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On the Periphery at Potrero Stage Potrero Stage 1695 18th Street, San Francisco
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Felwine SARR

Felwine Sarr is a philosopher, economist, and musician; he is the author of Afrotopia (University of Minnessota Press, 2019, tr. by Drew S. Burk). Well-known for his groundbreaking report “The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage: Toward a New Relational Ethics,” Sarr teaches at the University of Gaston-Berger in Saint Louis, Senegal where he was previously dean of its Economics and Management department. His research focus on economic policies, the development economy, econometrics, epistemology, and the history of religious ideas. In addition to Afrotopia (Philippe Rey, Paris-Dakar, 2016), he has published the meditative essay Dahij (Gallimard, Paris, 2009), the collection of short stories 105, rue Carnot, the philosophical text Méditations Africaines (Mémoire d’encrier, Montréal, 2011) as well as the essay Habiter le monde and the collection Ishindenshin both published by Mémoire d’Encrier. Further, he co-founded the Laboratory for the Analysis of Societies and Powers/Africa-Diasporas (LASPAD) in Saint Louis, as well as the publishing company Jimsaan in Dakar. In 2016, he co-created with Achille Mbembe the annual Dakar and Saint Louis workshops Ateliers de la pensée, which sought to stimulate a “non-colonial” school of thought and the Ateliers de la pensée’s doctoral school.

A vibrant meditation and poetic call for an African utopian philosophy of self-reinvention for the twenty-first century

In the recent aftermath of colonialism, civil wars, and the AIDS crisis, a new day finally seems to be shining on the African continent. Africa has once again become a site of creative potential and a vibrant center of economic growth and production. No longer stigmatized by stereotypes or encumbered by the traumas of the past--yet unsure of the future--Africa has other options than simply to follow paths already carved out by the global economy. Instead, the philosopher Felwine Sarr urges the continent to set out on its own renewal and self-discovery--an active utopia that requires a deep historical reflection on the continent's vast mythological universe and ancient traditions, nourishes a cultural reinvention, and embraces green technologies for tackling climate change and demographic challenges.

Through a reflection on contemporary African writers, artists, intellectuals, and musicians, Sarr elaborates Africa's unique philosophies and notions of communal value and economy deeply rooted in its ancient traditions and landscape--concepts such as ubuntu, the life force in Dogon culture; the Rwandan imihigo; and the Senegalese teranga. Sarr takes the reader on a philosophical journey that is as much inward as outward, demanding an elevation of the collective consciousness.

Along the way, one sees the contours of an africanity, a contemporary Africa united as a continent through the creolization of its cultural traditions. This is Felwine Sarr's Afrotopia.

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