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CCS & Critical Times, Critical Race Project Seminar 4: How Not To Despoil Yourself of African Wonders: Oyeronke Oyewumi’s work as African Epistemological Enchantment

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 4: How Not To Despoil Yourself of African Wonders: Oyeronke Oyewumi’s work as African Epistemological Enchantment

Speaker: Alfred Moraka
Date: Wednesday 18 April
Time: 12:30-14:00
Venue: CCS Seminar Room A726, Level 7, Shepstone, Howard College, UKZN

Oyeronke Oyewumi’s work has posited into African critical studies an epic refutation of western epistemologies of ontology, perception and subjecthood. The most stunning of Oyewumi’s critical offerings has been her dismantling of the concept of gender and taking this further, her critique of the very concept of the body. Oyewumi’s work has brought into question every convention of gender studies and western discourses around identity and ontology. It has deracinated our traditional understanding of the concepts of linguistics, identity and the constitution of our very consciousness.
In this seminar we engage the implications of Oyewumi’s work, particularly her seminal book, The Invention of Women. The purpose of this seminar is to impress upon students and scholars of heightened consciousness alike, the importance of Oyewumi’s work to not just most of the academic disciplines we are engaged in but also to the politics of liberation that currently compel the academic and general public discourse of our nation.

Speaker Bio:
Alfred Moraka is a PHD student at the University of Pretoria, where he is studying African oral storytelling as a literary epistemological technique in African cultural and knowledge production. His research themes are law, literatures, film and aesthetics.
The works of Oyeronke Oyewumi, Mabogo Ramose, Hortense Spillers, Judith Butler and Wendy Brown undergirds his work on gender. While his literary and poetic interest include the works of Busi Amacheta, Tade Ipadeola, Tony Morisson, Taiye Selasi, li Young Lee, Toni Cade Bambara and Nikky Finney.
Alfred has multiple forthcoming academic articles and his future works include the publication of an Anthology of poems and a book on pre-colonial African (ante) Gender Aesthetics.

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

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