Afrotopia: The Future of Africa

Felwine Sarr and Thomas Hylland Eriksen about decolonization, Eurocentrism, the role of art and the future of Africa.

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Organised byLitteraturhuset

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Portrett av Felwine Sarr og Thomas Hylland Eriksen
Foto: Francesca Mantovani og Harald Medbøe

How can Africa reach its full potential when Europe is still the blueprint to model oneself after? Not only has centuries of colonization and exploitation stripped the continent of opportunities, but the term “development” has all but become synonymous with following in Europe’s footsteps.

This is the argument of Senegalese academic Felwine Sarr in his book Afrotopia, which has had great influence in academic as well as public discourse. In it, he explores the possibility of a new Africa, with the help of African thinkers, artists and philosophic traditions. Africa needs a utopia, a goal to strive towards, without comparing themselves to others, Sarr says. How might such an afrotopia look?

Felwine Sarr is a leading academic and a prominent voice in public discourse. He is professor in economics at the Gaston-Berger University in Senegal, and professor of French and francophone studies at Duke University, USA, as well as a musician and the author of several novels. Together with the philosopher Achille Mbembe, he has established Les Ateliers De La Pensée, which gathers academics and writers from across Africa and the diaspora. In 2018, commissioned by President Emmanuel Macron, Sarr and the French art historian Bénédicte Savoy authored a seminal report on repatriation of African cultural artifacts from French museums.

Thomas Hylland Eriksen is professor of social anthropology at the University of Oslo, and the author of a number of books about topics such as identity, globalization and social development.

At the House of Literature, Hylland Eriksen will join Felwine Sarr for a conversation about decolonization, eurocentrism, the role of art and the future of Africa.

The conversation will be in English.

The event is part of our initiative on African literature, history, and societal discourse. You can read more about the project here.

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