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GCSC KNL | Prof. Dr. Báyò Akómoláfé: "Spirited Away: Identity, Loss, and \cracks\ in Posthumanist Times"

Part of GCSC (Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture) Keynote Lecture Series


May 14, 2024 from 06:00 to 08:00 (Europe/Berlin / UTC200)


GCSC (KFR) & Online (BBB)

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"Like eddies of dust raised by the wind as it passes, the living turn upon themselves, borne by the great blast of life. They are therefore relatively stable, and counterfeit immobility so well that we treat each of them as a thing rather than as a progress, forgetting that the very permanence of their form is only the outline of a movement." - Henri Bergson 

Afro-Martiniquan philosopher Edouard Glissant once wrote: "Relation struggles and states itself in opacity. It defers self-importance. Relation does not assert Being, except to distract." Glissant's metaphysics of lines and Bergson's noticing that identity is the outline of a movement "counterfeiting immobility" are threaded through Dr. Akomolafe's posthumanist reworking of identity as thermal containment, as a moral technology for forging technologies of presence - however risky the prospects of presence are. In this lecture, Dr. Akomolafe uses the parabolic vehicle of "The Spaceship Human" and the "Afrocene" to suggest that the conditions that make identity a moral tool for claiming territory are overwhelmed by new deterritorializing forces at work. Identity seems to be bound up in persistent notions of the self, ideas of mastery, and the benefits of neurotypical citizenry. Perhaps, to critically address these moments, to cultivate new kinds of subjectivities, is to lose one's way, to forge new alliances. To be spirited away.

// Dr. Báyò Akómoláfé, rooted with the Yoruba people in a more-than-human world, is the father to Alethea Aanya and Kyah Jayden Abayomi, the grateful life partner to Ije, son and brother. A widely celebrated international speaker, posthumanist thinker, poet, teacher, public intellectual, essayist, and author of two booksThese Wilds Beyond our Fences: Letters to My Daughter on Humanity’s Search for Home (North Atlantic Books) and We Will Tell our Own Story: The Lions of Africa Speak, Bayo Akomolafe is the Founder of The Emergence Network, a planet-wide initiative that seeks to convene communities in new ways in response to the critical, civilizational challenges we face as a species. He is 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 University of California’s (Berkeley) Othering and Belonging Institute. He is also the inaugural Special Fellow of the Schumacher Centre for New Economics, the Inaugural Scholar in Residence for the Aspen Institute, the inaugural Special Fellow for the Council of an Uncertain Human Future, as well as Visiting Scholar to Clark University, Massachusetts, USA (2024). He has 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) and has been Commencement Speaker in two universities convocation events. He is also the recipient of the New Thought Leadership Award 2021 and the Excellence in Ethnocultural Psychotherapy Award by the African Mental Health Summit 2022. In a ceremony in July 2023, the City of Portland (Maine, USA) awarded Dr. Akomolafe with the symbolic ‘Key to the City’ in recognition of his planet-wide work and achievements.

Dr. Akomolafe is a Member of the Club of Rome, a Fellow for the Royal Society of Arts in the UK, and an Ambassador for the Wellbeing Economy Alliance.

Organised by the RA 6 "Cultural Identities"