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CCDGB: Bayo Akomolafe, "Becoming-black: On white syncopation at the end of the world"

Climate Change, Decolonization & Global Blackness logo
Thursday, November 02, 2023
12:00 pm - 1:15 pm
Bayo Akomolafe
Climate Change, Decolonization & Global Blackness

Please join the Climate Change, Decolonization, and Global Blackness Lab (CCDGB) at the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute for our 2023-24 speaker series. CCDGB is part of The Entanglement Project, an FHI initiative focused on the intersections of race, health, and climate.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Bayo Akomolafe, Ph.D., is a widely celebrated international speaker, posthumanist thinker, poet, teacher, public intellectual, essayist, and author of two books, /These Wilds Beyond our Fences: Letters to My Daughter on Humanity's Search for Home/ and /We Will Tell our Own Story: The Lions of Africa Speak/. He is the Founder of The Emergence Network and host of the postactivist course/festival/event, 'We Will Dance with Mountains'. He currently lectures at Pacifica Graduate Institute, California. He sits on the Board of many organizations including Science and Non-Duality (US) and Ancient Futures (Australia). In July 2022, Dr. Akomolafe was appointed the inaugural Global Senior Fellow of UC Berkeley's Othering and Belonging Institute. He has also been Fellow for The New Institute in Hamburg, Germany, and Visiting Critic-in-Residence for the Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles (2023). He is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), among other recognitions.

ABOUT THE LECTURE: The Yorubas have a proverb: "In order to find your way, you must lose it." In this talk, Dr. Bayo Akomolafe draws from the transatlantic excursions of the Yoruba deities known as orishas and the concept of 'ase' to reframe blackness as a more-than-human, counterhegemonic flow of indeterminacy that "maddens the imperial individual" and teases apart the project of stability from an "external within." This coming-apart is white syncopation, also known as becoming-black. "Not a becoming 'Black', but a becoming 'black'. A becoming-monster. A losing one's way. A veering off-course. A becoming-imperceptible....[which] is not necessarily about building new institutions, winning legislative victories, receiving reparations, or gaining greater representation and visibility." Akomolafe suggests that this becoming-black is the condition for the emergence of an autistic politics that cradles 'the minor gesture' (Erin Manning) as a response to contemporary crises.