On the Idea of Freedom in Modern African Political Philosophy
When the Republic of Liberia, at its inception, adopted for its motto, “The Love of Freedom Brought Us Here”, they were registering their embrace of one of the core tenets of modernity: the idea that freedom was the primary state of humanity and that any form of social living that turned this free being into a bonded phenomenon, forces it to obey dictates and laws not of its own choosing, to bow before rulers it had no hand in electing, and to live at the behest of another must stand condemned. They were merely the latest, back then, instantiation of Africans as singers of freedom’s song in the modern age. Unfortunately, neither theirs nor earlier iterations in the Haitian Revolution much less later contributions by other Africans in the continent are to be found routinely, if at all, in the annals of modern philosophy. In this lecture, I bring our awareness how African thinkers have domesticated the idea of freedom as a legacy of modernity in their world. This is one of the bodies of work that is obscured by the wall that I argue, in Against Decolonisation, decolonisers have erected in their mistaking, wittingly or unwittingly, modernity for colonialism and/or Westernisation.
Date: 15 June 2023, 15:30 (Thursday, 8th week, Trinity 2023)
Venue: St Antony's College, 62 Woodstock Road OX2 6JF
Venue Details: Nissan Lecture theatre
Speaker: Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò (Cornell University)
Organising department: Centre for African Studies
Organiser: African Studies Centre (University of Oxford)
Organiser contact email address: events@africa.ox.ac.uk
Host: Miles Larmer (University of Oxford)
Part of: African Studies Seminar Series
Booking required?: Required
Booking url: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/african-studies-centre-annual-lecture-tickets-631370043797
Audience: Members of the University only
Editor: Adrita Mitra