V. Y. Mudimbe
Early Life and Career
He was born in the Belgian Congo, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As a young man, he joined a monastery, but left in 1962 in order to study the forces that shaped African history. He studied in Louvain (PhD, 1970), came back to Congo and flew to the USA in 1979 for political reasons. After teaching at Haverford College and Stanford University, he is currently the Newman Ivey White Professor of Literature at Duke University. His work has had a major impact on many disciplines including Philosophy, Sociology, Anthropology, Linguistics, Literature, and History.
He is generally considered as the equivalent of Edward Saïd in African studies, notably because of his major book The Invention of Africa (1988), an essay widely regarded as being as significant in African studies as Saïd's Orientalism (1978). A considerable body of work has been devoted to Mudimbe's publications.
Mudimbe focuses most closely on phenomenology, structuralism, mythical narratives, and the practice and use of language. As a professor, he teaches classes on these topics, as well as on ancient Greek cultural geography.
- Junior College Degree, Lovanium University, Leopoldville (Kinshasa), Congo (1962)
- Diploma, Lovanium University, Kinshasa, Congo (1964)
- BA, Lovanium University, Kinshasa (1966)
- Graduate Studies, University of Paris (1968)
- PhD with High Honors, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium (1970)
- Déchirures (1971)
- Entre les eaux (1973); trans. as Between Tides by Stephen Baker (1991)
- Entretailles (1973)
- L'Autre Face du royaume (1973)
- Les Fuseaux (1974)
- Le Bel immonde (1976); trans. as Before the Birth of the Moon by Marjolijn de Jager (1989)
- L'Ecart (1979); trans. as The Rift by Marjolijn de Jager (1993)
- Shaba deux (1988)
- Les Corps glorieux des mots et des êtres (1994)
- L'Odeur du père, Présence Africaine (1982)
- The Invention of Africa : Gnosis, Philosophy and the Order of Knowledge, Indiana University Press (1988)
- Parables and Fables : Exegesis Textuality and Politics in Central Africa, The University of Wisconsin Press (1991)
- The Surreptitious Speech: Presence Africaine and the Politics of Otherness 1947-1987, University of Chicago Press (1992)
- Africa & the Disciplines, coeditor, University of Chicago Press (1993)
- The Idea of Africa, African Systems of Thought, Indiana University Press, (1994)
- Tales of Faith: Religion as Political Performance in Central Africa, Athlone Press (1997)
- Nations, Identities, Cultures, editor, Duke University Press (1997)
- Diaspora and Immigration, coeditor, South Atlantic Quarterly special issue, Duke University Press (1999)
- The Normal & Its Orders, coeditor, Editions Malaïka (2007)
- On African Fault Lines: Meditations on Alterity Politics, University of KwaZulu-Natal Press (2013)
On Mudimbe's work
- In English
- White fathers in colonial central Africa : a critical examination of V.Y. Mudimbe's theories on missionary discourse in Africa Friedrich Stenger, Münster : London : Lit, 2002.
- Singular performances : reinscribing the subject in Francophone African writing, Charlottesville : University of Virginia Press, 2002.
- Postcolonial theory and Francophone literary studies, Adlai Murdoch and Anne Donadey. Gainesville : University Press of Florida, 2005.
- Postcolonial Francophone autobiographies : from Africa to the Antilles Edgard Sankara, Charlottesville : University of Virginia Press, 2011.
- VY Mudimbe: Undisciplined Africanism Pierre-Philippe Fraiture, Liverpool, Liverpool University Press, 2013.
- In French
- V.Y. Mudimbe, ou, Le discours, l'écart et l'écriture, Bernard Mouralis, Présence Africaine, Paris, 1988
- Le roman africain face aux discours hégémoniques : étude sur l'énonciation et l'idéologie dans l'œuvre de V.Y. Mudimbe, Jean-Christophe Luhaka A. Kasende, L'harmattan 2001.
- L'Afrique au miroir des littératures, des sciences de l'homme et de la société : mélanges offerts à V.Y. Mudimbe, Kasende, Jean-Christophe Luhaka A, L'harmattan, 2003.
- V.Y. Mudimbe et la ré-invention de l'Afrique: poétique et politique de la décolonisation des sciences humaines, Kasereka Kavwhairehi, éditions Rodopi, 2006.
- Pour un nouvel ordre africain de la connaissance : hommage à V.Y. Mudimbe sous la direction de Alphonse Mbuyamba-Kankolongo, Paris, 2011.
- Duke University Department of Literature – Dr. Mudimbe's faculty page at Duke University
- University of Cambridge – lecture announcement which explains some of Mudimbe's beliefs (especially about the social sciences) and gives some biographical information
- Electronic Review of French and Italian Literary Essays – review of Mudimbe's The Invention of Africa by a Northwestern University professor; touches on his philosophies