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.

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