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by
Wim van Binsbergen

Intercultural encounters
African and anthropological lessons towards a philosophy of interculturality

610 pp, 4 figures, 2 tables, bibliography, general index, author index

Berlin/Muenster: LIT

to appear 1st December 2003

proceed to the Shikanda portal in order to access all other websites by Wim van Binsbergen: general (intercultural philosophy, African Studies); ethnicity-identity-politics; Afrocentricity and the Black Athena debate; Ancient Models of Thought in Africa, the Ancient Near East, and prehistory; sangoma consultation; literary work
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Intercultural encounters:

African and anthropological lessons towards a philosophy of interculturality

Wim van Binsbergen

Spanning 35 years of research and reflection, this book brings together fifteen essays investigating interculturality. It threshes (Part I: Introduction) intercultural philosophy out of the author’s explorations as an anthropologist and oral historian. Part II analyses anthropological research as a highly problematic mode of intercultural knowledge production, arguing that it depends on manipulated face-to-face relations, personal history, transference, and North–South hegemonic power. An epistemological fallacy turns out to underlie anthropological fieldwork: methodological procedures offer no protection against, but are part of, the violence of inter­cultural representation. This insight led the author to transgress professional codes and become a sangoma (diviner-priest) during fieldwork in Southern Africa around 1990. Far from a retreat into irrationality, this move raises seminal questions, answered in Part III: Can sangomahood be mediated interculturally, even globally? Does it produce valid knowledge beyond North Atlantic science? What are its intercontinental historical antecedents? Inspired by Kant and Durkheim, Part IV explores Africa’s technologies of sociability and identity. The analysis of reconciliation yields the model of intercultural mediation as transformative reformulation, and leads on to the intercultural philosophy of Part V. There, innovative discussions are offered of globalisation and intercultural hermeneutics; of the expansion of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Africa; of ubuntu as South Africa’s current theory of being human; and finally (based on the author’s 1999 Rotterdam inaugural lecture), the argument that ‘cultures do not exist (any more)’, exploding the self-evidences that have haunted the investigation of interculturality so far.

WIM VAN BINSBERGEN (1947) is Professor of the Foundations of Intercultural Philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and Senior Researcher at the African Studies Centre, Leiden, the Netherlands. His research interests include: religion in Africa; intercultural philosophy; African and Ancient history; Afrocentricity; ethnicity and globalisation. He has pursued these interests during fieldwork in Tunisia, Zambia, Guinea Bissau, and Botswana, besides historical projects on South Central Africa, the Ancient Near East, and the world history of geomantic divination and shamanism. He held professorships in Manchester, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Durban, and directed Africanist research at the Leiden centre throughout the 1980s and 1990s. His many books include: Religious change in Zambia (1981), Theoretical explorations in African religion (with Schoffeleers, 1985), Old modes of production and capitalist encroachment (with Geschiere, 1985), Tears of Rain (1992), and more recently: Black Athena Ten Years After (1997), Modernity on a shoestring (with Fardon and van Dijk, 1999), Trajectoires de libération en Afrique contemporaine (with Konings and Hesse­ling, 2000), and The dynamics of power and the rule of law (2003). He is the editor of Quest: An African Journal of Philosophy. He is a published poet/ novelist and a practising sangoma diviner-healer.

Front cover illustration: Janiform headdress mask, Ekoi, Nigeria; wood and antelope skin, height 15.75’’ (The British Museum, London).

LIT, Berlin/Muenster

© 2003 Wim van Binsbergen; date of publication 1st December 2003

ISBN 3-8258-6783-8

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proceed to the Shikanda portal in order to access all other websites by Wim van Binsbergen: general (intercultural philosophy, African Studies); ethnicity-identity-politics; Afrocentricity and the Black Athena debate; Ancient Models of Thought in Africa, the Ancient Near East, and prehistory; sangoma consultation; literary work
also a highly sensitive in-site search facility is now available at the overall Shikanda.net portal homepage, covering all Wim van Binsbergen's sites in a single search action

 

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