Kafka's Monkey and Other Phantoms of Africa

Kafka's Monkey and Other Phantoms of Africa

Seloua Luste Boulbina, translated by Laura Hengehold
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 05/24/2019
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-04192-0
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Even though many of France's former colonies became independent over fifty years ago, the concept of "colony" and who was affected by colonialism remain problematic in French culture today. Seloua Luste Boulbina, an Algerian-French philosopher and political theorist, shows how the colony's structures persist in the subjectivity, sexuality, and bodily experience of human beings who were once brought together through force. This text, which combines two works by Luste Boulbina, shows how France and its former colonies are haunted by power relations that are supposedly old history, but whose effects on knowledge, imagination, emotional habits, and public controversies have persisted vividly into the present. Luste Boulbina draws on the work of Michel Foucault, Frantz Fanon, and Édouard Glissant to build a challenging, original, and intercultural philosophy that responds to blind spots of inherited political and social culture. Kafka's Monkey and Other Phantoms of Africa offers unique insights into how issues of migration, religious and ethnic identity, and postcolonial history affect contemporary France and beyond.

Author Bio

Seloua Luste Boulbina teaches political theory at the Institut d'Études Politique in Paris and is a research associate and PhD supervisor at the Laboratoire de changement social et politique (Laboratory for Social and Political Change) at l'Université Paris VII. She is the author and editor of many books, including Les Arabes peuvent-ils parler? (Can the Arabs Speak?) and Grands Travaux à Paris (The Great Urban Projects of Paris).

Laura Hengehold is Professor of Philosophy at Case Western Reserve University. Her previous books include The Body Problematic: Kant and Foucault on Political Imagination and Simone de Beauvoir's Philosophy of Individuation. She is editor (with Nancy Bauer) of the Blackwell Companion to Simone de Beauvoir and editor and translator of Jean Godefroy Bidima's Law and the Public Sphere in Africa: La Palabre and Other Writings.



Seloua Luste Boulbina's analyses are seething with insight, brilliant in their tone, and way way beyond what "postcolonial studies" imagines it needs to do. She assaults the reader with a series of pricks to the skin and conscience that are too obvious and evident and unseen and unnoticed until she shows them to us.




Through a series of complex and sophisticated philosophical interventions, Seloua Luste Boulbina reevaluates the history of colonialism, subjectivities in Africa, gender issues, and race relations in Africa.


 (Frieda Ekotto, author of Race and Sex across the French Atlantic)

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Table of Contents


Translator's Introduction

Prologue: Thinking the Colony

Part I: Kafka's Monkey and Other Reflections on the Colony

1. With Respect to Kafka's Monkey

2. Challenging Historical Culture

3. The Colony, Mirage, and Historical Reality

Part II: Africa and its Phantoms: Writing the Afterward


1. Saving One's Skin

2. History, an Interior Architecture

3. Language, an Internal Politics

4. Sexed Space and Gender Unveiled

5. Having a Good Ear


Part III: Epilogue: From Floating Territories to Disorientation