ABOUT THIS BOOK
Freedom Time reconsiders decolonization from the perspectives of Aimé Césaire (Martinique) and Léopold Sédar Senghor (Senegal) who, beginning in 1945, promoted self-determination without state sovereignty. As politicians, public intellectuals, and poets they struggled to transform imperial France into a democratic federation, with former colonies as autonomous members of a transcontinental polity. In so doing, they revitalized past but unrealized political projects and anticipated impossible futures by acting as if they had already arrived. Refusing to reduce colonial emancipation to national independence, they regarded decolonization as an opportunity to remake the world, reconcile peoples, and realize humanity’s potential. Emphasizing the link between politics and aesthetics, Gary Wilder reads Césaire and Senghor as pragmatic utopians, situated humanists, and concrete cosmopolitans whose postwar insights can illuminate current debates about self-management, postnational politics, and planetary solidarity. Freedom Time invites scholars to decolonize intellectual history and globalize critical theory, to analyze the temporal dimensions of political life, and to question the territorialist assumptions of contemporary historiography.
"Freedom Time is an important book. It is also exceptionally scholarly and extremely readable. Such qualities rarely inhere in a single text. And they are rarely bundled into an analysis so passionate and timely that excavates past attempts at human emancipation in order to reveal new pathways into modernization."
-- Massimiliano Tomba Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology
"Rich, dense, and meticulously researched, Gary Wilder’s book offers nuanced critical reflections on the alternative landscapes of freedom proposed by Aimé Césaire and Léopold Sédar Senghor."
-- Kaiama L. Glover French Studies
"There is an important message here ... for a broad audience, and I sincerely hope that it reaches beyond French Studies, postcolonial, or colonial historical studies. Wilder observes that Césaire, Sédar and their contemporaries in black Caribbean and African thought ‘are rarely included in general considerations of interwar philosophy or postwar social theory’ (9). What Freedom Time does most convincingly is to demonstrate that the social theory studied in European universities is weaker for this omission and that serious engagement with these thinkers is long overdue."
-- Lucy Mayblin Ethnic and Racial Studies
"[A] thoughtful and challenging work on the often maligned Negritude thinkers, poets, and politicians Aimé Césaire and Léopold Senghor."
-- Brett A. Berliner Callaloo
"[A] tremendous achievement in scope and originality. Readers who wish to think about the nation-state from a deeply historical and theoretically sophisticated perspective will be richly rewarded."
-- Anuja Bose Africa Today
"Freedom Time is an engaging book that combines cultural anthropology, political theory and postcolonial theory and offers the reader a detailed intellectual history of Leopold Senghor and Aimé Césaire between 1945 and 1960."
-- Frank Gerits European Review of History
"Gary Wilder’s Freedom Time constitutes an exciting and significant contribution to the field of nation and nationalism study in that he challenges the claim that decolonisation and self-determination can, and should, only lead to one form of state sovereignty: the nation-state."
-- Kristin Hissong Nations and Nationalism
"Wilder provides us with a provocative retelling of the intellectual and political vision of two luminaries of the 20th century, and he does a great service by recasting our attention to these two authors to provoke reflection on the condition of nationhood and sovereignty in the 21st century. The text is always engaging and at times possesses a lyricism that echoes the poetics of Césaire and Senghor.... This book is a welcome addition, providing a substantial contribution to the field of francophone intellectual history."
-- Michael Lambert Anthropological Quarterly
"Freedom Time is a dynamic treatise deftly upholding the Fanonian and Wynterian imperatives to navigate ongoing processes of decolonization and becoming Human betwixt and between the allure of emancipations masking as freedom."
-- Neil Roberts Theory & Event
"Freedom Time is an impressive, inspiring, necessary work. . . . Wilder's lucid, sensitively textured and impressively well-researched book allows us to rethink the meaning of decolonisation and the conceptual nexus surrounding it."
-- Deborah Walker-Morrison Cultural Studies Review
"Wilder’s reading of Senghor and Césaire is subtle and engaging, and challenges the idea that they were cynical – or naive."
-- Musab Younis London Review of Books
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