Mbembe was born near Otélé in Cameroon in 1957. He obtained his Ph.D. in history at the University of Sorbonne in Paris, France, in 1989. He subsequently obtained a D.E.A. in political science at the Instituts d’études politiques in the same city. He has held appointments at Columbia University in New York, Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., University of Pennsylvania, University of California, Berkeley, Yale University, Duke University and Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) in Dakar, Senegal. Mbembe was assistant professor of history at Columbia University, New York, from 1988-1991, a senior research fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., from 1991 to 1992, associate professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania from 1992 to 1996, executive director of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (Codesria) in Dakar, Senegal, from 1996 to 2000. Achille was also a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2001, and a visiting professor at Yale University in 2003. He was a research professor in history and politics at Harvard University’s W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute. In 2020 Mbembe delivered the presidential lecture in the Humanities at Stanford University. Mbembe has written extensively on African history and politics, including La naissance du maquis dans le Sud-Cameroun (Paris: Karthala, 1996). On the Postcolony was published in Paris in 2000 in French and the English translation was published by the University of California Press, Berkeley, in 2001. In 2015, Wits University Press published a new, African edition. He has an A1 rating from the National Research Foundation.