Following in the footsteps of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, the tenor of the postcolonial African culture has been justifiably anti-imperialist. In the 21st century, however, there has been a gradual but certain shift away from the “write-back” discourse paradigm, towards more integrative, globally inflected cultural interpretive models in Africa. This book celebrates the emergence of new interpretive paradigms such as in African philosophy, gender studies and literature.
Alain Locke, the central promoter of the Harlem Renaissance, is placed in conversation with leading philosophers and cultural figures in the modern world, from Aristotle to Obama. For teachers and students of contemporary debates in pragmatism, diversity, and value theory, these conversations' define new-and controversial-terrain.
The article analyzes two novels of migration by Nigerian women authors in the context of Afropolitanism: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah and Sefi Atta’s A Bit of Difference. It is argued that Afropolitanism obscures the reasons why migration from Africa to the West has been increasing in the decades since independence, rather than decreasing. In comparing the two novels, the article focuses on empathy towards and solidarity between fellow Nigerians, which has been seen by Nigerian philosopher Chielozona Eze as crucial (...) for building African civil society and functional state. (shrink)
Given that Enlightenment rationality developed in Europe as European nations aggressively claimed other parts of the world for their own enrichment, scholars have made rationality the subject of postcolonial critique, questioning its universality and objectivity. In _On Reason_, the late philosopher Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze demonstrates that rationality, and by extension philosophy, need not be renounced as manifestations or tools of Western imperialism. Examining reason in connection to the politics of difference—the cluster of issues known variously as cultural diversity, political correctness, (...) the culture wars, and identity politics—Eze expounds a rigorous argument that reason is produced through and because of difference. In so doing, he preserves reason as a human property while at the same time showing that it cannot be thought outside the realities of cultural diversity. Advocating rationality in a multicultural world, he proposes new ways of affirming both identity and difference. Eze draws on an extraordinary command of Western philosophical thought and a deep knowledge of African philosophy and cultural traditions. He explores models of rationality in the thought of philosophers from Aristotle, René Descartes, Francis Bacon, and Thomas Hobbes to Noam Chomsky, Richard Rorty, Hilary Putnam, and Jacques Derrida, and he considers portrayals of reason in the work of the African thinkers and novelists Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, and Wole Soyinka. Eze reflects on contemporary thought about genetics, race, and postcolonial historiography as well as on the interplay between reason and unreason in the hearings of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He contends that while rationality may have a foundational formality, any understanding of its foundation and form is dynamic, always based in historical and cultural circumstances. (shrink)
In this essay, an attempt is made to re-present African Communitarianism as a discursive formation between the individual and community. It is a view which eschews the dominant position of many Africanist scholars on the primacy of the community over the individual in the ‘individual-community' debate in contemporary Africanist discourse. The relationship between the individual and community is dialogical for the identity of the individual and the community is dependent on this constitutive formation. The individual is not prior to the (...) community and neither is the community prior to the individual. Contemporaneity explains this dialogic relationship and to argue otherwise threatens the individual's subjectivity to a vanishing point, or simply, to deny the individual a presence. On this trajectory, the politics of common good within the African value system can neither be described nor represented through consensus or unanimity but through a realist perspectivism or a worldview not held in abstraction from living traditions, cultures, and values that characterize the people of sub-Saharan Africa. South African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 27 2008: pp. 386-399. (shrink)
Publication date: 11 June 2018 Source: Author: Jude Nwafor Eze, Umar Aliyu, Abdulmalik Alhaji-Baba, Muhammad Alfa This research evaluates the farmers’ vulnerability to climate change in Niger State. Strategies for reducing the effect of climate change have regularly been made without experimental foundations and adequate information on farmers’ vulnerability to climate change in the study area. Thus, integrated farmers’ vulnerability assessment approach was employed by classifying socioeconomic and biophysical indicators of vulnerability into adaptive capacity, sensitivity and exposure to determine the (...) farmers’ vulnerability to climate change. This is based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s definition of vulnerability. The study adopted a survey design and the method utilized for the study was questionnaire administered to 400 households in the study area. The results indicate that the farmers’ vulnerability was low in zone A with a mean index of 2.86, very low in zone B with a mean index of 3.74, and high in zone C with a mean index of 1.95. It is recommended that measures should be taken to integrate climate change adaptation into Niger State development process. These measures should include improvement in adoption of good agricultural practices. (shrink)
Bringing together canonical philosophical texts from African, African-American, Afro-Caribbean, and Black European thinkers, this major new anthology is designed to serve both as a textbook and as the authoritative reference volume in Africana philosophical and cultural studies.
This paper argues that the dominant discourse on cosmopolitanism has largely focused on its constitutive character while ignoring its substantive essence. While recognizing the contribution made by other intellectual traditions, the paper argues that none of the approaches have yet answered basic questions of how to live with the stranger beyond the requirement of the law. The paper is also critical of those versions of cosmopolitanism that privileges subjective preference to members of our community over the stranger, or that advocates (...) eradication of boundaries as key condition for cosmopolitanism. The paper champions subjective equality through dialogue as a key condition for cosmopolitanism. Subjective equality on the other hand defines our terms of global justice. (shrink)
These are major excerpts from an interview that was conducted with Professor Kwasi Wiredu at Rhodes University during the 13th Annual Conference of The International Society for African Philosophy and Studies in 2007. He speaks on a wide range of issues such as political and personal identity, racism and tribalism, moral foundations, the Golden Rule, African communalism, human rights, personhood, consensus, meta-philosophy, amongst other critical themes.
Abstract Could the ?analytic? approach take greater roots in the traditions of African Philosophy? In this contribution, I give an affirmative answer to the question. However, I also argue that the process requires a ?political will?, as it involves a clear acknowledgement of the historical impetus animating the very idea?and contemporary institutional existences?of African philosophy.
The question of what political system best suites post colonial/independent African states remain alive and ever more pertinent particularly in the face of failed attempts at democratisation. Kwasi Wiredu notes that the adversarial nature of Western democratic practices along party political lines may not be well suited for African politics. Instead he suggests that the practice of consensual democracy as practised in the traditional Ashanti society may be more appropriate. Emmanuel Eze raises three objections against Wiredu’s account of consensual democracy. (...) This paper seeks to respond to Eze’s objections and argue that consensual democracy may have more appeal than Eze is prepared to concede. (shrink)
The title of Emmanuel Eze’s final, posthumously published book uses the words “reason” and “rationality” in a manner that might suggest they are interchangeable. I would like to suggest that we not treat them as the same, but rather tease out a difference in emphasis and reference between the two. In African philosophy, the problem of reason is really two separate problems, the first of which I will call the “problem of reason” (that is, the question of whether there are (...) diverse forms of reason or only one universal form) and the second the “problem of rationality” (that is, the question of whether everyone has the capacity to deploy reason past what mimicry or programming makes possible). Both of these problems are addressed by Eze’s schema for forms of reason. He identifies several forms, but focuses on “ordinary reason”, which allows all the other forms to operate. Ordinary reason also makes rationality possible, that is, the culturally specific yet emergent way of navigating forms of reason. Reason is necessarily diverse, because its multiple forms are deployed differently by different rationalities. (shrink)
Achieving Our Humanity explores a postracial future through a philosophical analysis of the social, cultural, economic and political experiences of race in the past and what this might mean for our present and, most importantly, our future.
In the first part of Habermas' Theory of Communicative Action, Africa serves as the paradigmatic “mythical” world against which the author establishes the achievements of the modern “rational” worldview.1 In addition, the modern societies analyzed through concepts such as “internal colonization,” “the uncoupling of system and lifeworld,” “the welfare state,” etc., in the second volume of that work are capitalist nation-states whose economic and political growth presupposed, from the 17th century on, imperial dominions, slavery, colonization and accompanying ideologies of white (...) supremacy.2 Thus, in Habermas' thought, Africa is present only as a negative case.3When Talcott Parsons wrote that 'What…. (shrink)
Publication date: 15 October 2018 Source: Author: Jude Nwafor Eze, Coleen Vogel, Philip Audu Ibrahim Flood is known to cause devastating livelihood impacts, suffering and economic damages. To reduce the impact of floods, it is very important to identify and understand the socio-economic factors that determine people’s ability to cope with stress or change. Consequently, the study assesses the social vulnerability of the households to floods in Niger State, in order to provide the empirical evidence necessary for flood adaptation policies (...) and strategies in the state. The data for the research were obtained from the household survey and Dartmouth Flood Observatory. The data obtained were analysed using descriptive and statistical analysis. The results show that flood events in the study area were caused by heavy rainfall, compounded by the opening of the Shiroro dam gate to release the excess flood in the reservoir. Moreover, results of Student “t” test and One-Way Analysis of Variance on socio-economic characteristics show that households’ major economic activities, educational status, household size, income distribution, and membership of cooperative society were significant at p 10, do not belong to cooperative society and earn less that N21000 per month have higher mean frequency, thus, the predominant households were, therefore, farmers, illiterate, have large family size, poor, and have no access to loan. Thus, the socio-economic characteristics of the households in the study area contribute to their vulnerability to floods by reducing their coping capacity. Based on the results of the assessment, it is recommended that measures are taken to mainstream flood adaptation into the development process. (shrink)
_Achieving Our Humanity_ explores a postracial future through a philosophical analysis of the social, cultural, economic and political experiences of race in the past and what this might mean for our present and, most importantly, our future.
There are international and so-called “global” forces framing Africa within a larger world, a world structured predominantly by Europe and North America and their needs for raw materials and markets, power, and leisure. This paper therefore pursues questions like, “What does democracy mean for Africans today?” and, “What does freedom mean when colonial liberation has been achieved?” or, to be more precise, “What is democracy in the world today from an African perspective?”. I distinguish between freedom (as the exercise of (...) autonomy and accompanying responsibility), and liberation (as the throwing off of foreign domination). I argue that democracy should be understood as a “concern for freedoms” (religious, economic, or political), and that democratic law seeks, in principle, the most space for the exercise of freedom for everyone. This conception of democracy is quite naturally the “other” face of the independence and liberation movements throughout Africa. (shrink)
There are international and so-called “global” forces framing Africa within a larger world, a world structured predominantly by Europe and North America and their needs for raw materials and markets, power, and leisure. This paper therefore pursues questions like, “What does democracy mean for Africans today?” and, “What does freedom mean when colonial liberation has been achieved?” or, to be more precise, “What is democracy in the world today from an African perspective?”. I distinguish between freedom, and liberation. I argue (...) that democracy should be understood as a “concern for freedoms”, and that democratic law seeks, in principle, the most space for the exercise of freedom for everyone. This conception of democracy is quite naturally the “other” face of the independence and liberation movements throughout Africa. (shrink)
This work is a sustained re-examination of philosophy's conception of "rationality" in general and "philosophic rationality" in particular. The history of Western philosophy is strongly marked by an objectivist conception of reason. Plato, Aristotle and Descartes believed that absolute and eternal Truth is accessible, and through their influence on Hume, Kant and Hegel among others, the history of modern European philosophy became one long quest for absolute certainty, total knowledge and "scientific" philosophy. ;Critical Modernism wants to construct a "chastened" idea (...) of reason, while maintaining that the emancipatory ideals of the Enlightenment can be invigorated by addressing its weaknesses and defending its strengths. The theory of "communicative rationality," which is meant to fulfill this goal, claims to be comprehensive, fallible, criticizable, revisable and yet lays claim to objectivity. In contrast to critical modernism, however, is a Wittgenstein-inspired relativist trend which proposes a "language-game" theory of rationality . Under this conception, what is "rational" or "irrational" is held to be intersubjectively constituted within irreducible and variable contexts of "languages." ;This work does not take a position for or against objectivism or relativism, Habermas or Winch, but seeks to transcend both oppositions through an indirect critique that puts into question the very framing of the problem. The work establishes not only an alternative conception of rationality but also an idea of philosophical pluralism that allows for a revision of the framing of the question. This is accomplished through entering into the traditions of African philosophy and deriving from them a model of a metaphysical and epistemological framework that grounds itself outside of the objectivism-relativism problematic in its current strictural frame. This model, derived from the Ifa tradition, maintains dialogue with the Western traditions, but exposes the objectivism-relativism debate as falsely framed and provides from its own resources epistemological categories that place the problematic in a fresh context, within a larger, wider, pluralist, rational and philosophic worldview. (shrink)
This paper analyses selected recent African theological works on the conceptual relationships between church and society. The author highlights what can be universally learned from the African writings with reference to debates about faith and its relationship to ideals of social and political justice. Some recent books by African theologians have taken up the challenge of directly confronting questions that arise from the relationships between Africa's religions and their wider social and political environment. The paper shows how according to these (...) theologians the church in Africa must be judged by what it does and by what it does not do vis-à-vis the larger societies of which it is a part. (shrink)
This article investigates the concept of Ubuntu/botho as a possible foundation for an African moral theory. It departs from an analysis of the idea of “human personhood” as a basis for moral agency, which is controversially debated within African philosophy. This notion of personhood relies on an understanding of the mutual interdependence of human beings. As a next step, the author critically assesses the discursive function of Ubuntu/botho in African societies and its misuse by political elites as ideological cover for (...) exclusionary and violent practices. By way of conclusion, the article stresses restoration as a key value associated with African humanism based on Ubuntu/botho. (shrink)