by Vincent Lloyd
from Modern Believing Vol 57:3 - July 2016
The Cameroon-born, South Africa-based Achille Mbembe is one of the preeminent theorists of race writing today. Leading the current wave of critical race scholarship that views anti-Blackness as a metaphysical rather than merely social problem, Mbembe's work brings together the tools of psychoanalysis, critical theory, and postcolonial studies. In On the Postcolony, Mbembe focuses his critical lens on Africa as object of fantasy and resistance to fantasy; in his most recent work, Critique of Black Reason (2013), Mbembe turns to the figure of the Black. While Mbembe himself offers provocative suggestions about the implications of his work for religious thought, his account of anti-Blackness as a metaphysical problem opens provocative avenues for re-thinking Black theology. When Blackness is defined by death, the critical practice Mbembe describes and commends may be understood as a form of resurrection, restoring death-bound-being to life. I argue that reading Mbembe as part of a conversation in Black theology can expand the Black theological imagination.
ACHILLE MBEMBE, AFRICAN THEOLOGY, BLACK THEOLOGY, PSYCHOANALYSIS, RACISM