Dr Siphiwe Dube: "Decolonising the Theologico-Political Problem: A Reading through Mbembe’s Improvisation"

Event date: 
Wednesday 29 September
Dr Siphiwe Dube

An IASH Work-in-Progress seminar, delivered by Dr Siphiwe Dube (Africa Fellowship 2021; University of the Witwatersrand):

Decolonising the Theologico-Political Problem: A Reading through Mbembe’s Improvisation

The theologico-political problem, traditionally concerned with the question of the seat of authority or sovereignty in the western contexts (rendered through the metaphor of Jerusalem vs Athens or Revelation vs Reason), has been brought to the fore of late in a number of nation-states in Africa. To the end of rethinking the theologico-political problem or decolonising it, I draw not only on the tradition of Latin American decolonial thought, but also focus specifically on Achille Mbembe’s notion of improvisation as an important avenue through which we can decolonise the theologico-political problem and situate it meaningfully in the African context. My core argument is that such a decolonisation of the theologico-political problem is not only useful for centering African experiences in political theology broadly. It also further problematizes the decontextualized ways in which notions such as the theologico-political problem elide a history of “others” in their continued access primarily or even solely through so-called western experiences of state formation.

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