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“The Short Century”

Georges Adéagbo, Le Socialisme Africain, 2001. Installation views, Museum Villa Stuck, 2001.

In 1959, standing before the assembled participants of the Second Congress of Black Artists and Writers in Rome, Frantz Fanon urged those in attendance to reach out to “the people” where it is hardest to do so: “We must join them in the fluctuating movement which they are just giving a shape ... It is to the zone of occult instability where the people dwell that we must come.” The question raised by “The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, 1945–1994,” which opened in February at Munich’s Museum Villa Stuck, is exactly how to comprehend and represent this “zone of occult instability.” The goal demands a new cartography for a knotty complex of intellectual, political, and popular discourses, to demonstrate, for example, how cultural and political concerns converged to effectively rupture colonial hegemony. A rupture, furthermore, that could mean a (

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