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African Philosophy and the Quest for Autonomy

A Philosophical Investigation

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Leonhard Praeg

As academic subject African philosophy is predominantly concerned with epistemology. It aims at re-presenting a lost body of authentic African thought. This apparently austere a-historical concern is framed by a grand narrative of liberation that cannot but politicise the quest for epistemological autonomy. By “politicise” I mean that the desire to re-cover an authentic African epistemology in order to establish African philosophy as autonomous subject, ironically re-iterates Western, enlightenment notions of the autonomous subject. Here, in the pursuit of an autonomous subject the terms of historical oppression are necessarily duplicated in the terms of liberation. In this study I use the term disfigurement to refer to the double-bind - peculiar to post-coloniality - in which the African subject finds itself when it has to establish and affirm a sense of apartheid (in order to confirm the assumption of difference) by inventing its own autonomy in a way that ironically conflicts with an African conception of the autonomous subject. The transcendental concern with epistemological authenticity and autonomy - indicative of an oppressive desire for Western style autonomy - necessary as it may be in a post-colonial context, is placed in an ethical framework that seeks to remain faithful to the African dictum of identity and autonomy “I am because we are”. Whereas the first three chapters are concerned with the transcendental question ‘what is African philosophy?’, the fourth and last chapter situates the ethical framework within which this question arises in the context of the recently “completed” South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Frontiers of Diversity

Explorations in Contemporary Pluralism

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Edited by Avery Plaw

Frontiers of Diversity critically examines the explanatory and normative power of pluralism in contemporary philosophy, politics, economics and culture. Based on the papers presented at the “First Global Conference on Critical Issues in Pluralism” at Mansfield College, Oxford, it brings together for the first time essays examining pluralism’s impact, both positive and negative, in each of these critical domains. These essays exhibit something of the fertility of the concept of pluralism, not only across the spectrum of fields, but at all levels of analysis, from individual to social to national and international, touching on specific cases from around the world. Through their diversity, the essays are intended to both promote cross-pollination between these domains of study and experience, and to encourage reflection on pluralism as a powerful cross-disciplinary approach for understanding the contemporary world.

Looking Back and Living Forward

Indigenous Research Rising Up

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Edited by Jennifer Markides and Laura Forsythe

Looking Back and Living Forward: Indigenous Research Rising Up brings together research from a diverse group of scholars from a variety of disciplines. The work shared in this book is done by and with Indigenous peoples, from across Canada and around the world. Together, the collaborators’ voices resonate with urgency and insights towards resistance and resurgence.

The various chapters address historical legacies, environmental concerns, community needs, wisdom teachings, legal issues, personal journeys, educational implications, and more. In these offerings, the contributors share the findings from their literature surveys, document analyses, community-based projects, self-studies, and work with knowledge keepers and elders. The scholarship draws on the teachings of the past, experiences of the present, and will undoubtedly inform research to come.

Playing Australia

Australian theatre and the international stage

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Edited by Elizabeth Schafer and Susan Bradley Smith

Playing Australia explores the insights and challenges that Australian theatre can offer the international theatre community. Collectively, the essays in this book ask what Australian drama is, has been, and might be, both to Australians and non-Australians, when it is performed in national and international arenas. Playing Australia ranges widely in its discussions and includes analysis of Australian practitioners playing away from home; playing with Australian stereotypes; and the relationship between play, culture, politics and national identity.
Topics addressed in this diverse collection include: whiteness, otherness and negotiations of Aboriginal and Asian identities; Australian school and college drama; the discourse of Australian professional theatre magazines: Aboriginal Shakespeare; Australian drama and Australian cricket; the marketing of Australianness in Germany; the international successes of Tap Dogs and Cloudstreet. New histories of Australian theatre are offered and practitioners whose careers are reconsidered in detail include high wire-walker Ella Zuila, playwright May Holt, suffrage worker and playwright Inez Bensusan, classicist Gilbert Murray, and commercial playwright Haddon Chambers.
With contributions from authors as diverse as Guardian theatre critic Michael Billington and leading post-colonial critic Helen Gilbert, and interview discussion with Cate Blanchett and Tap Dogs producer Wayne Harrison, Playing Australia seeks to pay tribute to the complexities of Australian theatre experiences, to reassess Australian theatre as a significant force in the international arena and to challenge traditional thinking on what Australian theatre can be.

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David Tombs

David Tombs offers an accessible introduction to the theological challenges raised by Latin American Liberation and a new contribution to how these challenges might be understood as a chronological sequence. Liberation theology emerged in the 1960s in Latin America and thrived until it reached a crisis in the 1990s. This work traces the distinct developments in thought through the decades, thus presenting a contextual theology. The book is divided into five main sections: the historical role of the church from Columbus’s arrival in 1492 until the Cuban revolution of 1959; the reform and renewal decade of the 1960s; the transitional decade of the 1970s; the revision and redirection of liberation theology in the 1980s; and a crisis of relevance in the 1990s. This book offers insights into liberation theology’s profound contributions for any socially engaged theology of the future and is crucial to understanding liberation theology and its legacies.

This publication has also been published in hardback, please click here for details.

Edited by Eytan Gilboa

This is the first book to focus on media and conflict - primarily international conflict - from multidisciplinary, cross-national and cross-cultural perspectives. Twenty-two contributors from around the globe present original and thought provoking research on media and conflict in the United States, Central America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Russia, and Asia.
Media and Conflict includes works both on the traditional print and electronic media and on new media including the Internet. It explores the role media play in different phases of conflict determined by goal and structure including conflict management, conflict resolution, and conflict transformation.


Published under the Transnational Publishers imprint.

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Edited by Dane R. Gordon and David C. Durst

Since the fall of communism in 1989 Southeast Europe has been a site of far-reaching societal transformation, much of it marked by political crisis, economic upheaval, ethnic tension, and bitter war. The book comprises articles investigating the history and development of civil society in post-communist Southeast Europe. How is civil society to be grasped, what are the historical factors shaping the civil societies of the region?, what is the function of civil society in the transition to democracy and a market-economy?, and what are the prospects for the future development of the civil societies of the region in an age of globalization?, –these are just a few of the major questions addressed in this collection of articles. Many of the authors are social scientists, philosophers, and activists from the region, offering first-hand critical analysis of the state of civil society in Southeast Europe and suggesting theoretical and practical strategies for the future course of its development. The aim is to provide the reader with insight into the complex challenges that face the civil societies of the region.

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Lia van de Biezenbos

Omniprésente dans son oeuvre mais loin d'être glorieuse, la maternité se trouve au centre de l'univers littéraire de Marguerite Duras. Le désir de retourner dans le sein maternel et l'impossibilité d'y parvenir se confondent dans le jeu de l'écriture pour composer le refrain sans fin qu'est ce désir d'osmose.
Dans cette étude, l'auteur se propose d'aller au-delà du lien entre l'omniprésence du personnage maternel et la réalité biographique de Duras en soulignant le caractère fictionnel de l'oeuvre. Des analyses textuelles rhétoriques et narratologiques lui permettent de souligner les représentations de la maternité et de la féminité dans les textes de Duras et dans la théorie psychanalytique freudienne. La confrontation de ces deux discours résulte en un dialogue entre Duras et Freud où les deux locuteurs fictifs sont respectés, mais soumis à une analyse critique. La question qui s'impose est de savoir si l'oeuvre de Duras contribue à confirmer la différence sexuelle définie dans le contexte social et ancrée dans la relation avec la mère, comme le prétend la psychanalyse freudienne, ou si elle contribue justement à la remise en question de cette différence sociale.
L'écriture de Duras manie les clichés culturels et les mythes qui entourent la mère et la maternité. Ceci se manifeste sous des aspects d'une grande variété. Cette thèse montre le jeu des variations sur les fantasmes soi-disant universels, variations qui se dessinent dans les répétitions apparentes qui prennent à chaque fois une forme nouvelle. L'originalité de Duras est de prendre les mythes et les fantasmes à la lettre, et ce procédé les rend parfois grotesques. La forme littéraire paradoxale donnée à ces fantasmes renverse le rapport entre le littéral et le figuré. Sans être moralisateurs, ils mettent ainsi en lumière le caractère fantasmatique de l'idéologie qui ancre la féminité dans la maternité.
Même maintenant, dix ans après le décès de Marguerite Duras, son œuvre inspire toujours de nombreux lecteurs. L'année du dixième anniversaire de sa mort célèbre cette oeuvre qui continue à nous fasciner. Le présent livre vous offre le plaisir d'une lecture enrichissante des fantasmes entourant le personnage de la mère. A travers une lecture qui adopte la littéralité et qui s'ajuste aux méandres du texte durassien, l'auteur de ce livre veut contribuer à mieux comprendre les conflits et les désirs, les fantasmes et les images, qui entourent le rôle féminin par excellence qu'est la maternité.

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Edited by Gail M. Presbey

This book responds to the Bush Administration position on the “war on terror.” It examines preemption within the context of “just war”; justification for the United States-led invasion of Iraq, with some authors charging that its tactics serve to increase terror; global terrorism; and concepts such as reconciliation, Islamic identity, nationalism, and intervention.

Landscape of Memory

Commemorative monuments, memorials and public statuary in post-apartheid South Africa

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Sabine Marschall

Under the aegis of the post-apartheid government, much emphasis has been placed on the transformation and democratisation of the heritage sector in South Africa since 1994. The emergent new landscape of memory relies heavily on commemorative monuments, memorials and statues aimed at reconciliation, nation-building and the creation of a shared public history. But not everyone identifies with these new symbolic markers and their associated interpretation of the past. Drawing on a number of theoretical perspectives, this book critically investigates the flourishing monument phenomenon in South Africa, the political discourses that fuel it; its impact on identity formation, its potential benefits, and most importantly its ambivalences and contradictions.