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On the Postcolony
Achille Mbembe
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On the Postcolony

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  172 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Achille Mbembe is one of the most brilliant theorists of postcolonial studies writing today. In On the Postcolony he profoundly renews our understanding of power and subjectivity in Africa. In a series of provocative essays, Mbembe contests diehard Africanist and nativist perspectives as well as some of the key assumptions of postcolonial theory.

This thought-provoking and
Hardcover, 274 pages
Published June 17th 2001 by University of California Press (first published January 1st 2001)
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Jan 04, 2011 Shoshone rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If it weren't for this site I might go on feeling like I'm the only person who's read this book. I think it's out of print now in the States and really difficult to get ahold of, except through the internet. Mbembe always makes me think of the guy Fanon mentioned in Black Skin, White Masks who was expelled from a French university for being black and having the "impudence to read Engels." Compared to other, much more celebrated contemporary theorists like Critchley or Niall Ferguson, Mbembe's ab ...more
A very difficult read since it is written in a academic, philosophical style, yet describes the 'Neo Africa' post Colonialism in much detail and how the nepotism, dictatorships and maladministrations function in the African Renaissance.

Prof. Mbembe discusses the three corner stones on which violence is based in take-overs of administration:

1) The founding violence - this is what underpin not only the right of conquest, but all the prerogatives flowing from that right;

2)pre- and post take-over
May 31, 2009 Gise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: guerilla-reads
Amazing. But very complicated to read. It is full of thick academia language. HArd to read but once you get through it, it has so much to say about the effects of colonialism and post colonialism in Africa.
Jun 30, 2008 Myriam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A truly novel, insightful conceptualizing of the "postcolony" by an African/French scholar. Some of the essays take after Fanon or Derrida but all take for granted the need to go beyond Hegelian philosophical thought to uncover the true state of modern Africa from within. Challenging and beautifully written even when tackling the subject of violence (sadism) and corruption in the colonial apparatus.
Apr 08, 2008 Hannah added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hannah by: b.a.bogues
I really liked this book and wished that I had a better foundation in...oh, say, politics, history, economics, semiotics...from which to comprehend it. Nonetheless, it was quite thrilling and I would recommend it.
Apr 20, 2012 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, Mbembe's book is invaluable for effectively connecting colonial/post-colonial representations of Africa with brutal exercise of multi-modal power (see Allen, Lost Geographies of Power) in order to gain and maintain control over actual spaces of colonialism (especially Mbembe's primary case study Cameroon). In particular, Mbembe's combination of metaphor and case study offers correctives to cultural studies work (e.g. Derridia and Lyotard) that concentrates unduly on textual deconstructi ...more
Jan 21, 2009 Upik rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: academicread
As much as I try to buldoze through the verbiage of this book, I couldn't finish it. It took me days and many cups of strong coffee with lots of sweetened condensed milk to go through just three chapters. Caffeine and sugar high, a necessity in wading past theories of postcolonialism.

I needed the help of Rita Abrahamsen's persuasion ("African studies and the postcolonial challenge" African Affairs (2003), 102, 189-201) to accept the necessary evil of convoluted language so that postcolonialist t
Christine Goding
This was one of the best books I have ever read. Challenging, insightful, and still current, I recommend it to everyone.
May 27, 2010 Phạm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely amazing theory!!! (on colonization and the postcolony). Learn so much every time I come back to this book!
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“In this respect, to convert is to locate oneself in a particular temporality and duration. This duration is that of the inexhaustible future constituted by the infinite, the time of eternity, the time that inaugurates divine existence and its extension in the redemption of the body; thus its final point of completion—if there is one—is the parousia.” 1 likes
“Not that there is no distress. Terrible movements, laws that underpin and organize tragedy and genocide, gods that present themselves in the guise of death and destitution, monsters lying in wait, corpses coming and going on the tide, infernal powers, threats of all sorts, abandonments, events without response, monstrous couplings, blind waves, impossible paths, terrible forces that every day tear human beings, animals, plants, and things from their sphere of life and condemn them to death: all these are present. But what is missing, far from the dead ends, random observations, and false dilemmas (Afrocentrism vs. Africanism), is any sign of radical questioning. For what Africa as a concept calls fundamentally into question is the manner in which social theory has hitherto reflected on the problem (observable also elsewhere) of the collapse of worlds, their fluctuations and tremblings, their about-turns and disguises, their silences and murmurings. Social theory has failed also to account for time as lived, not synchronically or diachronically, but in its multiplicity and simultaneities, its presence and absences, beyond the lazy categories of permanence and change beloved of so many historians.” 0 likes
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