How Can We Talk about Humanism Today?

Ali Benmakhlouf, in conversation with Madeleine Dobie


Starting from an anthropological reading of Montaigne, Ali Benmakhlouf considers the way Montaigne speaks to us of others – Amerindians, Turks, Africans – and not of the Other. Diversity without alterity, but rather a single humanity: conceiving and judging make humanity a single species. The humanity of others is that of all those who, in their own way, have resisted slavery, forced conversion, colonialism and the Inquisition. By rejecting the concepts of “savage,” “primitive” and “barbarian,” Montaigne honors the common sense of all, a common sense that is always at work, sometimes stifled by dictatorships, colonizations and hegemonic powers, but never annihilated. It lies at the heart of every act of resistance, in other words, of every act of freedom.

Ali Benmakhlouf is Professor at Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (Morocco), and Director of the Center for African Studies. He is a member of the Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco and of the National Academy of Pharmacy. Author of numerous works on the philosophy of logic, classical Arab philosophy and medical ethics.

Madeleine Dobie is Professor of French at Columbia.  Her research interests include Francophone/postcolonial literature, colonial history, and 18th-century culture.  She is the author of Trading Places: Colonization and Slavery in 18th-Century French Culture and co-author of Relire Mayotte Capécia: une femme des Antilles dans l’espace colonial français (with Myriam Cottias).

Event Contact Information:
Maison Francaise


Apr 11 2024


6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


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Buell Hall (Columbia University)
515 W. 116th St.