Nidhal Chamekh Nos visages, 2019.
Photos : permission de l’artiste & Galerie Selma Feriani, Carthage

Decolonizing Knowledge and the Power of Becoming Common: An Interview with Seloua Luste Boulbina

Mirna Abiad-Boyadjian
Seloua Luste Boulbina is a philosopher. For many years, she has been developing thought related to decolonial becoming by focusing on the processes of (de)subjectivation, be they political, artistic, or literary, as well as on the role of creative indetermination, which provokes the emergence of subjectivities. In her resolutely transdisciplinary critical practice, she proposes new ways of addressing and thinking the postcolony, which, following Edward Said, she considers a polyphonic space or “interworld.” Luste Boulbina’s prolific theoretical writings have helped shed light on the postcolonial question, both epistemologically and methodologically, by elaborating approaches based on specific contexts (Kafka’s Monkey and Other Phantoms of Africa, trans. Laura E Hengehold (Indiana University Press, 2019); Les Arabes peuvent-ils parler? (Payot, 2011); and L’Afrique et ses fantômes: Écrire l’après (Présence africaine, 2015).

From 2010 to 2016, Luste Boulbina headed the Décolonisation des savoirs program at Collège international de philosophie, Paris, and in 2016 she established “Les artistes parlent aux philosophes,” an experimental laboratory in which I had the opportunity to participate. The laboratory brought together artists, philosophers, and art historians “engaged in the process of decolonizing rationality and the imaginary.” In close continuity with her singular line of thought, in her most recent book, Les miroirs vagabonds ou la décolonisation des savoirs (arts, littérature, philosophie), published in 2018 by Presses du réel, she highlights decolonization processes aimed at dismantling the colonial power matrix by exploring possibilities offered by the arts, literature, and philosophy. She generously agreed to an interview on certain issues examined in the book.

You must have a valid Digital or Premium subscription to access this content

Subscribe to Esse now to read the full text!

This article also appears in the issue 98 - Knowledge

Suggested Reading