After explaining the rationale for bringing the author of The Old Drift, Namwali Serpell, and critical theorist Homi Bhabha into conversation, this interview with both of them explores some of the key themes of Serpell’s novel in relation to its wider geopolitical and historical context. Beginning with how we can understand the state of the planet in the present historical moment, the discussion expands to explore the broad context of more themes in the novel, which includes the place of gender and sexual politics, a global pandemic in a time of national and financial closures, cosmopolitanism, the space race and reverberations of the Cold War in the present, and the continued relevance, if any, of postcolonial theory, technology, revolution, and futurity.

Research in African Literatures, vol. 53(3): 161-167.

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diversity and plurality

“Join us to create more diversity and plurality in knowledge production.”

Gisela Febel
Afterlife of colonialism

“Contradiction comes in many different forms. None is so debilitating than when the coloniser transitions, textually not politically, to decoloniality without taking the responsibility for the afterlife of colonialism, which they continue to benefit from. Self-examination and self-interrogation of the relations of coloniality, a necessity, seem nearly impossible for the coloniser who continues to act as beneficiary, masked in the new-found language of White fragility, devoid of an ethical responsibility of the very system of White domination they claim to be against.” (Black Consciousness and the Politics of the Flesh)

Rozena Maart
sustained engagement

“The history of Western philosophy can be understood as a sustained engagement with contradiction.”

Norman Sieroka

“According to Niklas Luhmann, space is a ‘special facility to negate contradictions’”.

Julia Lossau

“The basis of law is not an idea as a systematic unified principle but a paradox.”

Andreas Fischer-Lescano