Person FWF-Projekt Lehre Publikationen Kontakt

Anke Graness

Head of project:
Mag. Dr. Anke Graness
operational time: 02/2014-01/2017
Next Conference Presentations:  








FWF-Projekt: V 348 Richter-Programm

The History of Philosophy in Sub-Saharan Africa
From Ancient Egypt until the Begin of the 21st Century

Projekt description:

The proposed research project undertakes the attempt to write a "History of Philosophy in Sub-Saharan Africa", i.e. to describe the development of philosophical thought and schools in Africa South of the Sahara from its various origins until today based on firm reflections on the theoretical foundation, function and perspectives of the discipline history of philosophy in general and in Africa in particular. Writing a history of philosophy in Africa faces three fundamental challenges:
1. It is a peculiarity of Sub-Saharan Africa that in large parts of the region writing was not the media of preserving and transmitting history, thoughts or concepts. Cultural and historical traditions were passed down from one generation to another in an oral tradition. For this reason, there is a lack of written text in some areas. Thus, history of philosophy, which is in the European tradition largely based on texts, has to go new ways and critically reflect the relationship between written and oral tradition.
2. Colonization as a fundamental break in the intellectual history of Africa: colonization is always accompanied by the destruction of indigenous cultures, traditions and institutions (political, religious, ethical, intellectual etc.). The impact of slavery, colonization and racism cannot be ignored in writing a history of philosophy. It has to be included as a specific historical experience and an integral part of the history of ideas in Africa.
3. The description and reconstruction of pre-colonial systems of thought and philosophical concepts as well as the description of contemporary realities and concepts in Africa is based on categories and concepts derived from Western épistémè.
These multiple fractures have to be considered while writing a history of philosophy in Sub-Saharan Africa. Thus, the discipline of history of philosophy faces very specific circumstances and cannot be separated from a project of "conceptual decolonization".
The project has the following targets: Reconstruction of a comprehensive history of philosophy in Sub-Saharan Africa from Ancient Egypt until the beginning of the 21st century, with a special focus on the following fields, which are widely neglected until now:
- The Islamic-Arabian tradition in philosophy in Sub-Saharan Africa.
- Philosophy in Portuguese speaking Africa
- Theories and debates in African feminism.
The deduction of consequences for intercultural or cross-cultural philosophy in a globalised world and for the curricular of philosophy institutes will round up the project.
The result of the research project will culminate in a habilitation at the Faculty of Philosophy and Education of the University of Vienna and will be published as a monograph, which can serve as foundation for further debates as well as teaching African philosophy in institutes of philosophy.

International Lectures and Presentations...

Project description in German