Bayo Akomolafe

We Need A Break!: Falling into the Diffractive Cracks of Fugitivity 

Bayo Akomolafe dives into the ambiguities of this assertion and asks: “What kind of break do we need? Where do we need to be broken? What might we do with such ruptures and openings? What opportunities might they portend?” In this talk, Bayo Akomolafe appropriates the archetypal image of the runaway slave, the fugitive, or the transatlantic trickster, to weave together a thesis of fugitivity, prophetic imagination, and a micro-politics of “becoming-monstrous”). He suggests that the trickster – associated with molecular becomings and shape-shifting, is inviting the human to die. This “death” is only possible by the agency of the monstrous.

Bayo Akomolafe (PhD) was born in 1983 into a Christian home, and to Yoruba parents in western Nigeria. Losing his diplomat father to a sudden heart complication, Bayo became a reclusive teenager, seeking to get to the “heart of the matter” as a response to his painful loss. After meeting with traditional healers as part of his quest to understand trauma, mental wellbeing and healing in new ways, his deep questions and concerns for decolonized landscapes congealed into a life devoted to exploring the nuances of a “magical” world “too promiscuous to fit neatly into our fondest notions of it.”

Now living between India and the United States, Bayo is a father of Alethea Aanya and Kyah Jayden Abayomi. He is married to EJ, his dear life-partner of Indian descent.

In 2014, Dr. Akomolafe was invited to be the Special Envoy of the International Alliance for Localization, a project of Ancient Futures (USA). He left his lecturing position in Covenant University, Nigeria to help build this Alliance. Bayo has been Visiting Professor at Middlebury College, where he taught on his own formulated concepts of ‘transraciality’ and postactivism. He has also taught at Sonoma State University (CA, USA), Simon Fraser University (Vancouver, Canada), and Schumacher College (Totnes, England) – among other universities around the world. He currently lectures at Pacifica Graduate Institute, California and University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont.

Bayo is a widely celebrated international speaker, teacher, public intellectual, essayist and author of two books, These Wilds Beyond our Fences: Letters to My Daughter on Humanity’s Search for Home (North Atlantic Books) and We Will Tell our Own Story: The Lions of Africa Speak. He is also the Executive Director and Chief Curator for The Emergence Network and host of the online course, ‘We Will dance with Mountains’.


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