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The "Import Thesis" About African Political Thought

Pieter Boele Van Hensbroek


In several serious academic studies as well as in a host of more every-day accounts of African history the view is advanced that nationalist thought in Africa derived from Enlightenment ideas and revolutionary thought that came from abroad. Authors point out a kind of dialectic of history, where the same powers that colonised Africa also spread the basic ideas that guided the struggle for its abolition. This "import thesis", as I will call it, fits so well into the dominant background knowledge of much of the academia that it is seldom singled out for serious investigation. Interestingly, the "import thesis" also returns with authors who are highly critical of this dominant academia and claim that the troubles of Africa result from importing foreign ideas instead of building upon indigenous ones.

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Journal on African Philosophy. ISSN: 1533-1067 (online).
Editor: Olufemi Taiwo.

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