Felwine Sarr, “Thinking an Economy of the Living”

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Pyle Center Vandenberg Auditorium
@ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Co-sponsored by the Center for European Studies, Department of English, African Studies Program and the African Cultural Studies.

We are experiencing a global ecological and economic crisis. An instrumental relationship with our ecological home, inherited from the mechanistic cosmology of Western modernity, has led us to overexploit the resources of the biotope and endanger the conditions for the reproduction of life on earth. How, then, can we conceive of an economic order that, while metabolizing the biotope’s resources, preserves its sustainability and capacity for regeneration? How can we conceive of an economy (theory, praxis and axiology) whose aims include the order of the living world as a whole? What would a non-anthropocentric economy be like?


Felwine Sarr, La Chaux-de-Fonds, le 01 juin 2023. Photos © Guillaume Perret

Felwine Sarr is a Senegalese writer and academic. He is Anne-Marie Bryan Distinguished Professor of Romance Studies at Duke University in North Carolina, after having taught at University Gaston Berger at Saint-Louis in Senegal, where he is adjunct professor of Economics. His academic work focuses on the ecology of knowledge, contemporary African Philosophy, economic policy, epistemology, economic anthropology and the history of religious ideas. In 2016, he created with the historian Achille Mbembé, the Ateliers de la pensée de Dakar which is a platform that brings together intellectuals and artists from the Continent and the diasporas to think about the challenges of the contemporary world.

In 2018, the French president commissioned him to write a report, with the art historian Benedicte Savoy, on the restitution of African heritage present in French museums. He has published Dahij (Gallimard 2009), 105 Rue Carnot (Mémoire d’Encrier 2011), Méditations africaines (Mémoire d’Encrier 2012), Afrotopia (Philippe Rey 2016), Ishindenshin (Mémoire d’Encrier 2017), Habiter le monde (Mémoire d’Encrier 2017), Écrire l’Afrique-monde (collective work co-edited with Achille Mbembé, Philippe Rey 2017), Restituer le patrimoine africain (Philippe Rey/Seuil) with Benedicte Savoy and Politique des temps (co-edited with Achille Mbembé, Philippe Rey 2019), La saveur des derniers mètres (Philippe Rey 2021), Traces (Actes Sud, 2021), l’Économie à venir (Les liens qui Libèrent, 2021) with Gaël Giraud, and Les lieux qu’habitent mes rêves (Gallimard, 2022). He is the co-publisher with his publishing house Jimsaan of the Prix Goncourt 2021, La plus secrète mémoire des hommes by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr.