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Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa



Pr. Achille Mbembe (1996-2000)

Achille Mbembe is a Cameroonian historian and political scientist. As a student, he travelled around Africa, and discovered in Tanzania the thinking of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere at a time when Dar Es Salam was the center of intellectual debate and one of the main hubs for the struggle for Africa’s liberation. During his further studies in History at the Université de la Sorbonne, Paris, France, Achille wrote extensively in Le Monde diplomatique and wrote his doctoral thesis under the supervision of Dr. Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch. He also enrolled at the L’Institut d’études politiques (IEP) Paris for a Masters degree in Political Science. Achille Mbembe has taught in many American institutions, such as Columbia University (New York), Brookings Institution (Washington), the University of Pennsylvania, Berkeley University (California) and Yale University.

In 1996, he became CODESRIA’s Executive Secretary, a position which he occupied until January 2000 when he settled in South Africa, first as a History and Political Science professor at Witwatersrand University, and later as Research Director at the Witwatersrand Institute of Social and Economic Research (WISER) in Johannesburg. He later joined Stellenbosch University in Cape Town as a professor in the Sociology and Social Anthropology Department. Achille Mbembe is currently a Research Professor at the Witwatersrand Institute of Social and Economic Research (WISER) in Johannesburg

Among his publications are:

  • De la postcolonie. Essai sur l’imagination politique dans l’Afrique contemporaine, Karthala, Paris, 2000;
  • L’Afrique de Sarkozy : un déni d’histoire (with Jean-François Bayart, Pierre Boilley, Ibrahima Thioub, directed by de Jean-Pierre Chrétien), Paris, Karthala, 2008;
  • Johannesburg: The Elusive Metropolis (with Sarah Nuttall), Duke University Press, Durham, 2008; and
  • Sortir de la grande nuit – Essai sur l’Afrique décolonisée, Paris, La Découverte, 2010.
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