FWF-Projekt: V 348 Richter-Programm
The History of Philosophy in
From Ancient Egypt until the Begin of the 21st Century
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