AAA Annual Meeting Program

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Paper Information:
Type: Paper
Paper Title: FUTURE CONDITIONAL: L. S. SENGHOR'S ROOTED COSMOPOLITANISM AND PLANETARY PRAGMATISM
Author: GARY WILDER (City University of New York-Graduate Center)   
Date/Time: Fri., 1:45 PM
Co-Author(s): GARY WILDER (City University of New York-Graduate Center) 
Abstract: This paper examines Léopold Sédar Senghor’s postwar writings about the prospects for African freedom after the end of empire as types of rooted cosmopolitanism, planetary pragmatism, strategic utopianism, and political theology. It will discuss how Senghor’s propositions about African decolonization (self-government without national sovereignty within federal states) and planetary reconciliation were bound up with attempts to think through the relationship between politics and time. Senghor’s political interventions were anticipatory and proleptic; they envisioned and enacted worlds to come. The paper will reflect on how Senghor’s postwar thinking might inform current attempts to understand African futurity and crisis. It will refer specifically to African immigrants in postcolonial France (sans papiers), the French state’s ongoing neocolonial policies toward Africa (Meditteranean Union and la françafrique), and constitutional experiments in legal pluralism (i.e., South Africa and Nigeria). By treating Senghor as a thinker of human emancipation, civilizational interdependence, and planetary solidarity, this paper will seek to de-provincialize African thought. It will also raise questions about the possible place of African thought and thinkers in the project to engage “the crisis of African futures.” It proposes that the apparent failure of particular plans for future freedom based on national independence and development states should not lead us to abandon either futurity or freedom as critical analytic categories.

Program Number: 3-0785
Session Title: AFRICAN FUTURES IN CRISIS
Session Sponsor: Co-Sponsored by Society for Cultural Anthropology and Society for Cultural Anthropology
Session Date/Time: Fri., 1:45 PM-5:30 PM
Organizer(s): BRIAN GOLDSTONE (Duke University) 
Chair(s): CHARLES PIOT (Duke University)  
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