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Prolegomenon to an Africanist Historiography in South Africa: Mogobe Ramose’s Critical Philosophy of Race

Centre for Civil Society and Critical Times, Critical Race Project
Great African Thinkers Seminar Series 2017 / 2018

Facilitator: Dr Mvu Ngcoya
In most South African universities, African philosophers and thinkers are pushed to the flanks of contemporary thought and practice. The few that make cameo appearances in course outlines, often occupy the soft world of culture, not political economy, science, philosophy, law, history, etc. This Seminar Series reverses this Hegelian doubt (to wit, whether Africa has a history) and imbalance by familiarizing the world with the most palpable, original inspiring contributions of African thinkers to contemporary debates, agendas and practices. It is a vibrant platform for scholars to present how insights from African thinkers have shaped their own thinking and practice. Our focus is global Africa, therefore, contributions will include key thinkers from the fractured African Diaspora who were displaced by slavery, colonialism, and globalization.

Seminar 2: Prolegomenon to an Africanist Historiography in South Africa: Mogobe Ramose’s Critical Philosophy of Race
Speaker: Ndumiso Dladla
Date: Wednesday 25 October 2017
Time: 12h30-14h00
Venue: CCS Seminar Room A726, Level 7, Shepstone, Howard College, UKZN

Throughout the legal and political philosophical writings of Mogobe Ramose spanning over a period of three decades, there is a consistent presence in different degrees of explicity of a philosophy of history. For Ramose:
“History, is one of the vehicles humanity uses to describe and define its identity. Given that identity can play a decisive role in individual and collective life, it is questionable to relegate the study of history to the fringes of what it means to be a human being. History is crucial to the construction of individual and collective identity.”
Moving from this insight and idea of history Ramose sets about a critique of South African history with the understanding of apartheid as a historiographical subterfuge which obfuscates the true nature of oppression and the telos liberation. At the centre of his conception of the post-conquest the "South African" polity is a competing interpretation of South African history from any of the official traditions including the conservative, liberal and radical schools. This seminar will focus on three historical concepts in Ramose’s writing, which form the basis for his critical philosophy of history: indigeneity, conquest and apartheid.

Speaker Bio:
Ndumiso Dlada is based at UNISA where he teaches philosophy with a primary approach of African philosophy. His areas of interest are social, political and legal philosophy, specialising in the theoretical-historical study of race. Dlada is author of a recent monograph entitled: Here is a Table: A Philosophical Essay on the History of Race.

 Other seminar programmes
 WISER Seminar Series 
 UKZN History Seminar Series 
 The Wolpe Trust 

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