This work of translation is what it is partly because it is the result of a friend-
ship: I have taught and collaborated closely with Achille Mbembe for several
years, and also co- led the Francophone Postcolonial Studies Playgroup with
him, during which visits to museums, ice cream parlors, and playgrounds
have served as the backdrop for ongoing conversations. Aniel, Anton, and
Lea, the other participants in this group, are perhaps those who deserve the
greatest ac knowledgment, among many who have helped create this transla-
tion. Perhaps I can attribute to them the sense of freedom that I brought to
this proj ect, in which the goal was to somehow transmit the poetic nature
of Mbembe’s prose into the right pacing, imagery, and openness in En glish.
There are, of course, many others who made this proj ect pos si ble. Ken
Wissoker of Duke University Press had the idea of having me translate the
work. Eliza Dandridge, a doctoral student at Duke University, expertly re-
read and critiqued a full draft of the translation. And the Franklin Humani-
ties Center funded a translation manuscript workshop, which allowed
us to gather a remarkable array of colleagues to discuss an early draft
of a few translated chapters, providing guidance and inspiration: Srinivas
Aravamudan, Sandie Blaise, J. Kameron Car ter, Roberto Dainotto, Ainehi
Edoro, Michael Hardt, Azeen Khan, Ranjana Khana, Adriane Lentz- Smith,
Anne- Maria B. Makhulu, Emma Monroy, Mark Anthony Neal, Sarah Nutall,
Charlie Piot, Rachel Rothendler, and Anne- Gaëlle Saliot. Fi nally, two
anonymous reviewers for Duke University Press provided encouragement
and thoughtful critique that made the final version of this what it is.
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