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Faculty: Valentin Mudimbe  

Valentin Mudimbe
Title: Newman Ivey White Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Office Location: 115 Art Museum, Buchanan and Trinity, Durham, NC 27701
Office Phone: +1 919 684 4240
Email Address:
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  • Ph.D., Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium), 1970

Research Interests:  

Newman Ivey White Professor of Literature at Duke University, V.Y. Mudimbe received his Doctorat en Philosophie et Lettres from the Catholic University of Louvain in 1970. In 1997, he became Doctor Honoris Causa at Université Paris VII Diderot, and in 2006, became Doctor Honoris Causa at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. Before coming to Duke, he taught at the Universities of Louvain, Paris-Nanterre, Zaire, Stanford, and at Haverford College. Among his publications are three collections of poetry, four novels, as well as books in applied linguistics, philosophy, and social sciences. His most recent publications include: L'Odeur du père (1982), The Invention of Africa (1988), Parables and Fables (1991), The Idea of Africa (1994), and Tales of Faith (1997). He is the editor of The Surreptitious Speech (1992), Nations, Identities, Cultures (1997), Diaspora and Immigration (1999), and editor of a forthcoming encyclopedia on African religions and philosophy. He is also former General Secretary of SAPINA (the Society for African Philosophy in North America) and co-editor with Robert Bates and Jean O'Barr of Africa and the Disciplines (1993).

V.Y. Mudimbe is a Membre Honoraire Correspondant de l’Académie Royale des Sciences d’Outre Mer (Belgium); a Member of the Société américaine de philosophie de langue française; as well as of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy, and the World Institute for Advanced Phenomenological Research and Learning. He has also served as Chairman of the Board of African Philosophy, and since 2000, as the Chairman of the International African Institute (SOAS, University of London). His interests are in phenomenology and structuralism, with a focus on the practice of everyday language. He regularly teaches on French existentialism, theories of difference, phenomenology, ancient Greek geography, and African themes.

Recent Publications   (More Publications)


  • Mudimbe, VY. África: pensamiento y controversias.  Centro de Estudios de Asia y África, El Colegio de México, 2014 .
Articles in a Journal
  • Mudimbe, VY. "Reading There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra." Journal of Asian and African Studies 48.6 (December, 2013): 671-682. Special Issue on Chinua Achebe: The Igbo, Pogrom, Biafra War and Genocide in Nigeria [doi]  [abs]
Introductions, Forewords and Afterwords
  • Mudimbe, VY. "Au nom de la gratitude: une méditation." Entre inscriptions et prescriptions. V.Y. Mudimbe et l'engendrement de la parole  (2013).
  • Mudimbe, VY. "Coda: On the Practice of a Conference." Recontextualizing Self & Other Issues in Africa: The Practice of a Conference  (2013): 235-252.
  • Mudimbe, VY. "Afterword: A Meditation of the Convener." Contemporary African Cultural Productions/Productions culturelles africaines contemporaines  (2013).

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