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SOAS holds conference on African philosophy

10 April 2014

SOAS, University of London stages a conference next month to develop scholarly engagement with African Philosophy.

Asixoxe – Let’s Talk! taking place on 1 and 2 May at College Buildings, is chaired and organised by Dr Alena Rettová, Senior Lecturer in Swahili Literature and Culture at SOAS. The goal of the conference is to bring together all those who are passionate about philosophy and about Africa, to create a platform for their exchanges and to nurture the growth of the discipline of African Philosophy.

Asixoxe is an expression in the southern African languages Ndebele and Zulu meaning ‘let's talk!' and through the succession of two click sounds, it also iconically represents the way human speech adds a specific rhythm to time and to thought.

The topics on discussion include: ‘Spoken realities and the living dead: a comparison of African Philosophy and post-structuralist ethics’, ‘Imposition of Western episteme in/through the Afrophone novel’, ‘Contemporary African social and political philosophy: trends and challenges’ and ‘Independence, interdependence and liberty in the philosophical perspective of Severino Elias Ngoenha.’

Dr Rettová said: “The intellectual history of the African continent spans thousands of years. The scholarship of Africa's antiquity predates by millenia the history of philosophy in Europe. The discursive traditions in Sub-Saharan Africa debate, with great originality and erudition, a vast range of key philosophical topics. Contemporary African philosophy creatively connects the study of Africa's rich philosophical heritage with a pragmatic focus on the burning issues of the present day."

The conference is primarily a student conference, open to undergraduate, postgraduate and postgraduate research students. Several senior researchers in the domain of African Studies have also been invited to present papers on their research – a format that will be continued in the future in order to foster the synergy of ripe expertise and fresh scholarly minds. 

More details to follow.