariousotherforms
ofinternationalismscouldhelpinrethinkingthespatial
politicsofdecolonizationinsofarastruedecolonization,as
Duboisintimatedin1919,necessarilycentersonthedestinyof
humankindandnotofonerace,colororethnos.

Decolonizinginthefuturetense
Today,thedecolonizingprojectisbackontheagenda
worldwide.
Ithastwosides.Therstisacritiqueofthedominant
EurocentricacademicmodeltheghtagainstwhatLatin
Americansinparticularcallepistemiccoloniality,thatis,the
endlessproductionoftheoriesthatarebasedonEuropean
traditions;areproducednearlyalwaysbyEuropeansorEuro-
Americanmenwhoaretheonlyonesacceptedascapableof
reachinguniversality;aparticularanthropologicalknowledge,
whichisaprocessofknowingaboutOthers-butaprocessthat
neverfullyacknowledgestheseOthersasthinkingand
knowledge-producingsubjects.
Thesecondisanattemptatimaginingwhatthealternative
tothismodelcouldlooklike.
Thisiswherealotremainstobedone.Whateverthecase,
thereisarecognitionoftheexhaustionofthepresentacademic
modelwithitsoriginsintheuniversalismofthe
Enlightenment.BoaventuradeSousaSantosorEnriqueDussel
forinstancemakeitclearthatknowledgecanonlybethoughtof
asuniversalifitisbydenitionpluriversal.
Theyhavealsomadeitclearthatattheendofthe
decolonizingprocess,wewillnolongerhaveauniversity.We
willhaveapluriversity.
Whatisapluriversity?
Apluriversityisnotmerelytheextensionthroughoutthe
worldofaEurocentricmodelpresumedtobeuniversaland
nowbeingreproducedalmosteverywherethanksto
commercialinternationalism.
Bypluriversity,manyunderstandaprocessofknowledge
productionthatisopentoepistemicdiversity.
Itisaprocessthatdoesnotnecessarilyabandonthenotion
ofuniversalknowledgeforhumanity,butwhichembracesitvia
ahorizontalstrategyofopennesstodialogueamongdierent
epistemictraditions.
Todecolonizetheuniversityisthereforetoreformitwith
theaimofcreatingalessprovincialandmoreopencritical
cosmopolitanpluriversalismataskthatinvolvestheradical
re-foundingofourwaysofthinkingandatranscendenceofour
disciplinarydivisions.
Theproblemofcourseiswhethertheuniversitycanbe
reformedorwhetheritistoolate.

TheageofglobalApartheid
Weneednottobeblindtothelimitsofthevarious
approachesIhavejustsketched.
AsIsaidatthestartofthistalk,myfearisthatwemightbe
ghtingbattlesofthepresentandthefuturewith
outdatedtools.
Amoreprofoundunderstandingofthesituationwend
ourselvesintodayisrequiredifwearetobetterrethinkthe
universityoftomorrow.
Thereareanumberofthingswecandoalone.Forinstance,
turningouruniversitiesintosafespacesforblackstudentsand
stahasaneconomiccost.
Wecankeeptopplingthestatuesofthosewhowerermly
convincedthattobeblackisaliabilityand,toacertainextent,
wemust.
Wecanchangethenamesofinfamousbuildings,remakethe
iconographyoftheirinteriors,reformthecurriculum,de-
segregatethedormitories.Buttransformationwillnothappen
withoutarecapitalizationofourinstitutionsofhigherlearning.
Tobetterdesignthehighereducationlandscapeof
tomorrow,wealsoneedtopaycloseattentiontodeeper,
systemicglobaldynamics.
Wecannotlosesightofthepoliticaleconomyofknowledge
productioninthecontemporaryworldofhighereducationand
pretendtodecolonizeeithertheuniversityorknowledgeitself,
forthatmatter.
Theowsandlinkagesintheproduction,distributionand
consumptionofknowledgeareglobal.Theyarenotglobalin
thesamewayeverywhere,buttheyaredenitelyglobalandthe
worldofhighereducationitselfismadeupofdierentformsof
geo-politicalstratications.
Theuniversityasweknewitisdead.
Unawareofthisfact,manycountriesmightelecttokeep
livinginthemidstofitsruinsforalongtimetocome.
Spearheadedbyglobalmarkets,notablyspeculation-driven
nanceandapushforhyper-prots,theglobalrestructuringof
highereducationinitiatedatthebeginningofthe20thcentury
inAmericahasnowreacheditsnalstage.
Lateorthodoxyhasitthatuniversitiesaretooexpensive,too
fragmentedandtoonation-state-centricatatimewhen
economicintegrationataplanetarylevelmustbecomethe
newnorm.
Theurgency,wearetold,istomovetowardsapost-national
orpartiallydenationalizedhighereducationspacethatwill
increasetheavailabilityofaskilledlaborforceandfosterthe
transferabilityandcompatibilityofskillsacrossboundaries
whilehelpingtosetupintensiveresearchcollaborations
betweenuniversitiesandtransnationalcorporations.
Withinthisparadigm,thenewmissionassignedto
universitiesistoproduceinnovationsthatarenecessaryforthe
interestsoftransnationallymobilecapital.
Tothisend,asmallnumberofeliteuniversitiesmusttrain
tomorrowscreativeclasses.
Thesearepeoplewhoseeconomicinterestswillbeglobally
linked;whosebondsascitizensofaparticularnation-statewill
beweakenedwhilethoserestingonbeingthememberofa
transnationalclasswillbestrengthened.Theyaredestinedto
sharesimilarlifestylesandconsumptionhabits.
Therescalingoftheuniversityismeanttoachieveone
singlegoal-toturnitintoaspringboardforglobalmarketsin
aneconomythatisincreasinglyknowledgeandinnovation-
basedandthereforerequiresspecializedknowledgein
advancedmathematics,complexsystemsandtechnologiesand
intricateorganizationalformats.
Aconsequenceofthedenationalizationand
transnationalisationhasbeenthede-fundingofmajorpublic
institutionsintheWestandtheintensicationofthe
competitionamonguniversitiesthroughouttheworld.
Thebrutalityofthiscompetitionissuchthatithasopeneda
neweraofglobalApartheidinhighereducation.Inthisnew
era,winnerswillgraduatetothestatusofworldclass
universitiesandloserswillberelegatedandconnedtothe
categoryofglobalbushcolleges.
Globalbushcollegeswillkeepchurningoutmassesofsemi-
qualiedstudentssaddledwithmassivedebtsanddestinedto
jointhegrowingranksofthelow-incomeworkers,ofthe
unemployedandofthegrowingnumberofpeopleexpelled
fromthecoresocialandeconomicordersofourtimes.
Thisiswhatiscalledzoningorwarehousing.
Zoningisfuelledbythetremendousexpansionofhigher
educationonaglobalscale.
Thelatterhasopenedthewaytoanunprecedentederaof
studentmobilityandeducationalmigration.
Chinaalonehadastaggering419,000studentspursuing
highereducationoutsidethecountrysbordersin2008.Today,
Africansconstitute7%oftheinternationalstudentbodyin
Chineseuniversities.Theyarepresentinvirtuallyevery
province.AccordingtotheWorldTradeOrganization,outward
studentmobilityisincreasingfasterfromAfricathanfromany
othercontinent.
WhyisChinacomparativelywellpositionedtoattract
Africanstudents?
Well,partlybecauseofitsmoderatetuitionfees,lowliving
costs,welcomingvisapoliciesascomparedtomostWestern
destinationsand,moreandmore,SouthAfrica.AtWits,non-
nationalAfricanstudentspaymorethan700%whatSouth
Africanstudentspayannually.Theotherfactoristheextentto
whichAfricanstudentsinChinaareabletocombinestudies
withbusinessactivities,especiallyengagingintrade.
InSA,contrarytotheUnitedStates,anon-nationalsta
memberwithtenureisnotguaranteedapermanentwork
permit.Hisorherworkpermitmustnotonlybesubjectedto
renewalperiodically,butwheneverhemovesfromone
institutiontoanother,hemustreapplyforanentirelynewwork
permit.Furthermore,thereisnocorrelationbetween
permanentjobtenureandaccesstopermanentresidence.
Theparadigmoftheworldclassuniversityhasbecome
attractivetomanycountries,especiallyinAsiawherenational
governmentsarecopyingtheAnglo-Americanbasedmodelin
ordertorestructuretheirhighereducationsector.
Theworldslargestandmostpopulousnationsoutsidethe
WesternworldsuchasChina,India,Brazil,Indonesiaand
Pakistanareeducatinglargeskilledworkforces.Malaysia,the
GulfStates,andSingaporeareincreasinglysupportingthe
developmentofregionalinstitutionswhileestablishing
themselvesasmajorhubsfornewwavesofglobalizedhigher
education.
Thedevelopmentssketchedabovepartlyexplainwhy
universitieshavebecomelargesystemsofauthoritativecontrol
andstandardization.
Indeedhighereducationhasbeenturnedintoamarketable
product.Thefreepursuitofknowledgehasbeenreplacedby
thefreepursuitofcredits.Worldwidenotmuchdierentiates
studentsfromcustomersandconsumers.
Canweandshouldweghtagainstthistrend?Arethere
aspectsofthisprocessofdenationalizationthatcanbe
maximizedforourownobjectives?
Iftheuniversityhasbeeneectivelyturnedintoa
springboardforglobalmarkets,whatdotermssuchas
decolonizingknowledgepossiblymean?
CanwecompetewithChinainattractingAfricanstudentsto
ourshores?
Yes,ifwefullyembraceourownlocationintheAfrican
continentandstopthinkinginSouth-Africa-centricterms.
Yes,ifweentirelyredesignourcurriculaandourtuition
systems,revampourimmigrationpolicyandopennewpathsto
citizenshipforthosewhoarewillingtotietheirfatewithours.
OfallAfricannations,weareinthebestpositiontosetup
diasporicknowledgenetworkswhichwouldenablescholarsof
Africandescentintherestoftheworldtotransfertheirskills
andexpertisetoourstudentswithoutnecessarilysettlinghere
permanently.
ThisiswhatChinahasdonethroughits111programwhose
aimistorecruitoverseasChineseintellectualstomainland
universitiesonaperiodicbasis.
WearealsointhebestpositiontosetupstudyinAfrican
programsforourstudentsandtofosternewintra-continental
academicnetworksthroughvariousconnectivityschemes.This
ishowwewillmaximizethebenetsofbraincirculation.
Thespeed,scaleandvolumeofthephenomenonof
transnationaltalentmobilitywillonlyincreaseandwithit,the
emergenceofthenewrealityofknowledgediasporas.The
constitutionoftheseknowledgediasporasisencouraged,
supportedandnecessitatedbyglobalization.
Weneedtotakethisphenomenonseriouslyandstop
thinkingaboutitintermsoftheoriesofmigration.The
complexityofthecurrentmotiondeesthelabelsofbrain
drainandbraingain.Weliveinanageinwhichmostrelations
betweenacademicsareincreasinglyde-territorialized.
Letsdolikeothercountries.Take,forinstanceagain,China.
In2010,ChinesescholarsintheUSArepresented25.6%ofall
theinternationalscholars.InChinaitself,theyareregardednot
onlyasknowledgecarriersandproducersbutalsoascultural
mediatorscapableofinterrogatingtheglobalthroughthelocal,
preciselybecausetheyinhabitin-betweenspacesnotboundby
nation-states.
Wewillfosteraprocessofdecolonizationofouruniversities
ifweinvestinthesediasporicintellectualnetworksandifwe
takeseriouslythesespacesoftransnationalengagement,with
thegoalofharnessingforSouthAfricaandAfricatheoating
resourcesfreedbytheprocessofglobalisedtalentmobility.In
ordertoachievesuchagoal,wecannotaordtothink
exclusivelyinSouth-African-centricterms.
Therewillbenodecolonizationofouruniversitieswithouta
betterunderstandingofthecomplexdynamicsofglobal
movementtowhichwemustrespondthroughAfrica-centered,
pro-activeprojects.
Theaimofhighereducationinemergingdemocraciesisto
redistributeasequallyaspossiblethecapacitytomake
disciplinedinquiriesintothosethingsweneedtoknow,butdo
notknowyet.
Ourcapacitytomakesystematicforaysbeyondourcurrent
knowledgehorizonswillbeseverelyhamperedifwerely
exclusivelyonthoseaspectsoftheWesternarchivethat
disregardotherepistemictraditions.
YettheWesternarchiveissingularlycomplex.Itcontains
withinitselftheresourcesofitsownrefutation.Itisneither
monolithic,northeexclusivepropertyoftheWest.Africaand
itsdiasporadecisivelycontributedtoitsmakingandshould
legitimatelymakefoundationalclaimsonit.
Decolonizingknowledgeisthereforenotsimplyaboutde-
Westernization.
AswriterNgugiwaThiongoremindsus,itmostlymeans
developingaperspectivewhichcanallowustoseeourselves
clearly,butalwaysinrelationshiptoourselvesandtoother
selvesintheuniverse,non-humansincluded.

Deeptime
Finallywecannolongerthinkaboutthehumaninthe
sametermsweusedtountilquiterecently.
Atthestartofthisnewcentury,threeprocessesforceusto
thinkthehumaninentirelynewways.
Therstistherecognitionofthefactthatanepoch-scale
boundaryhasbeencrossedwithinthelasttwocenturiesof
humanlifeonEarthandthatwehave,asaconsequence,
enteredanentirelynewdeep,geologicaltime,thatofthe
Anthropocene.
TheconceptoftheAnthropoceneitselfdenotesanew
geologicalepochcharacterizedbyhuman-inducedmassiveand
acceleratedchangestotheEarthsclimate,land,oceansand
biosphere.
Thescale,magnitudeandsignicanceofthisenvironmental
changeinotherwordsthefutureevolutionofthebiosphere
andofEarthsenvironmentallifesupportsystemsparticularly
inthecontextoftheEarthsgeologicalhistory-thisisarguably
themostimportantquestionfacinghumanitysinceatstakeis
theverypossibilityofitsextinction.
Wethereforehavetorethinkthehumannotfromthe
perspectiveofitsmasteryoftheCreationasweusedto,butfrom
theperspectiveofitsnitudeanditspossibleextinction.
Thiskindofrethinking,tobesure,hasbeenunderwayfor
sometimenow.Theproblemisthatweseemtohaveentirely
avoideditinAfricainspiteoftheexistenceofaricharchivein
thisregard.
Thisrethinkingofthehumanhasunfoldedalongseveral
linesandhasyieldedanumberofpreliminaryconclusionsI
wouldliketosummarize.
Therstisthathumansarepartofaverylong,deephistory
thatisnotsimplytheirs;thathistoryisvastlyolderthanthe
veryexistenceofthehumanracewhich,infact,isveryrecent.
Andtheysharethisdeephistorywithvariousformsofother
livingentitiesandspecies.
Ourhistoryisthereforeoneofentanglementwithmultiple
otherspecies.Andthisbeingthecase,thedualisticpartitionsof
mindsfrombodies,meaningandmatterornaturefromculture
cannolongerhold.
Thesecondandthisiscrucialforthereneweddialoguethe
humanitiesmusthavewithlifeandnaturalsciences-isthat
matterhasmorphogeneticcapacitiesofitsownanddoesnot
needtobecommandedintogeneratingform.
Itisnotaninertreceptacleforformsthatcomefromthe
outsideimposedbyanexterioragency.
Thisbeingthecase,theconceptofagencyandpowermust
beextendedtonon-humannatureandconventional
understandingsoflifemustbecalledintoquestion.
Thethirdisthattobeasubjectisnolongertoact
autonomouslyinfrontofanobjectivebackground,buttoshare
agencywithothersubjectsthathavealsolosttheirautonomy.
Wethereforehavetoshiftawayfromthedreamsofmastery.
Inotherwords,anewunderstandingofontology,
epistemology,ethicsandpoliticshastobeachieved.Itcanonly
beachievedbyovercominganthropocentrismandhumanism,
thesplitbetweennatureandculture.
Thehumannolongerconstitutesaspecialcategorythatis
otherthanthatoftheobjects.Objectsarenotapoleopposed
tohumans.
Attheheartoftheeortsatreframingthehumanisthe
growingrealizationofourprecariousnessasaspeciesinthe
faceofecologicalthreatsandtheoutrightpossibilityofhuman
extinctionopenedupbyclimatechange.
Wearewitnessinganopeninguptothemultipleanities
betweenhumansandothercreaturesorspecies.Wecanno
longerassumethatthereareincommensurabledierences
betweenus,toolmakers,signmakers,languagespeakersand
otheranimalsorbetweensocialhistoryandnaturalhistory.
Ourworldispopulatedbyavarietyofnonhumanactors.
Theyareunleashedintheworldasautonomousactorsintheir
ownright,irreducibletorepresentationsandfreedfromany
constantreferencetothehuman.

Conclusion
Racehasonceagainre-enteredthedomainofbiological
truth,viewednowthroughamoleculargaze.Anewmolecular
deploymentofracehasemergedoutofgenomicthinking.
Worldwide,wewitnessarenewedinterestintermsofthe
identicationofbiologicaldierences.
Fundamentaltoongoingre-articulationsofraceand
recodingofracismaredevelopmentsinthelifesciences,andin
particularingenomics,inourunderstandingofthecell,in
neuroscienceandinsyntheticbiology.
Thisprocesshasbeenrenderedevenmorepowerfulbyits
convergencewithtwoparalleldevelopments.
Therstisthedigitaltechnologiesoftheinformationage
andthesecondisthenancializationoftheeconomy.
Thishasledtotwosetsofconsequences.Ontheonehandis
arenewedpreoccupationwiththefutureoflifeitself.The
corporealisnolongerconstruedasthemysteryithasbeenfora
verylongtime.Itisnowreadasamolecularmechanism.This
beingthecase,organismsincludinghumanorganismsseem
amenabletooptimizationbyreverseengineeringand
reconguration.Inotherwords,lifedenedasamolecular
processisunderstoodasamenabletointervention.
Thisinturnhasrevitalizedfantasiesofomnipotencethe
SecondCreation(vsApocalypse).
Asecondsetofconsequenceshastodowiththenewwork
capitalisdoingundercontemporaryconditions.
Thankstotheworkofcapital,wearenolonger
fundamentallydierentfromthings.Weturntheminto
persons.Wefallinlovewiththem.Wearenolongeronly
personsorwehaveneverbeenonlypersons.
Furthermorewenowrealizethatthereisprobablymoreto
racethanweeverimagined.
Newcongurationsofracismareemergingworldwide.
Becauserace-thinkingincreasinglyentailsprofoundquestions
aboutthenatureofspeciesingeneral,theneedtorethinkthe
politicsofracialisationandthetermsunderwhichthestruggle
forracialjusticeunfoldshereandelsewhereintheworldtoday
hasbecomeevermoreurgent.
Racismhereandelsewhereisstillactingasaconstitutive
supplementtonationalismandchauvinism.Howdowecreate
aworldbeyondnational-chauvinism?
Behindtheveilofneutralityandimpartiality,racialpower
stillstructurallydependsonvariouslegalregimesforits
reproduction.Howdoweradicallytransformthelaw?
Evenmoreominously,racepoliticsistakingagenomicturn.
Atstakeinthecontemporaryrecongurationsand
mutationsofraceandracismisthesplittingofhumanityitself
intoseparatespeciesandsub-speciesasaresultofmarket
libertarianismandgenetictechnology.
Atstakearealso,onceagain,theoldquestionsofwhois
whom,whocanmakewhatkindsofclaimsonwhomandon
whatgrounds,andwhoistoownwhomandwhat.Ina
contemporaryneoliberalorderthatclaimstohavegonebeyond
theracial,thestruggleforracialjusticemusttakenewforms.
Inordertoinvigorateanti-racistthoughtandpraxisandto
reanimatetheprojectofanon-racialuniversity,weparticularly
needtoexploretheemergingnexusbetweenbiology,genes,
technologiesandtheirarticulationswithnewformsofhuman
destitution.
Butsimplylookingintopastandpresentlocalandglobalre-
articulationsofracewillnotsuce.
Toteaseoutalternativepossibilitiesforthinkinglifeand
humanfuturesinthisageofneoliberalindividualism,weneed
toconnectinentirelynewwaystheprojectofnon-racialismto
thatofhumanmutuality.
Inthelastinstance,anon-racialuniversityistrulyabout
radicalsharinganduniversalinclusion.
Itisabouthumankindrulingincommonforacommon
whichincludesthenon-humans,whichisthepropernamefor
democracy.
Toreopenthefutureofourplanettoallwhoinhabitit,we
willhavetolearnhowtoshareitagainamongstthehumans,
butalsobetweenthehumansandthenon-humans.
________________
ProfessorAchilleMbembe,borninCameroon,obtainedhis
Ph.DinHistoryattheSorbonneinParisin1989andaD.E.A.in
PoliticalScienceattheInstitutdEtudesPolitiques(Paris).He
wasAssistantProfessorofHistoryatColumbiaUniversity,New
York,from1988-1991,aSeniorResearchFellowattheBrookings
InstituteinWashington,D.C.,from1991to1992,Associate
ProfessorofHistoryattheUniversityofPennsylvaniafrom
1992to1996,ExecutiveDirectoroftheCouncilforthe
DevelopmentofSocialScienceResearchinAfrica(Codesria)in
Dakar,Senegal,from1996to2000.Achillewasalsoavisiting
ProfessorattheUniversityofCalifornia,Berkeley,in2001,and
avisitingProfessoratYaleUniversityin2003.Hehas
writtenextensivelyinAfricanhistoryandpolitics,includingLa
naissancedumaquisdansleSud-Cameroun(Paris,Karthala,
1996).OnthePostcolonywaspublishedinParisin2000in
FrenchandtheEnglishtranslationhasbeenpublishedbythe
UniversityofCaliforniaPress,Berkeley,in2001.
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