Philosophical Foundations of the African Humanities through Postcolonial Perspectives


Editors: Helen Yitah and Helen Lauer
Philosophical Foundations of the African Humanities through Postcolonial Perspectives critiques recent claims that the humanities, especially in public universities in poor countries, have lost their significance, defining missions, methods and standards due to the pressure to justify their existence. The predominant responses to these claims have been that the humanities are relevant for creating a “world culture” to address the world’s problems. This book argues that behind such arguments lies a false neutrality constructed to deny the values intrinsic to marginalized cultures and peoples and to justify their perceived inferiority. These essays by scholars in postcolonial studies critique these false claims about the humanities through critical analyses of alterity, difference, and how the Other is perceived, defined and subdued. Contributors: Gordon S.K. Adika, Kofi N. Awoonor, E. John Collins, Kari Dako, Mary Esther Kropp Dakubu, James Gibbs, Helen Lauer, Bernth Lindfors, J.H. Kwabena Nketia, Abena Oduro, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Olúfémi Táíwò, Alexis B. Tengan, Kwasi Wiredu, Francis Nii-Yartey

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Helen Yitah is Associate Professor of English at the University of Ghana. She has published monographs, edited volumes and many articles on gender in African literature, children’s literature, oral traditions and postcolonial studies.

Helen Lauer is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dar es Salaam. She has published several anthologies on African humanities, and critical compilations concerning methodologies and foundations of the human sciences through African perspectives.
Notes on Contributors
List of Figures
List of Tables

Introduction: Mediating a Hapless Postcolonialism through Experiential Critique
Helen Yitah

Part 1: The Humanities and the Postcolonial Experience

1 Philosophical Foundations of the Humanities
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

2 The Humanities and the Postcolonial Ghanaian Experience: the Jubilee Year
Kofi N. Awoonor

3 Beyond the Labor Market: Reinforcing the Epistemic Advantage of African Universities in the Global Knowledge Society
Helen Lauer

4 Contemporary Ghanaian Dance: a Basis for Scholarly Investigation of the Human Condition
Francis Nii-Yartey

5 The Formulation of Research in the Humanities: Perspectives from the Creative Arts
J. H. Kwabena Nketia

Part 2: The Humanities and National Identity

6 The Humanities and the Idea of National Identity
Kwasi Wiredu

7 Ghanaian Neo-traditional Performance and ‘Development’: Multiple Interfaces between Rural and Urban, Traditional and Modern
E. John Collins

8 Kofi Awoonor: the Essays of a Humanist
Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò

9 Sell, Borrow, Work or Migrate? Exploring the Choice of Coping Strategies in Ghana
Abena Oduro

Part 3: Language and Knowledge Production from Postcolonial Perspectives

10 Scientific Decolonization and Language Use in the Study of African Medicine, Religion, and Art
Alexis B. Tengan

11 Credibility and Accountability in Academic Discourse: Increasing the Awareness of Ghanaian Graduate Students
Gordon S. K. Adika

12 About the English Language in Ghana Today and About Ghanaian English and Languaging in Ghana
Kari Dako

13 Polylectal Description: Reflections on Experience in Ghana
M. E. Kropp Dakubu

Part 4: Afterwords

14 Nii: a Recollection on Obits
James Gibbs

15 Memories of Kofi Awoonor in Texas
Bernth Lindfors

16 Mary Esther Kropp Dakubu: a Tribute
Helen Yitah and Helen Lauer

All interested in the humanities, social sciences, liberal and performing arts in African and other post colonised societies, especially the radical critique of knowledge production in and about these societies.