This memoriam essay begins with a reflection on the author’s relationship to Drucilla Cornell, the famed activist, revolutionary legal theorist, social and political philosopher, playwright, and biographer. It then proceeds to examine her contributions to Africana existential revolutionary thought and the Caribbean-inspired project of shifting the geography of reason.
In this paper, we take our cue from Kevin Schilbrack’s admonishment that the philosophy of religion needs to take religious practices seriously as an object of investigation. We do so by offering Afro-Brazilian traditions as an example of the methodological poverty of current philosophical engagement with religions that are not text-based, belief-focused, and institutionalized. Anthropologists have studied these primarily orally transmitted traditions for nearly a century. Still, they involve practices, such as offering and sacrifice as well as spirit possession and (...) mediumship, that have yet to receive attention from philosophers. We argue that this is not an accident: philosophers have had a highly restricted diet of examples, have not looked at ethnography as source material, and thus still need to put together a methodology to tackle such practices. After elucidating Schilbrack’s suggestions to adopt an embodiment paradigm and apply conceptual metaphor theory and the extended mind thesis to consider religious practices as thoughtful, we offer criticism of the specifics of his threefold solution. First, it assumes language is linear; second, it takes a problematic view of the body; and third, it abides by a misleading view of the “levels” of cognition. We conclude that the philosophy of religion should adopt enactivism to understand religious practices as cognitive enterprises. (shrink)
The article argues that there are three senses of the term African diaspora – a continental, a cultural and a racial sense – which need to be distinguished from each other when conceptualising Black African diasporas in Europe. Although African Diaspora Studies is occupied with African diasporas in a racial sense, usually it has conceptualised these in terms of racial and cultural identities. This is also true of the past decades of African Diaspora Studies on Europe. This article makes an (...) argument for a socio-political conceptualisation of Black African diasporas in Europe that includes, but goes beyond, matters of identity and culture. (shrink)
This chapter outlines the philosophy of the Pan-African conferences 1900–1945 and situates Pan-Africanism in a European context. It presents Pan-Africanism as part of European history and realities and as a conceptual framework for the African diaspora in Europe. It calls for reframing European histories and realities in ways that are neither racially exclusive nor nationalistic.
Filosofía del cimarronaje proposes a phenomenology of marronage in order to explore how marronage can be used as a framework to understand contemporary sociopolitical movements. More fundamentally still, Filosofía del cimarronaje seeks to explore how marronage can be understood as a particular way of being in the world of racial capitalism and anti-Blackness. The text begins by providing the reader a broad history of slavery and colonization in the Americas, the production of whiteness as a political category in those processes (...) to safeguard the consolidation of racial capitalism, and the ubiquity and diversity of marronage across the hemisphere. Crucially, it emphasizes that flight from the plantation also constituted flight from the underlying logics which manifest on the plantation. The text then transitions to explore the ways in which logics of slavery and colonization persist today and argues that if slavery and marronage are inextricable, then logics of marronage must persist today as well. This book argues that a maroon subjectivity is constituted by a tension which involves the affirmation of one’s existence beyond the confines of Western humanism and a confrontation which seeks to fracture those logics of the plantation, which then manifest on multiple registers. The book then applies this framework to contemporary sociopolitical occurrences in Puerto Rico, specifically the summer of 2019 and instances of autogestión, in an attempt to shed new light on how these events and practices are viewed. Filosofía del cimarronaje contributes to the growing literature of marronage, while also contributing to the canon of contemporary Caribbean and Puerto Rican philosophical thought. -/- With a foreword by Anayra Santory Jorge and an afterword by Nelson Maldonado-Torres. (shrink)
A journey through The Mind of Africa offers one a breath-taking scenery of the cultural traditions, practices, and conceptions of African societies. Interlacing his exposition with proverbs and sayings, Abraham offers unique perspectives and interpretations of the Akan culture and conceptual scheme – Akan cultural values, social and political institutions, metaphysical conceptions of man and society – as paradigmatic of the culture and conceptual schemes of African societies. But crucially, Abraham reveals, examines, and rejects, a plethora of unfounded notions about (...) Africans and their cultures – some of these erroneous ideas are often repackaged and recited even in present times. In reading the book, one will come to understand and appreciate the theoretical underpinnings and the practical significance of the African experience. (shrink)
This thesis project imagines future possibilities of humanity for Black women of the African Diaspora. It provides a lay of the land of decolonial projects in Latin American and Information Studies, suggesting alternative directions, strategies and methods for the work. These directions are guided by the knowledges of my ancestors. Using a spiritual-cosmological-pedagogical approach to ground endogenous epistemologies of Black Women in the African Diaspora, the fundamental elements of love connect us back to the essences of nature, so that we (...) may move into alignment and find balance. This thesis imagines future possibilities for Black women that help us to save our own lives and live well. (shrink)
This thesis is a narrative on how different groups struggle for the understanding provided to the Afro-Brazilian religions of the process promoted by the Brazilian State with the objective of a nationality configuration. An ongoing process which has no precise date for its beginning. The end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, when the debate on the construction of a nation ideal, the Brazilian nation, starts to emerge, mark the start of the reflection presented in this (...) thesis, which spans the 20th century, anchoring in the present times. It is therefore a reflection about a historic process according to the social sciences, especially anthropology. An issue spans the entire narrative: under which definition of religion was it possible to embrace such a religious segment in the public space? Instead of “definition”, in the singular form, it would be better to use "definitions", which varies throughout the process insofar as the Afro-Brazilian religions trace their passage from religion to culture, from culture to religion. The passage is a privileged moment of observation in which arguments that legitimize the presence of the Afro-Brazilian religious in the public space, are formulated. Arguments which contradicts, congregates, juxtapose themselves and are expressed in the debate about the Brazilian cultural heritage constitution. Thus, the formulation and execution of the public heritage policy, regarding the Afro-Brazilian religions is emphasized in the narrative, which also focus on the public racial policy, trying to present the articulations of the black movement and Afro-religious movement in the construction of these arguments. Considering the articulations not only in a national ground as well as in a local ground, in this case, the city of Belo Horizonte. (shrink)
Anton Wilhelm Amo (c. 1700 – c. 1750) – born in West Africa, enslaved, and then gifted to the Duke of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel – became the first African to earn a Ph.D. in philosophy at a European university. He went on to teach philosophy at the Universities of Halle and Jena. On the 16th of April, 1734, at the University of Wittenberg, he defended his dissertation, De Humanae Mentis Apatheia (On the Impassivity of the Human Mind), in which Amo investigates the (...) logical inconsistencies in René Descartes’ (1596 – 1650) res cogitans (mind) and res extensa (body) distinction and interaction by maintaining that (1) the mind does not sense material things nor does it (2) contain the faculty of sensing. (shrink)
This article presents Paul Ricœur’s hermeneutic of the productive imagination as a methodological tool for understanding the innovative social function of texts that in exceeding their semantic meaning, iconically augment reality. Through the reasoning of Rastafari elder Mortimo Planno’s unpublished text, Rastafarian: The Earth’s Most Strangest Man, and the religious and biblical signification from the music of his most famous postulate, Bob Marley, this article applies Paul Ricœur’s schema of the religious productive imagination to conceptualize the metaphoric transfer from text (...) to life of verbal and iconic images of Rastafari’s hermeneutic of word, sound and power. This transformation is accomplished through what Ricœur terms the phenomenology of the iconic augmentation of reality. Understanding this semantic innovation is critical to understanding the capacity of the religious imagination to transform reality as a proclamation of hope in the midst of despair. (shrink)
Afro-Nordic Landscapes: Equality and Race in Northern Europechallenges a view of Nordic societies as homogenously white, and as human rights champions that are so progressive that even the concept of race is deemed irrelevant to their societies. The book places African Diasporas, race and legacies of imperialism squarely in a Nordic context. How has a nation as peripheral as Iceland been shaped by an identity of being white? How do Black Norwegians challenge racially conscribed views of Norwegian nationhood? What does (...) the history of jazz in Denmark say about the relation between its national identity and race? What is it like to be a mixed-race black Swedish woman? How have African Diasporans in Finland navigated issues of race and belonging? And what does the widespread denial of everyday racism in Nordic societies mean to Afro-Nordics? This text is a must read for anyone interested in issues of race in the Nordic region and Europe writ large. As Paul Gilroy writes in his foreword, it is a book that "should be studied with care and profit inside the Nordic countries and also outside them by the broader international readership that has been established around the study of racism and 'critical race theory'.". (shrink)
Much of the literature on the African philosophy of education juxtaposes two philosophical strands as mutually exclusive entities; traditional ethnophilosophy on the one hand, and ‘scientific’ African philosophy on the other. While traditional ethnophilosophy is associated with the cultural artefacts, narratives, folklore and music of Africa’s people, ‘scientific’ African philosophy is primarily concerned with the explanations, interpretations and justifications of African thought and practice along the lines of critical and transformative reasoning. These two alternative strands of African philosophy invariably impact (...) understandings of education in different ways: education constituted by cultural action is perceived to be mutually independent from education constituted by reasoned action. Yusef Waghid argues for an African philosophy of education guided by communitarian, reasonable and culture dependent action in order to bridge the conceptual and practical divide between African ethnophilosophy and ‘scientific’ African philosophy. Unlike those who argue that African philosophy of education cannot exist because it does not invoke reason, or that reasoned African philosophy of education is just not possible, Waghid suggests an African philosophy of education constituted by reasoned, culture-dependent action. This book provides an African philosophy aimed at developing a conception of education that can contribute towards imagination, deliberation, and responsibility - actions that can help to enhance justice in educative relations, both in Africa and throughout the world. This book will be essential reading for researchers and academics in the field of the philosophy of education, especially those wanting to learn from the African tradition. (shrink)
Is power the ability to influence something or someone? Does power have anything to do with authority or control? Is power given by others or earned by the individual? I begin this article with the word and idea of power because some of the chapters in this book focus on power dynamics and all of the authors in this volume discuss how landscapes are perceived in the past or in the present. In this chapter, I will explore landscapes as more (...) than just places affected by people, but made of living species – plants, trees, birds, animals, fish, and so forth, while recognizing that it is people who bring social and symbolic meaning to these places. Therefore, I see power in who transformed the plantation from a “natural landscape” to “cultural landscape” as the central component in understanding black cultural production in the 19th century. Taking my lead from the work of cultural geographers, landscape historians, and landscape architects, I wanted to examine the transformative process in cultural landscapes and perhaps tease out who ultimately shapes these cultural locations. (shrink)
Philosophy in an African Place shifts the central question of African philosophy from "Is there an African philosophy?" to "What is it to do philosophy in this place?" This book both opens up new questions within the field and also establishes "philosophy-in-place", a mode of philosophy which begins from the places in which concepts have currency and shows how a truly creative philosophy can emerge from focusing on questioning, listening, and attention to difference.
In this undergraduate textbook Lewis R. Gordon offers the first comprehensive treatment of Africana philosophy, beginning with the emergence of an Africana consciousness in the Afro-Arabic world of the Middle Ages. He argues that much of modern thought emerged out of early conflicts between Islam and Christianity that culminated in the expulsion of the Moors from the Iberian Peninsula, and from the subsequent expansion of racism, enslavement, and colonialism which in their turn stimulated reflections on reason, liberation, and the meaning (...) of being human. His book takes the student reader on a journey from Africa through Europe, North and South America, the Caribbean, and back to Africa, as he explores the challenges posed to our understanding of knowledge and freedom today, and the response to them which can be found within Africana philosophy. (shrink)
Notwithstanding its many successes, African-centred pedagogy (ACP) has been vulnerable to criticism, implicit and explicit, from several quarters. For example, ACP can be justly criticized for not recognizing the general diversity of blacks in America, a “nation” of more than 30 million spread across a tremendous variety of lifeways, locations, and historical circumstances. It also has been accused of abandoning the democratic purposes of the civil rights movement and repudiating its real successes. In addition to the ambiguities of Black identity, (...) many difficulties also attend the conceptualization and implementation of ACP. To examine the various challenges that confront ACP, our essay will be framed by the following three questions: (1) Does the historical context in which many black children live justify the existence of African-centered schools? (2) Does ACP prepare black children to participate in a democratic society? (3) Does the construction of an essentialist racial identity in ACP compromise its mission and success? In response to the first question, we will briefly review the historical conditions and circumstances of American schooling for blacks before considering both the motivations for establishing African-centered schools and the aims of ACP. Efforts to forge a parallel society and to foster Black consciousness and pride, including the establishment of separatist schools, are not new. We will limit our historical overview to the years following the 1954 Brown decision and leave to others the examination of historically unique examples of separate Black schooling that predate the rise of African-centered schools in their present incarnation. We conclude that both historical and contemporary realities do in fact justify some forms of voluntary separated schooling such as African-centered schools. (shrink)
The scope of Philosophy in Multiple Voices provides the reader with eight philosophical streams of thought-African-American, Afro-Caribbean, Asian-American, Feminist, Latin-American, Lesbian, Native-American and Queer-that introduce readers to alternative, complex philosophical questions concerning gendered, sexed, racial and ethnic identities, canon formation, and meta-philosophy. The overriding theme of the text is that philosophy is pluralistic in voice, rich in diversity, and ought to valorize democratic intellectual spaces of philosophical engagement.
African Philosophy is a collection of previously unpublished essays that address epistemological and metaphysical concerns that have emerged from the sub-Saharan regions of Africa. The primary focus of the book is on traditional African conceptions of mind, person, personal identity, truth, knowledge, understanding, objectivity, and reality. The collection also discusses traditional African conceptions of causation, destiny, and free will.
This volume of newly commissioned essays provides comprehensive coverage of African philosophy, ranging across disciplines and throughout the ages. _ Offers a distinctive historical treatment of African philosophy. Covers all the main branches of philosophy as addressed in the African tradition. Includes accounts of pre-colonial African philosophy and contemporary political thought. _.
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.
The academic strife to parse, investigate and adjust human functioning establishes varieties of at least three key concepts: behavior, action, activity. Depending on the general approach chosen, human functioning is therefore defined in a certain way and in a certain understanding of freedom. Within this paper, the pragmatist considerations of John Dewey offer a sophisticatedly formulated theory of human functioning that, undoubtedly, takes action-theoretical paths but formulates underlying assumptions in a significantly unusual way. The main focus is to outline the (...) theory in such a way that clearly shows the unusual as part of the usual and the usual as part of the unusual. For this purpose, the first section defines action as the basic category of Deweyan human functioning where sensory stimuli, registering elements and motor responses play a leading role, but according to Dewey questions the today still popular model of behaviorist psychology, that positions isolated and a-cultural stimulus-response-procedures in the human organism. The second section affirms the theoretical inclusion of deliberative elements that constitute human action, but according to Dewey witnesses their substantial and rather sporadic significance in a predominantly habitual human functioning. The conclusive section outlines the possibilities and limits of transforming habitually inured patterns of human conduct by means of reconstructive habits. (shrink)
This paper focuses on analysis of relation between pedagogical and epistemological ideas of John Dewey. Our considerations are divided into four sections. We reconstruct Dewey’s conception of culture as a body of normative and regulative common sense beliefs determining human conduct and language use. Further, we compare common sense based inquiry and its scientific mode with regard to their respective conceptual frameworks in order to show that “theoretical-scientific” perspective provides more comprehensive insight into the relations constituting problem situations. We identify (...) informal education with socialization processes and argue that educational process relies on constant reflection on cultural habits. We conclude that competences of using theoretical conceptual frameworks and conducting scientific inquiry play crucial role in Dewey’s educational ideology of progressivism since they provide basic tools for critical reconsideration and revision of common sense beliefs. (shrink)