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The Underestimated Continent

First Berlin Southern Theory Lecture with Senegalese Scholar and Writer Felwine Sarr on December 11, 2019

№ 332/2019 from Nov 07, 2019

Felwine Sarr’s scholarly work in economics, social sciences, and the humanities aims to draw attention to ideas and scientific knowledge from the global South, especially Africa. The Senegalese researcher will hold the first Berlin Southern Theory Lecture on December 11, 2019, in the foyer of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in Dahlem. Felwine Sarr, a professor of economics at the University Gaston Berger (Senegal), suggests a change of perspective. He believes that African countries should stop measuring themselves against Euro-American concepts of progress and modernity. Instead, they should establish their own theories and rely on local values in order to shift the direction in which African societies are moving. The Berlin Southern Theory Lecture series contributes to a global exchange of knowledge that redresses lingering postcolonial asymmetries in order to diversify theoretical debates in the social sciences and humanities. The lectures are organized by the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Freie Universität Berlin together with the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient. Felwine Sarr will hold his lecture “Rewriting the Humanities from Africa: for an Ecology of Knowledge” in English. The Berlin Southern Theory Lectures are free and open to the public.

Professor Felwine Sarr currently teaches economics at University Gaston Berger in Saint Louis (Senegal). His work focuses on macroeconomics, development economics, epistemology, economic policies, and the history of religious ideas. As a writer, he has published numerous essays and literary works, including Méditations africaines (Mémoire d’encrier, 2012) and Habiter le monde (Mémoire d’encrier, 2017), to name just two. He became well-known with his 2016 publication Afrotopia (Philippe Rey), in which he analyzes Africa’s decolonization and pursues ideas and concepts that would allow African societies and democracies to redefine themselves and reclaim their autonomy as they continue to develop – without reproducing the histories of Western industrialized nations. In 2018, Sarr and French art historian Bénédicte Savoy published Restituer le patrimoine africain (Seuil/Phillipe Rey), a report on the restitution of African artifacts taken by France during the colonial period. The report was commissioned by the French president, Emmanuel Macron.

Time and Location

  • Wednesday, December 11, 2019, 6:00 p.m.
  • In the foyer of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in Dahlem, Lansstraße 8, 14195 Berlin, Subway station: Dahlem-Dorf (U3)

Further Information