Lecture Nº 11
13 November 2024 6.15 p.m. CET

Feminist Analysis, Critique, and Imagination in Contemporary African-European-Afropolitan Thought: A Kaleidoscopic Encounter

by Minna Salami Hörsaal IV, Ludwig-Wucherer-Str. 2, 06108 Halle (Saale), Germany & online
LIVE Stream

What does it mean to know? This lecture explores the intersections between knowledge, feminism, analysis, critique, and imagination within contemporary African-European-Afropolitan discourse. Through a multidimensional lens, the lecture delves into the revelations that feminist perspectives, critical inquiry, and visionary imagination expose across diverse cultural landscapes and intellectual traditions. Analysing power, knowledge, and language, the lecture offers a rigorous feminist critique of dominant narratives and epistemic hierarchies within African-European-Afropolitan thought. It also plants seeds for an alternate, nondualist political philosophy to flourish amidst the dominant europatriarchal social imagination. By exploring the converging and diverging brocades of feminist analysis, critique, and imagination, the lecture invites participants to engage with the complexities of contemporary knowledge production, challenging accepted methodologies and fostering transformative dialogue across cultural, geographical, and disciplinary boundaries: A kaleidoscopic encounter.

About Minna Salami

Minna Salami is a Nigerian-Finnish and Swedish feminist author, social critic and Program Chair at THE NEW INSTITUTE. She is the author of Can Feminism Be African? (forthcoming William Collins) and Sensuous Knowledge: A Black Feminist Approach for Everyone (Bloomsbury 2020). She is a co-author of the children’s book The Power Book: What is it, Who Has it, and Why? (Quarto, 2019). Her books and essays are translated into German, Spanish, Finnish, Swedish, Portuguese, Mandarin, and Catalan. Minna has drawn over a million readers to her award-winning blog, MsAfropolitan.com. Her writing can be found in the Guardian, Project Syndicate, Al Jazeera, and The Philosopher, among others. She has consulted governments on gender and racial equality and speaks at institutions such as the Institute of Arts and Ideas, UN, EU, Oxford Union, Cambridge Union, Yale University, and the Singularity University at NASA. Minna is a Full Member of the Club of Rome and sits on the council of The Royal Institute of Philosophy. She is a board member of The African Feminist Initiative at Pennsylvania State University and the Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of the Sahel. She is a BMW Foundation Responsible Leader, and has served as chair for the House of Beautiful Business. She is part of the decision-making group of the Visionaries Programme, a judge for the One World Media Awards, and a nominator for the Prince Claus Foundation and the Princess of Asturias Foundation.

Lecture Nº 10

Rewriting the History of Modern Philosophy: On Philosophy of History, Political Philosophy and Liberal Education in 19th Century West Africa

by Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò

In recent work, I have been concerned to reinscribe into the history of modern philosophy the contributions of those I have styled “excluded moderns” from the African corner of the intellectual globe.  This lecture, contrary to the bastard periodization that dominates the historiography of African ideas, presents evidence of philosophy of a standardly modern variety being done in West Africa in the 19th century that could not answer to the problematic categories of “traditional” or “precolonial” African philosophy.  I introduce three thinkers who lived and worked in West Africa during the period whose ideas belong in the annals of modern philosophy.  I look at the works of James Africanus Beale Horton, Alexander Crummell, and Edward Wilmot Blyden focusing specifically on their philosophy of history, political philosophy, and philosophy of education.  It is time the narratives of the history of modern philosophy took seriously the essential hybridity that defines it.  The continuing failure to do so makes it impossible for honest teachers of philosophy to deliver its history and register truthfully the biographies of its contributors located in a particular neck of the global woods—West Africa.

About Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò

Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò is Professor of African Political Thought and current Chair at the Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, U.S.A. His research interests include Philosophy of Law, Social and Political Philosophy, Marxism, and African and Africana Philosophy. Táíwò is the author of Legal Naturalism: A Marxist Theory of Law (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996; Paperback 2015), (Chinese Translation, 2013); How Colonialism Preempted Modernity in Africa (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010); Africa Must Be Modern: A Manifesto (Ibadan: Bookcraft, 2012), (North American Edition, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014), Can a Liberal Be a Chief? Can a Chief Be a Liberal? On an Unfinished Business of Colonialism (Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2021), and Against Decolonisation: Taking African Agency Seriously (London: Hurst, 2022). He was joint editor with Olutoyin Mejiuni and Patricia Cranton of Measuring and Analyzing Informal Learning in the Digital Age (Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2015).  His writings have been translated into French, Italian, German, Chinese, and Portuguese.  He has taught at universities in Canada, Nigeria, Germany, South Korea, and Jamaica.

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Lecture Nº 10  as PDF

Lecture Nº 9

In Memory of Anton Wilhelm Amo: Genealogies of Decolonization and Tasks of Decoloniality in the 21st Century

by Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni

ANTONIOUS GVILIELMUS AMO AFER was a pioneering African intellectual who endured a questioned humanity and inevitably his scholarship picked up key existential and epistemological issues which formed abasis of decolonization as both an epistemological and political movement. These issues ranged from being human itself, injustices of enslavement, the question of being possessed and named by others, vexed identity questions, to the broader problems of Eurocentric human science with its Cartesian dualism at the centre. These issues which troubled the mind of Afer continue to animate struggles for decolonization and to inform the tasks of decoloniality in the 21st century. Therefore, this lecture situates Afer’s concerns within the genealogies of decolonization as it identifies him as one of the early African scholars who laid a foundation for decolonial thinking and indeed being a giant on whose shoulders those pursuing decoloniality should stand. Through his intellectual and academic achievements, Afer directly challenged Eurocentricand racist notions of black people who were said to be less endowed intellectually and who were designated as naturally slaves. The life story and intellectual pedigree of Afer is used here as a departure point to highlight the genealogies of decolonization and to delineate the key tasks of decoloniality of the 21st century. This is necessary because the modern world is on the cusp of a resurgent and insurgent planetary decolonization ranged against racism, injustices (cognitive, political, cultural, economic and social) as well as hegemonic Eurocentric epistemology and knowledge.

About Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni

Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni is currently Professor and Chair of Epistemologies of the Global South with Emphasis on Africa and Vice-Dean of Research in the Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence at the University of Bayreuth in Germany; Professor Extraordinarius in the Department of Leadership and Transformation  (DLT) in the Principal & Vice-Chancellor’s Office at the University of South Africa (UNISA); Professor Extraordinarius at the Centre for Gender and African Studies at the University of Free State (UFS) in South Africa; Honorary Professor in the School of Education (Education & Development Studies) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in South Africa; Visiting Research Fellow at the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) in South Africa; Research Associate at the Department of Political Science at the University of Pretoria (UP) in South Africa; and Research Associate at The Ferguson Centre for African and Asian Studies at The Open University in the United Kingdom. Professor Ndlovu-Gatsheni has over a hundred publications including 20 books to his name. Among his major recent publication are the following books Decolonizing the University, Knowledge Systems and Disciplines (Carolina Academic Press, 2016) co-edited with Siphamandla Zondi; The Decolonial Mandela: Peace, Justice and Politics of Life (Berghahn Books, 2016); Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo of Zimbabwe: Politics, Power and Memory (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017; and Epistemic Freedom in Africa: Deprovincialization and Decolonization (Routledge, 2018). His latest publications include Decolonization, Development and Knowledge in Africa: Turning Over A New Leaf (Routledge, 2020); The Dynamics of Higher Education in the Global South (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020), co-edited with Busani Mpofu; The History and Political Transition of Zimbabwe: From Robert Mugabe to Mnangagwa (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020); and Marxism and Decolonization in the 21st Century: Living Theories and True Ideas (Routledge, July 2021).

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Lecture Nº 7

Quantitative Marbling: New Conceptual Tools for the Socio-History of Quantification

by Emmanuel Didier

Socio-history of quantification is not a simple sub-domain of Science and Technology Studies. On the contrary, it can provide tools for investigating a wide range of social situations from a new and interesting perspective. We begin by providing a new definition of quantification. Next we consider the way numbers permeate society to its very core, forming rich veins of data for social science research. From this process, referred to here as “quantitative marbling,” three distinct categories emerge: data veins produced by governments, those produced by social activists (often contesting the former), and lastly, those produced by non-governmental global networks. We conclude by suggesting that social processes aiming to free certain social aggregates of quantitative analysis are also worthy of attention.

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Lecture Nº 6

The Capacity for Truth: Of ‘Restitution’ in African Systems of Thought

by Achille Mbembe

The lecture explores some of the meanings attached to the concept and practice of restitution in precolonial African systems of thought. It dwells in particular on those traditions that considered the most damaging wrongs as those causing harm to one’s ‘vital force’. We elicit the juridical underpinnings of the right to restitution and revisit the relation between ‘persons’ and ‘objects’ it presupposed.

Lecture Nº 6  as PDF

Lecture Nº 5

Ethos und Wissensproduktion bei Sicherheitsbürokratien

by Werner Schiffauer

The text discusses the production of security knowledge relating to Islamism in the German internal secret service, the Verfassungsschutz, (literally: office for the protection of the constitution). This knowledge is constitutive for the design of the German "Islampolitik". The text discusses the interrelation of the particular ethos of the office with knowledge production and policy development. The focus is on the construction of a classificatory system with which Islamism is made legible and thus presumably controllable and governable. The text discusses the epistemic assumptions underlying the construction of such a classificatory system. What happens in particular when the classificatory system is applied, i.e. when communities and groups are fitted into to classifications by means of indicators? My hypothesis is that the classificatory system systematically neglects the complexity and dynamism of the field and leads to non-intended consequences when it is translated into governmental strategies. This happens regularly when biopolitical governance is demanded which requires a different type of knowledge. Taking the example of de-radicalization politics I show how governmental strategies become self-contradictory.

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Lecture Nº 4

Decolonizing the History of Philosophy

by Souleymane Bachir Diagne

In order to decolonize the history of philosophy against the fabrication of translatio studiorum as the unilinear path connecting Greek thought and sciences to medieval European Christianity, we need to pluralize that history. And to manifest in our textbooks that translatio studiorum is not just Jerusalem-Athens-Rome-Paris or London or Heidelberg … but, as well: Athens-Nishapur-Bagdad-Cordoba-Fez-Timbuktu …. To decolonize the history of philosophy is also to take into account the plurality of languages, in order to consider the perspectives introduced by tongues other than European, and thus undo the “ontological nationalism” upon which rests the assumption that philosophical exercise is intrinsically tied to certain (European) languages.

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Lecture Nº 3

The Precarious Future of National Sovereignity

by Arjun Appadurai

National sovereignty today operates in changed ecology. The primary reason for this is the erosion of national borders by the flows of ideas, people, technologies and money across national boundaries which has accelerated since the late 1980’s, in what is usually referred to as the period of globalization. In addition, as national economies have become increasingly fictions due to the realities of global finance, nation-states and political elites have had to invent other justifi-cations for their existence and this accounts for the global shift to right-wing ideologies of soil, blood and ethnos. Finally, as the tension between universal human rights and the plight of refugees and other undocumented aliens increas-es, especially in Europe, we see the emergence of a deep divide about the mean-ing of national sovereignty, and a gap between ethnonational views and those of a more liberal variety, which stress inclusion, diversity and hospitality. More than three centuries after the Treaty of Westphalia, Europe (and the world) are in dire need of a new narrative of sovereignty.

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Lecture Nº 2

Recht, Staat und Demokratie in menschenrechtlicher Perspektive

by Hans Jörg Sandkühler

The question has been often posed concerning the post-1945 human rights, which developed out of the experience of injustice, whether these rights are in need of an “ethical foundation”. Moral claims, which are directed against the violation of human rights, and which owing to moral intuition are held to be good and just, have further contributed to their emergence.

Yet, “the” legitimate and universally valid morality does not exist in a pluralistic society, beyond perhaps the general form of legal equality. Thus, the positively conceived human rights have come to have their meaning as a universally binding commitment grounded in the protection of human dignity. Their legal validity is grounded in what has been negotiated in the Covenants on Human Rights, as well as in the universal principle of ius cogens, which is considered “compelling law” in all states.

Moral claims are politically transformed in the sphere of neutrally-bound states into positive law, to the extent that they are generalizable. The “charging” of constitutional law with specific ethical opinions or philosophical speculations along the lines of natural law must be avoided in constitutional democracy.

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Lecture Nº 1

Translation and Dissonance: Innovation Patterns in the Creative Industries

by Michael Hutter

The branches of the cultural and creative industry are producing an increasing stream of new products and services. Two basic patterns can be discerned in the production of these novelties. A Disney movie serves to show how forms of meaning that are successful in triggering emotional experiences in audiences are transferred to new content, and a Beatles song serves to show how new differences between worlds of appreciation are transformed into new products.

Lecture Nº 1  as PDF