Seminar #4 | «Deconfined Talks II»

The Afropolitans: from Rome 20 BC to Lisbon 2021

António Pinto Ribeiro (CES)

May 25, 2021, 16h00 (GMT +01:00)

Online event

Comments: Bruno Sena Martins | Moderator: Giuseppina Raggi


The term Afropolitan was coined in 2005 by Taiye Selasi in the article "Bye-Bye, Babar (Or: What is an Afropolitan?)", and defined the Afropolitan as possessing an urban and African identity and sensibility. Yet the beginnings of Afropolitanism date back to the presence of blacks in Europe under the Roman Empire and have continued over several centuries in very different ways and under very different conditions.

The term coined by Taye Selasi spread to the great African, and later on European, capitals. Almost simultaneously, the philosopher Achille Mbembe took the same term and turned it into an operative concept that produced a break with the traditional history of African Studies with regard to the emancipation of peoples. Refusing Afrocentrism and an essentialism in African identity, the author uses it to define the African diasporas in Europe and the United States, the literary production, fashion, visual arts, and cinema produced in these same diasporas or in Africa, in cosmopolitan environments that claim a transcultural cosmopolitanism and an assiduous and affirmative circulation of Africans and their ideas and productions between Africa and Europe and vice-versa.

In the current European artistic setting, the emergence of a group of artists who, for simplicity of language, are called African descendants, stands out. These artists belonging to the second and third generations of the African diasporas, Europeans, are the heirs of African memories via their parents and grandparents. They work on them, appropriating them in the way they consider most just, without abdicating their condition as producers of innovation and creativity in the present and in the transnationality regime of which they are defenders and protagonists. Two case studies will be presented in this 4th seminar of the series "Deconfined Talks II".


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