Abstract I: This essay offers a reflection on the ‘global South’ category, starting from Culture and Imperialism by Edward Said to finish with the last work by Jean and John Comaroff Theory from the South, thus joining the contemporary theoretical debate on the future of the ‘southern world’. Since the time of Said, the planet has seen radical changes and the East-West axis of the Cold War has been replaced by the postcolonial North-South axis, with the added complication of the rise of China as a global economic power in the East. This essay tries to untangle such complications through the positions of, among others, Achille Mbembe, reflecting on the fate of Africa as linked to that of China, and of Franco Cassano, with his hope in a southern epistemology, not yet devoured by capitalist fundamentalism.
This article begins by reflecting on how the geopolitical configuration outlined in Edward Said’s Culture and imperialism (1993) has been radically altered both by the decline of the US empire and, in conjunction with it, by what Jean and John Comaroff describe, in the subtitle of Theory from the south (2012), as Euro-America’s evolution toward Africa. From there, the article turns to Viva Riva! (2010) and District 9 (2009), two films that appropriate the conventions of Hollywood blockbusters to produce cinematic narratives set in contemporary
African urban landscapes which lend themselves to be viewed through the lens of recent theoretical debates on the becoming global of the south. These films’ gazes produce an image of African cities that is legible as a dystopic vision of the global future.