In 20th century philosophical anthropology and value theory in the Turkish philosophical scene have been philosophical buttresses of Turkish modernity. Inspired by Nicolai Hartmann and Max Scheler, Turkish philosopher Takiyettin Mengüşoğlu and his pupil Ioanna Kuçuradi created an academic tradition, which I call “Turkish Philosophical Humanism.” Turkish philosophical humanism stresses that to conserve the value of human being the constitutional law must be made in such a way that citizens can flourish as persons. In this framework I reflect on Ionna Kuçuradi’s academic and political engagement by taking into account her gender, ethnic and religious differences, differences in terms of which she did not describe or present herself. I am interested in the political ordeals she went through as she lived through the political pressures on academia in Turkey and her reflection on her own experience in terms of her personalism and value theory.
Approaching the theme of this special issue as a dramatic structure, the contribution investigates the representation of dissenting practices in Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman and Biyi Bandele’s Elesin Oba: The King’s Horseman. First published in 1975, Soyinka’s metaphysical play dramatises the events surrounding the eponymous protagonist Elesin Oba who, according to Yoruba cosmology, must follow the king in death to ensure harmony between this world and the next. Questioning both metaphysical and Marxist readings of the play, I argue that its employment of ritual as a dramaturgical device functions to explore the intricate reasons for failed leadership in post-independence Nigeria. This re-reading of Soyinka’s classic is informed by its recent screen adaptation, Elesin Oba: The King’s Horseman, which was co-produced by Ebonylife Films and Netflix and directed by the late Nigerian playwright and filmmaker Biyi Bandele. Reinforcing new Nollywood’s budding relationship with Netflix and its accompanying globalisation, Bandele’s movie appropriates the play’s dramatic structure of dissent on the levels of cinematography and editing, mise-en-scène and sound, inviting its transnational viewers to consider past and present manifestations of dissent as a means of managing and envisioning possible solutions to contemporary conflicts. The conclusion stresses that the ritual form presents a flexible device to interrogate historically specific power relations and encourage distinct generations of audiences to imagine their forms, causes, and alternatives; whereas Soyinka’s play suggests that these alternatives rest on the capabilities of the educated middle classes, Bandele’s movie constructs more diversified audiences which may settle for its consoling or dissenting aesthetics, respectively.
Considering the literary response to the environmental crisis in the Niger Delta, it is observable that most critics of the literary arts on the Niger Delta homogenise the effects of the environmental problem, rather than focusing on particular groups of ecological subjects. These critics universalise environmental discourse, thereby overlooking more silenced and marginalised ecological subjects and subverting environmental justice. Using Helon Habila’s Oil on Water and Kaine Agary’s Yellow Yellow, this study responds to the need to individualise the effect of environmental degradation by focusing on Niger Delta women who are both culturally and environmentally constrained. It combines border theories and ecofeminism to pay detailed attention to the literary representation of women’s precarious positionality, a situation of both spatial and symbolic vulnerability. It also explores women’s reception of and interaction with the polluted environment, given that the locations of degradation (the farms and freshwater), according to African culture, are gender-sensitive spaces and that African rural women mostly depend on farming and water for household work. Lastly, this paper examines women’s response to the violence of environmental pollution, thereby underscoring agency and visibility for women in connection with environment.
This article is a translation and analysis of a poem by the Nuṣayrī (ʿAlawī) poet al-Makzūn al-Sinǧārī (d. 638/1240) responding to a masterpiece of Arabic Sufi poetry, the Poem of the Way by his contemporary ʿUmar b. al-Fāriḍ (d. 632/1235). Al-Makzūn uses Ibn al-Fāriḍ’s own words to paint him as a false claimant outside the genealogy of true lovers. As against Ibn al-Fāriḍ’s mysticism of identification with an immanent beloved and his focus on the holy sites, al-Makzūn posits a transcendent beloved that reflects a human image without taking human form, and a Mecca built purely on semantic associations. The poem shows that Ibn al-Fāriḍ’s alleged belief in incarnation (ḥulūl) was being debated from an early stage, and that Nuṣayrīs in this period engaged more closely with Sunni Sufi literature than often assumed. Al-Makzūn emerges as a subtle thinker and accomplished poet whose work has long been neglected.
This paper aims to demonstrate how the various declinations of public and private dissent represented in a contemporary work of African literature, The Death of Vivek Oji (2020) by Akwaeke Emezi, can be read as an instance of literature’s world-making capacity. As the novel’s title anticipates, The Death of Vivek Oji reconstructs the life of its eponymous protagonist and the events that led to their death (Vivek is a non-binary, transgender person and both male and female pronouns are used to refer to them). Emezi’s novel is set in Nigeria during the late 1990s and the narrative actively engages in a representation of the socio-political situation of the country back then, covering the impact that the sudden death of the head of state, Sani Abacha, had on the population. Throughout the novel, dissent is depicted on two levels: on the one hand, it appears as an expression of democratic desire through the public protests against the country’s politics, as well as acts of violence against and among ethno-religious groups; on the other hand, there is also a parallel representation of private dissent in terms of the affirmation of one’s own identity. Vivek’s decision to not cut their long hair becomes, therefore, a form of personal opposition against society’s pre-imposed gendered constructs. In this sense, if the social stigma attached to members of the LGBT community is personified by the incapacity of Vivek’s parents to accept and understand their non-binary child, Vivek’s friends represent a communal act of resistance against such an oppressive social system. Ultimately, the opposition between public and private dissent finds its climax in Vivek’s death, in its causes and consequences. Building the critical analysis of the novel upon recent conceptualisations of literature as an active force that provokes dissent (Cheah 2016, Burns 2019), this paper demonstrates how Emezi’s narrative uses representations of public and private dissent to contest the current world in order to engage in the construction of a more equal one.