Chapter 6 The Humanities and the Idea of National Identity

In: Philosophical Foundations of the African Humanities through Postcolonial Perspectives
Kwasi Wiredu
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Five decades since Independence, the investigation and analysis of African identity is no longer the dominion of foreign educators. In consequence identity endures as a properly galvanizing focus for all humanities disciplines across the African continent. A comparison of Ghanaian and Nigerian seminal scholarly works reveals glaring discrepancies between the realities of African religious identity and images promulgated by British colonial experts which are sustained to this day. African classicists and theologians are obliged to correct erroneous contrasts between ancient Greek doctrine, Christianity, and traditional Akan beliefs about divinity and personhood. Likewise, in sociology and anthropology the foreign gaze perpetuates misimpressions of African community. Wiredu concludes with a valuable digest of his seminal insights into the contrast between political consensus as normative agreement, and political consensus as a collective decision to produce policy that embraces conflicting ideals. Thus he highlights important contrasts between indigenous African systems of democratic governance, and modern pretensions of civic participation through multiparty electoral politics.

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