Sunday, March 30, 2014
African literature has done a great deal to form the conventional wisdom about the cultural side of colonialism, that conventional wisdom being that African societies used to be communitarian, spiritual, and close to nature, but then these virtues were eroded by contact with the individualistic, calculating, and earthly-minded West. This generalization has enough truth in it to make a good starting point (at least for thinking about the cultural side of colonialism; the political and economic sides are obviously something else again). Unfortunately, when pressed to go into more detail about the exact nature of the West’s cultural inferiority, the argument often runs like this:
“The West is materialistic. It is spiritually impoverished.”
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Since the end of the Cold War and, in particular, the demise of apartheid in South Africa, there has been a sustained debate about African identity. There seems to be a consensus among scholars of African culture that the conventional notion of African identity that was conceived in opposition to the West is anachronistic. But what then constitutes the new African? Scholars have suggested concepts such as contamination, cultural hybridity, cultural mutt, conviviality, and most recently Afropolitanism, as means to understand the complex modern African identity. This article takes a critical examination of Afropolitanism and argues that it is an enunciation of the ideas of contamination, hybridity, hyperculturality and other postmodernist terms that disrupt essentialist and oppositional notions of African culture and identity. I hope to achieve two things in this article: situate Afropolitanism within a larger philosophical tradition of cosmopolitanism and examine the moral implications of expanding the notion of African identity beyond the oppositional model.
You can actually download the PDF from this site