African Philosophy

Moses--Spring 1996

Course Description:

In this course we will explore 20th Century conversations about the nature and development of African philosophy. Presentations will explore Africana philosophy in its broadest sense, as the multiform variety of philosophy practiced and articulated throughout the African Diaspora. What is philosophy and how does it thrive from an African perspective? These are central questions that will occupy our class discussion.

Course Requirements:

Regular attendance and participation are required (3 absences = 1 letter grade off, etc.) Reading quizzes of 5 points each are intended to encourage preparation for class discussion. Discussion teams will set a pace for class discussion. A midterm proposal of five pages will identify an area of interest and a method of approach for class presentation (guidelines will be provided). The presentation itself will occur in the last month of the semester. And students will submit a 12-page (3,000 word) meditation on the meaning of this course as a final project. In sum, the grade will be based on the following items, each equally weighted:

Required Texts:

D. A. Masolo. African Philosophy in Search of Identity. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1994.

Tsenay Serequeberhan. African Philosophy: The Essential Readings. New York: Paragon House, 1991.

Schedule of Readings:

22-Africa, the Mother Continent: Introductory Lecture
24-Masolo, Ch. 1, pp. 1-45: Setting the stage for Africana philosophy.
29-Masolo, Ch. 2, pp. 46-67: Tempels and Colonial Ethnophilosophy of the Bantu
31-Masolo, Ch. 3, pp. 68-83: Griaule and Colonial Ethnophilosophy of the Dogon
5-Masolo, Ch. 4, pp. 84-102: Kagame and the Reconstruction of Bantu Metaphysics
7-Masolo, Ch. 5, pp. 103-123: Mbiti and Religion in Black Africa
Topics & Interests Due
12-Masolo, Ch. 6, pp. 124-146: Wiredu vs. Horton on Words in the World
14-Masolo, Ch. 7, pp. 147-178: Eboussi-Boulaga
and the Reconstruction of Bantu Ethics
(With a Nod to Towa and Professionalism)
19-Masolo, Ch. 7, pp. 178-193: Mudimbe and the Construction of Discourse
21-Serequeberhan, pp. 3-28: Oruka’s Four Classes of African Philosophy
Prelim. Bib. Due
26-Serequeberhan, pp. 29-46: Onyewuenyi’s Generalizations
28-Serequeberhan, pp. 47-62: Oruka’s Quest for Sagacity
4-Serequeberhan, pp. 63-86: Bodunrin’s Four Challenges
6-Serequeberhan, pp. 87-110: Wiredu’s Program
Midterm Proposals Due
Spring Break
18-Serequeberhan, pp. 111-131: Houtondji’s Criteria
20-Masolo, Ch. 8, pp. 194-246: Houtondji, Wiredu, & Oruka
25-Serequeberhan, pp. 132-155: Keita’s Pragmatism
27-Serequeberhan, pp. 156-186: Owomoyela’s Conditions for Equal Dialogue
1-Serequeberhan, pp. 187-200: Towa’s Obstacles and Conditions
3-Serequeberhan, pp. 201-210: Okolo’s Crisis of Hermeneutics
Easter Break
10-Serequeberhan, pp. 211-246: Wamba-Dia-Wamba’s Anti-Imperial Struggle
Formal Presentations Begin -- Final Meditations Due on Exam Day

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