This essay addresses Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1972) in relation to three moments: the time of its writing and publication; that of the next major global political epoch, the neoliberal turn of the 1970s and 1990s; and our current moment, when compounded crises bound up with the afterlives of colonialism—coming to a head in the form of planetary climate catastrophe and its attendant sociopolitical degradations—have rightfully renewed demands for a decolonization of the contemporary world. The three orientations that guide the essay—the conflict between Indigenous spatio-temporalities of life and experience as they underwent forced conformity with a homogeneous, “empty” time and space underpinning Eurocentric ideas of capitalist progress as well as the advancement of communism/socialism; a critique of unilinear Development models; and How Europe Underdeveloped Africa as a predecessor to contemporary decolonial theory—signal an approach to alternative modes of knowing for generating new possibilities for life.
Of “Realities and Possibilities”
Michaeline A. Crichlow is a historical sociologist whose interests and research are on development, decolonization, global Blackness, and the global Caribbean. At Duke University, she teaches in the Department of African and African American Studies and codirects the lab Climate Change, Decolonization, and Global Blackness, part of the Entanglement Series at the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute. She is currently completing a book manuscript on Hispaniola tentatively titled “Vistas, Violence, and the Politics of Place.”
Michaeline A. Crichlow; Of “Realities and Possibilities”. Small Axe 1 November 2023; 27 (3 (72)): 147–176. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-10899400
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