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Africa and the Unfolding of Difference: An Introduction

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Part of the Handbooks in Philosophy book series (HP)


This chapter provides introductory comments or preliminary remarks to the Handbook of African Philosophy of Difference. It begins by defending the claim that difference stands under as the foundation of the unfolding of African philosophy as an academic discipline and the unfolding of many lived experiences in African spaces both in Africa and in the Diaspora. Hence, African philosophy of difference is a critical reflection on the place of difference in the African experience. The chapters in this handbook thus explore various and specific aspects of such lived experiences and the roles difference or alterity play in their unfolding. The handbook is thus divided into five sections with each section exploring key aspects of the importance of difference in the understanding of the African experience. The first section provides conceptualizations of difference in African thought. The second section explores various aspects and provides critical comments on the question of racism, particularly the institutionalized racial discrimination by whites against blacks due to racial differences. The third section examines some key issues emerging from the role difference plays in the unfolding of African experiences such as epistemological issues, the language issue, the role of art in the institutionalization of difference, and moral issues. The fourth section explores the important roles that difference plays in questions of disability, gender, and the non-human other. The last section examines how difference plays key roles in the unfolding of lived experiences in specific African places such as the experience of xenophobia in South Africa, the Skolombos in Calabar, Nigeria, and the land distribution question in Zimbabwe. The chapter concludes that this handbook is an important contribution to alterity discourse in African philosophy not because it exhausts the issues involved, but because it provided a robust discussion that would provoke further reflections and discussions.


  • Africa
  • Difference
  • Alterity
  • Disability
  • Xenophobia

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Correspondence to Elvis Imafidon .

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Imafidon, E. (2019). Africa and the Unfolding of Difference: An Introduction. In: Imafidon, E. (eds) Handbook of African Philosophy of Difference. Handbooks in Philosophy. Springer, Cham.

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-04941-6

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