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The Concept of a Nation and Its Problematic Appeal to Universality: A Critique from an African (Oromo) Vantage Point

Sisay Megersa Dirirsa


Although the concept of a nation is one of those highly contested terrains within the humanities and the social sciences, there still exists some kind of intellectual dogmatism on the origin and historicity of nation as a social and historical entity. Such dogmatic intellectual tradition is grounded on the assumption that the phenomenon of a nation is a historical product of modern Europe. The essay critically challenges this Eurocentric assumption by utilizing the sixteenth-century Oromo polity as historical leverage. Arguing from an African perspective and capitalizing on some methodological insights from Reinhart Koselleck's Begriffsgeschichte (History of Concepts), the essay conducts a diachronic and synchronic analysis of the concept of nation to debunk hegemonic Eurocentric pretensions that are camouflaged as a condition for the universality of a nation.


Gada; Nation; Nationalism; Modernism; Eurocentrism; Agro-literacy

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

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