Review essay: on Mamdani's mode of thought

Kuan-Hsing Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This essay tracks the formation of a global intellectual, perhaps the only one, whose work moves across Africa, America and Asia. Mahmood Mamdani has been a central figure engaging in explaining the most controversial issues such as refugees, popular versus state nationalism, mass killings (Rowanda), settler versus native, colonial citizenship and its governed subject, September 11, the Dafur movement (and its self-indulgence), Imperial Human Rights, decolonizing university and knowledge production (the US as the first and never decololinzed), settler colonialism, etc. Fearless and thoroughly grounded, Mamdani's mode of thought is to historicize the conditions of the existence of the problematics in question with a theorization emerging out of the analyses. As a whole, Mamdani's political practices as educator and public intellectual and the body of brilliant work have been inspirational. The essay is written as an introduction to Decolonizing the World: A Mahmood Mamdani Reader, a collection of his selected work, to open the channel of interaction between Asia and Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)580-601
Number of pages22
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2017


  • Mamdani
  • Third World
  • decolonization
  • Africa


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