Call for Paper: Futures of African Philosophy

The Journal on African Philosophy seeks to publish peer-reviewed papers on the theme, "Futures of African Philosophy." The issue will be guest-edited by Professor Omedi Ochieng.

Deadline: February 1, 2019
Submit your paper directly to ochiengo@denison.edu.


Twentieth century African philosophy was mainly animated by fierce contestations over the existence, definition, and scope of African philosophy. These contestations often pitted professional philosophers (that is, those who identified strongly with the disciplinary form it has historically taken in the North Atlantic world) against ethnophilosophers (that is, those who were keen to recuperate the worldviews of precolonial epistemes). With the turn of the millennium, there are increasing signs that the debate is now seen by many African philosophers as largely exhausted. What is not clear, however, are the specific directions that African philosophy ought to take not only in light of this contested history, but also in the face of the intellectual, political, economic, and cultural questions emergent in the African continent in the twenty-first century.

This special issue seeks to open a space for cutting-edge conversations on the horizons of African philosophy. We are appealing for papers that blend daring, ambition, and imaginative reach with a rigorous attentiveness to argument, evidence, and style. Topics of interest may include, but are not limited to, the following subjects:

1. Meta-philosophical questions in African philosophy: Papers may seek to engage with meta-philosophical questions that continue to be at the heart of debates in African philosophy. These include:
  • Does African philosophy have a future?
  • What precise futures ought African philosophy aspire toward?
  • Given the spectacular diversity of African philosophy, what are the dangers and/or opportunities for exploring a future of African philosophy?
  • What particular insights and critiques does African philosophy bring to meta-philosophy in general?
  • What ambitions ought African philosophy aspire to?

2. Unfinished projects in African philosophy: Papers may articulate new directions in specific areas and fields that African philosophy has historically engaged. These include:
  • What is living and what is dead in the debate about the existence, definition, and scope of African philosophy?
  • What direction should sage philosophy take in the twenty-first century?
  • What are the missed opportunities that African philosophy failed to take in the twentieth century?
  • What areas in African philosophy remain relatively undeveloped, underexplored, or neglected?
  • What figures or texts in African philosophy have not received their just due?

3. The constitutive Other of African philosophy: Papers may engage with subjects or persons that are the constitutive Other of African philosophy – in other words, that are implicitly or explicitly constructed as alien to the identity of African philosophy or philosophers. These include:
  • Papers may explore what it would mean to queer African philosophy.
  • Papers may explore how specific African philosophers have imagined (or failed to imagine) women, people with disabilities, sexual minorities, the poor, future generations, non-human animals, and so on.

4. The experimental and the speculative in African philosophy: Papers may explore new methods, innovative styles, and speculative ideas relevant to African philosophy. These include:
  • The importance of speculation in African philosophy.
  • Can African philosophy learn from speculative fictions and aesthetic movements?
  • Papers could experiment with form, genre, and style – for example, narrative, poetic, musical, and visual forms.

Deadlines and submission instructions:
  • Papers should be 9,000 words maximum (exclusive of references), and accompanied by an abstract of no more than 200 words
  • References should be formatted according to the Chicago Manual of Style (with endnotes)
  • Deadline for submissions of papers is Feb. 1, 2019
  • Send submissions as a word .docx or pdf email attachment to Omedi Ochieng with the subject line “Special issue JAP submission” (ochiengo@denison.edu)
  • For more information, contact Dr. Omedi Ochieng at the following email address: ochiengo@denison.edu

About the Journal on African Philosophy:
Journal on African Philosophy [JAP] is a peer-reviewed online journal that promotes the study of African and African diaspora philosophy and studies worldwide from a critical perspective. The journal provides a forum for discussing philosophical issues pertaining to African and African Diaspora politics, legal theory, jurisprudence, aesthetic sensibilities, values, metaphysics and cultural traditions. For more information, visit the About section of the website.