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Seminar with Dr Mikel Burley: Conceptual Decolonization and Conceptual Justice

Thursday 1 December 2022, 11:30-13:00
Botany house 1.03

On 1st December, the Centre for Religion and Public Life, with the Leeds University Centre for African Studies, is hosting a research seminar with Dr Mikel Burley (University of Leeds), who will speak about

Conceptual Decolonization and Conceptual Justice: Critically Examining Proposals from Kwasi Wiredu and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

Kwasi Wiredu (1931-2022) was a Ghanaian-born philosopher; Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (b. 1938) is a Kenyan-born writer. Each of them has advanced arguments concerning 'conceptual decolonisation' (Wiredu) or 'decolonising the mind' (Ngũgĩ). These and related notions of decolonization are becoming increasingly influential in contemporary academia and elsewhere. Yet such notions are not without their critics. One especially vocal recent critic is the Nigerian-born philosopher Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò (Cornell University), who has argued, in relation to African contexts, that what he calls 'the decolonisation trope' risks underplaying the creativity of African people to adapt non-indigenous concepts and ideas for their own purposes and has questioned the assumption that there is a straightforward distinction between African and non-African languages and concepts. This paper summarizes and engages critically with the debate.


You are welcome to join the seminar in person, or online via MS Teams.