Centre for Global and Comparative Philosophies
The Centre for Global and Comparative Philosophies is a unique and pioneering philosophical research centre at SOAS in the United Kingdom. It shifts away from the conventional focus of philosophical centres on Western philosophy to a more robust and comprehensive research into the different philosophical traditions of the world.
The Centre for World Philosophies is thus a decolonial, inclusive and interdisciplinary space with the objective of promoting the research and teaching of the world’s many traditions of theoretical and applied philosophy. Philosophical research is crucial for understanding and dealing with the big and fundamental questions and issues that confronts the world.
From questions of systemic (in)justices, meaningful life and existence, responsibilities to the human and non-human, difference, gender, corporeality, wellbeing, to questions about knowledge production, virtues and vices, the nature of being, autonomy and relationality, philosophical traditions globally cannot be overlooked in our attempts to build a better world.
At the heart of the Centre for Global and Comparative Philosophies is the understanding that it does a disservice to humanity and leads to the poverty of philosophical knowledge if the quest for the ever-unfolding answers to these fundamental questions focusses solely on the Western tradition as conventionally done and ignores other important philosophical traditions of the world such as African Indian, Chinese, Arabic, Latinx , Japanese, South-East Asian, Jewish, Indigenous and Islamic philosophy.
Our approach to philosophy is founded on three main principles: decolonial critiques and the reimagining of philosophy as a global discipline; dialogic and critical-comparative analyses between global intellectual traditions; specialism in specific non-western philosophical traditions. The Centre wants to realise an ambitious research agenda which will contribute to contemporary debates regarding the nature and purpose of philosophy in the contemporary world.
Housed in the School of History, Religions and Philosophies, the Centre brings together a rich and diverse community of researchers, students and teachers from the different philosophical traditions of the world through its programmes and activities. Such activities and programmes include lecture series featuring and attended by scholars and researchers from around the globe, workshops, conferences, facilitation of visiting scholars and fellowships, supportingthe supervision of World Philosophies related MA dissertations and PhD theses, collaborations and partnerships, funding applications, research projects and publications.
The Centre is open to all members of the SOAS community and beyond. Membership request should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Centre for Global and Comparative Philosophies has four core frameworks that guide its programme.
Researching and teaching about core philosophical theories, including ontological, metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, aesthetic, existential and hermeneutic questions addressed from the different philosophical traditions in the world. In this way, philosophical theories become decolonised, inclusive and more comprehensive, and more room is created for conversations, dialogue and comparative thought. Reimagining and rewriting the history/herstory of philosophy in ways that are inclusive, decolonial and global.
Research and teaching about the importance of philosophy in, and the application of philosophical theories to human affairs, global issues and social problems such as the environmental crisis, structural and endemic racism, social movements, war and violence, injustices with respect to Global North and South systems of power, health and wellbeing differences across a range of identifications whether disability, gender, sexuality, race, class, and colonial legacies, responsibilities towards the human and non-human, community building, freedom and equality. This also include fostering a comparative analysis of the practical implications of foundational philosophical theories in the different traditions.
Research and teaching about important methodological questions in the study of world philosophies. Who defines philosophy and how should philosophy be defined? Who decides the methods for comparative and conversational philosophy? How can the gap between writing and orality as two important epistemic mechanisms be deconstructed and reconstructed in the history of philosophy. How is philosophy’s interdisciplinarity and transnationality to be conceptualised? These and other methodological questions are crucial for the research on world philosophies.
We provide a space for scholars and students working on, or interested in the different philosophical traditions to thrive, interact and productively engage with one another. The key pillars of this community are intellectual humility (knowing that no particular philosophical tradition has all the answers and that we learn from one another) and relationality (we learn and think better when we share ideas and work together), and respect for other perspectives.
With expertise to supervise research in several traditions of philosophy and the broader questions of the importance of decolonising Philosophy, we will be happy to invite original research proposals on comparative philosophy, or cutting edge research in specific philosophical traditions, and new formulations of the nature of Philosophy as a discipline.
Fellowships and honorary appointments
The Centre encourages and support interested scholars and researchers researching on one or more philosophical traditions to apply for honorary appointments and fellowships at SOAS through the Centre. These include applying as Visiting Scholars, Research Associates, or Senior Fellows. Information on how to apply can be found on the honorary appointments page.
The Centre is also happy to support funding application for postdoctoral fellowship. The Centre will from time to time apply for funding to support short research and writing fellowships. Please contact email@example.com for further information.
Partnerships and collaborations
The Centre for World Philosophies is happy to collaborate and partner with other centres, institutes and universities as well as individuals around the world on research projects, knowledge exchange, and organisation of events related to its central focus of decolonising philosophy in research and teaching, making it more inclusive and open to its rich world traditions.
If you are interested in collaborating with the Centre, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to support the activities of the Centre through donations, please contact email@example.com. This could include funding a fellowship, an event, or an award.