African Marxist Discourses on the Cusp of 'Globalization': A Preliminary Review

Founded in 1974, the Review of African Political Economy, ROAPE, represented a focused attempt at “devising…strategy for Africa's revolution” and provided a forum for various discussions among African progressive activists and intellectuals of different stripes in the final quarter of the twentieth-century. With a metropolitan location, ROAPE's primary method was to mediate those discussions largely in terms of the international machinations of capitalism. In a 1985 retrospective, the review reflected on the shortcomings of this method. What is significant about these two moments in ROAPE's existence is the coincidence of the exhaustion of the kind of Marxist analysis it promoted with the ascendancy of a new political critique. Inflected with postmodernism and “the cultural turn,” this new political critique is also concerned with questions of diaspora, racial and other minority identities, and its relationship to capitalism is not always one of antagonism. It also eschews specific political affiliations, being forged through the complex historical. The WISER Review and the subsequent Salon of the Johannesburg Workshop on Theory and Criticism are representative of this political critique. This essay examines both formations as necessary but limited interventions, and assesses their value as theoretical attempts to understand realities on the African continent.

Publication Date:
Mar 21 2018
Date Submitted:
Nov 30 2018
Journal of African Literature Association

 Record created 2018-11-30, last modified 2019-04-03

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