Call for Participation: PhD Masterclass with 2024 Holberg Laureate Achille Mbembe


The Holberg Prize is offering scholarships for five PhD candidates in the Nordic countries to participate in a Masterclass with Professor Achille Mbembe on the topic "Thoughts on the Planetary" on 5 June, 2024. The deadline for applications is 25 April, 2024.

PhD candidates in the Nordic countries can now apply to participate in a Masterclass with Professor Achille Mbembe, the 2024 Holberg Laureate. The event takes place during the Holberg week in Bergen on Wednesday, 5 June, 2024, 10:00 – 12:00. 

Travel and accommodation expenses will be covered, and the participants are also invited to other events during the Holberg Week (4–7 June). The PhD Masterclass is open to the public, will be livestreamed, and video will remain online after the event.

“Thoughts on the Planetary”

The greates challenge facing critical theory now is the reframing of the disciplines in light of the long-term sustainability of life on Earth. 

To tease out alternative possibilities for thinking life and human futures in this age, there is no better laboratory than Africa. Our planet's destiny might be played out here. Yet, to write the world from Africa, or to write Africa into the world is an exhilarating and, most of the time, perplexing task. Why?

About Achille Mbembe.

Format and preparation

Drawing also on their own work, participants are asked to prepare a 5-minute presentation related to the main topic of the Masterclass. In addition to knowledge of the texts below, participants are also asked to prepare questions for Professor Achille Mbembe in advance. The discussion will be held in English. Please note that this event will be open to the general public.


Achille Mbembe, Out of the Dark Night. Essays on Decolonization (New York, Columbia University Press, 2020), pp. 1-41; 42-89; 223-230

Achille Mbembe, Critique of Black Reason (Durham, Duke University Press, 2017), Introduction (pp.1-9), Chapter 1 and 2 (pp. 10-77) and Epilogue (pp. 179-184). 

Achille Mbembe and David Theo Goldberg. "The Reason of Unreason: Achille Mbembe and David Theo Goldberg in conversation about Critique of Black Reason", Theory, Culture & Society, volume 35, 7-8, 2018.

Achille Mbembe, "Futures of Life & Futures of Reason", Public Culture, volume 33, 1, 2021, pp. 11-33.

Achille Mbembe, Brutalism (Durham, Duke University Press, 2023), Introduction & Conclusion, pp. 1-26; pp. 126-150.

Achille Mbembe, The Earthly Community. Reflections on the Last Utopia (Rotterdam, V2_Publishing, 2022), Introduction, Chapter 5 and Conclusion (pp. 7-34; 101-125)

How to apply

Apply for the Masterclass by completing the application form below. We ask that you submit a letter of motivation (no more than 3,500 characters), your CV and contact information. Deadline for applications: 25 April, 2024.

Apply here: Masterclass 2024

If you have any questions about the event, application requirements or practicalities, please contact the Holberg Prize Secretariat at