Hegel at the Court of the Ashanti
Hegel called world history a court of judgement, a world court, and in his Lectures on the Philosophy of World History he took Africans before that court and found them to be barbaric, cannibalistic, preoccupied with fetishes, without history, and without any consciousness of freedom.
In this paper, after rehearsing some of the more familiar objections to Hegel's verdict against Africa, I turn the tables and put Hegel on trial. More specifically, given that much of Hegel's account is directed against the Ashanti, I will use what is known about them and especially what Hegel either did know or should have known, to take him before the court of the Ashanti, where the use of evidence can be interrogated. The results of this examination render all the more pressing the need to give an account of how Hegel applied his system of justice to Africa, which I attempt to do in the second part of the paper. In the third part, I return to the interpretation of Hegel's statement about Africa as unhistorical and, having restored it to its context in Hegel's system, show its