African Political and Economic Philosophy
Call for Papers (Book Chapters)
Abstracts (250 Words maximum)
Submission Deadline: August 31st, 2020
Ephraim-Stephen Essien, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria
Kenneth Amaeshi, University of Edinburgh, UK
Raymond Osei, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana
Paul Nnodim, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, USA
Joseph Agbakoba, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria
Siphiwe Ndlovu, University of Zululand, South Africa
The book, African Political and Economic Philosophy, aims to create African development philosophies suitable for black sub-Saharan African countries. As a relatively new academic discipline focused on thought informed by indigenous moral values among black peoples in the sub-Saharan region, African political philosophy involves philosophizing normatively about government by traditional black African people with a view to advancing a better African society. African political philosophy does not mean that its themes, views, concepts and approaches are exclusively African. It does not also mean that only thinkers in Africa could hold these concepts. It does not also mean that all African thinkers hold the same views. “African” is used in African political philosophy geographically to demarcate certain perspectives that are unique and peculiar in sub-Saharan African thought and practice that tend not to be the case elsewhere. An African political and economic philosophy should address the origin and method of political power; the guarantee of human and civil liberties; and how economic goods are generated and distributed in African societies. African socialism by Nkrumah, Senghor and Nyerere tried to do this but failed both politically and economically. Africapitalism as a new economic philosophy seems to obviate the inadequacies in Afrisocialism and offers an option for an African economic philosophy. But can a neo-Afrisocialism offer anything good for the African economy? And what political styles or models could you recommend or create for governing African countries?
This 2020 makes it 135 years since Africa became a made-in-Germany product. This political business and manufacture took place in Berlin with Otto von Bismark as the CEO of the lucrative venture. It took Bismark just a pencil and a piece of white paper to draw boundaries of Africa and shared the portions to the powers of Europe for their economic consumption. The orderly sharing formula initiated by Bismarck could not be obtained in Southern Africa. In Southern Africa, it was a survival of the fittest for the Euro-American powers. The white imperialists fought and killed themselves, for example, in the Anglo-Boer Wars. The survivors could not take it lying low with the black population thereafter. The British had the Cape colony; the Dutch, the Transvaal and the Orange Free States. No black could go to school nor walk near a white-skinned demi-god. The consequence was always undesirable. The white knees were on the black necks.
But the white knees had been stuck on the black necks since 400 years ago, before Bismark’s business summits in Berlin (1884-1885). Same European powers had, hitherto, committed crimes against humanity in human trafficking, buying Africans from their fellow Africans in exchange for alcohol and glittering mirrors for their African dealers to look at their faces and smile after consuming the gin to stupor. One of the results of that first business had been the making of America through Spain and Portugal. Another was the making of the capitals of Europe and their cathedrals through the sweats of African slaves in European factories. Encouraged by the gains in their first business venture during their trade in purchase of African persons, though, discouraged by the cunning abolition of slave trade by some of their paid folks, the powers of Europe devised another business strategy to enjoy Africa through colonization by dismembering, severing and splitting African ethno-cultural ties in the partition of Africa. They, however, came with the Bible from their cathedrals, to tell Africans to forgo their gods and culture and replace them with God. During the process of evangelization, European education was introduced to Africa. At least, this would help them to learn the Bible and propagate the message, still for the white man’s conquest of his culture over the blacks.
From learning Catholic catechisms in their African homeland, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Kwame Nkrumah, Leopold Senghor and Julius Nyerere later had the luck of receiving Western training in Europe and America. There, they experienced first class racism and racialism just like what happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25th, 2020; only few days ago. But they were more troubled by the need for African identity, which had been either lost or diminished through slavery, colonialism and racism.
Having been schooled in European and American education, and having been influenced by Pan-African movements by Marcus Garvey and W.E.B.Dubois, these African princes deployed their training to their indigenous cultural values to see how that might serve as the social foundation of their societies as different from Europe and America. So, the pioneer African philosophers were socio-political cum economic philosophers. This made the documented version of African philosophy to begin with socio-political philosophy. The first African philosophers were motivated by the strong sense of nationalism, a search for identity, a search for freedom, a search for emancipation from servitude, a search for cultural rebirth. These pioneer African philosophers were nationalists who fought for African freedom against colonialism, and some of them later became “philosopher-kings” in their countries. Azikiwe (1931, 1937, 1961, 1978, 1980), Nkrumah (1945, 1954, 1962, 1965, 1970), Senghor (1964, 1967) and Nyerere (1964, 1967) wrought political independence for Africa through their socio-economic and political philosophies and political activism. All of these figures shared something in common: They modified socialism and planted it on African soil. Unfortunately, their African socialism failed economically. Politically, their regimes turned out to be repressive such that some of them had to be ousted out of power. They had no tolerance for civil liberties. All of these mean that their theories failed politically and economically. Even so, they succeeded in establishing political theorizing on sub-Saharan Africa, and, by this fact, also succeeded in establishing our documented version of African philosophy on African traditional communitarian values.
African political philosophers of the second generation were not politicians like the first generation African political philosophers. Rather, they were mostly university lecturers whose major works appeared mainly in the 1980s and 1990s. Ezekiel Ogundowole’s self-reliancism (1982), Claude Ake (1987, 1996) and Segun Gbadegesin (1991) from Nigeria; Kwasi Wiredu (1996) and Kwame Gyekye (1997) from Ghana; Ernest Wamba-dia-Wamba (1992) and Bénézet Bujo from the Congo (1997); Henry Odera Oruka from Kenya (1997); and Mogobe Ramose from South Africa (1999) all fall into this category. Political power, civil liberties and economic goods based on African communitarian ideals were the focus of majority of this batch of African political philosophers. However, they romanticized too much on political ideologies and idealistic “isms”, without emphasizing on the economic power as the substratum for any political power.
Behold! A contemporary generation of African political philosophers, Batch C, is emerging in the academy and the industrial sector, setting a slight difference in novelty from the second batch of African political philosophers who were mainly academics. Contemporary African political philosophers and political economists have expanded the field of African political philosophy, addressing a wide array of fresh issues, such as how to: conceive of the nature of freedom, distribute resources in light of familial or ethnic ties, ground non-Western models of socioeconomic development, characterize the proper role of civil society, view the proper aim of public universities, think about compensatory and transitional justice, consider the nature and proper function of law,3 develop an autochthonous African capitalism based on African realities (Amaeshi, Elumelu, Agbakoba) or simply Africapitalism (Amaeshi, Elumelu), emphasize productive justice as a motivation towards economic development, a concept advocated in a philosophy of African development (Agbakoba). In all these, three issues stand out for determining an African political philosophy, namely, political power, civil liberties and economic goods. What is the best suited model for attaining political power in Africa? What political model will guarantee civil liberties in our African societies? What model should guide generation and distribution of economic goods given our African societal peculiarities?
Our African experience, then and now, has been a repudiation of anything black or African in the eyes of Europe, America and currently China. Trade in human persons has resurfaced. The struggle and partition of Africa by European powers the 19th century has reemerged; but, this time, by China and America and the dominant European nation over Africa, France. There is an on-going struggle and partition of Africa by Sino-American powers. On June 1st, President Paul Kagame had to expel 18 Chinese from Rwanda, and sent them back to China for mistreating Rwandan workers and grabbing lands for farming from them, warning that Africans do not want to be slaves again (www.thevoicenews.net). While China is busy trying to occupy all of black Africa and pretending generosity in giving gargantuan loans, America is stationing military bases all over Africa and acting the big brother in defending Christians in Nigeria against fundamentalist attacks. With the emergence of Covid-19 pandemic and its apocalypse of the emptiness of nations and peoples, Africa must rise to prove herself a strong force to reckon with. This can begin from our mental theorizing on how best we can have a legal organized public life through government. This, then, becomes the role of African political and economic philosophy. Poverty, diseases, illiteracy and insecurity must be adequately addresses in any philosophy that must guarantee us the Africa We Want.
Call for Papers
We welcome original, creative, inventive, scholarly and well-written articles from experts in the field of African political and economic leadership. This can come from scholars in philosophy, economics, political science, law, history, sociology, public administration, public policy, African studies, the humanities and social sciences generally construed. Papers must be written in English, having between 3000 and 5000 words, prepared for blind review. Use of the APA (7th edition) referencing style is recommended. Papers will be peer-reviewed for publication with a reputable UK academic publisher. Submissions would be accepted or declined based on originality or development of a practical African political and economic model. Deadline for submission of full papers is October 31st, 2020.
Kindly send your abstracts by email to:
Ephraim-Stephen Essien, PhD
Department of Philosophy,
Ahmadu Bello University,
African Political Philosophers Association (APPA)