• Felwine Sarr Felwine Sarr

Felwine Sarr: Music, Freedom, Africa

Co-organized by the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs

In this conversation with music, Felwine Sarr addresses some of the topics that traverse his multidisciplinary work: freedom, dreams, relationality, repair, transmission, traces, and non-logocentric forms of sensemaking. Sarr is best known as the author of the award-winning Afrotopia (2016) and Report on the Restitution of African Cultural Heritage (2018), which shifted conversations at a global scale on the central role of Africa in the design of a planetary futurity and on the status of the colonial origins of art collections in museums around the world. In this presentation, music and poetry—often one and the same for him—take center stage as the core languages and practices through which Sarr meets and engages the world. Sarr performs songs from his career and converses with Natalia Brizuela.

Co-organized by the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs

Felwine Sarr—a Senegalese writer, scholar, composer, and musician—is the Anne-Marie Bryan Distinguished Professor of Romance Studies at Duke University. His academic writings focus on the ecology of knowledges, contemporary African philosophy, political economics, and the history of religious ideas. His most recent publications include Restituer le patrimoine Africaine (2018, essay with Benedicte Savoy), La saveur des derniers mètres (2021, nonfiction), Traces (2021, play), l’Economie a venir (2021, conversation with Gael Giraud), and Les lieux qu’habitent mes rêves (2022, novel). Sarr’s most recent solo album, Naïssan (2022)—sung in Serer, Wolof, French, and English—draws on the rhythms and traditions of Afro-folk, songwriting, and reggae to explore sensual traces of poetry and spirituality. He released two previous albums with the group Dolé, Civilisation ou barbarie (2000) and Les mots du récit (2005).

Natalia Brizuela is the Class of 1930 Chair of Letters & Sciences and a professor of film and media and Spanish and Portuguese at UC Berkeley.