Africa, Philosophy

African Philosophy Books in Syllabi

Thursday, 11th February 2021

So I was poking around on the Open Syllabus Explorer site https://opensyllabus.org/ which is pretty cool, I must say. They have about 7.3 million syllabi there, and you can search elements of all of them.

So, I put in “African philosophy” to see what would come up. What I found was the books that were assigned in these syllabi, and the number of times they were assigned. There were over a hundred, but I culled out the top 50, which you see below. You have them ranked in order, and the number at the end of each is the number of syllabi the book appears in. Obviously, it’s hard to isolate work that’s just African philosophy and not, say, African-American or some other version of philosophy (or, some African art or humanities course that has some philosophical content), but this is a pretty good list. If anyone wants to know what others use out there in their courses, this is a start.

Thanks to Alex Gil for the pointer to the site.

  1. Flash of the Spirit: African and Afro-American Art and Philosophy, Robert Farris Thompson – 170
  2. African Religions and Philosophy, John S. Mbiti – 123
  3. The Companion to African-American Philosophy, John P. Pittman – 43
  4. African Philosophy: An Anthology, Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze, Wiley / Blackwell,1998 – 42
  5. Postcolonial African Philosophy: A Critical Reader, Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze, Wiley / Blackwell,1997 – 40
  6. A Companion to African Philosophy, Kwasi Wiredu, W. E. Abraham, Abiola Irele, Wiley / Blackwell, 2004 – 38
  7. African Philosophy: Myth and Reality, Paulin J. Hountondji – 36
  8. Sage Philosophy: Indigenous Thinkers and Modern Debate on African Philosophy, H. Odera Oruka, Brill Academic Publishers,1990 – 32
  9. The African Philosophy Reader, P. H. Coetzee, A. P. J. Roux, Routledge,1998 – 29
  10. African Philosophy: The Essential Readings, Tsenay Serequeberhan, Paragon House,1991- 29
  11. African Philosophy in Search of Identity, D. A. Masolo, Indiana University Press,1994- 24
  12. African Philosophy: An Introduction, Richard A. Wright, University Press of America,1984- 24
  13. Knowledge, Belief, and Witchcraft: Analytic Experiments in African Philosophy- B. Hallen, Stanford University Press,1997 – 23
  14. The Hermeneutics of African Philosophy: Horizon and Discourse- Tsenay Serequeberhan, Routledge,1994 – 22
  15. A Short History of African Philosophy, B. Hallen, Indiana University Press,2002- 19
  16. African Philosophy as Cultural Inquiry, Ivan Karp, D. A. Masolo, Indiana University Press,2000 – 18
  17. African Philosophy: Traditional Yoruba Philosophy and Contemporary African Realities, Segun Gbadegesin, Peter Lang,1991 – 17
  18. African Philosophy Through Ubuntu, Mogobe B. Ramose – 17
  19. Family Matters: Feminist Concepts in African Philosophy of Culture, Nkiru Nzegwu, State University of New York Press,2006 – 16
  20. African Philosophy: Selected Readings, Albert G. Mosley, Pearson / Prentice Hall,1995 – 16
  21. African-American Philosophy: Selected Readings, Tommy Lee Lott, Pearson / Prentice Hall,2002 – 16
  22. Reflections: An Anthology of African American Philosophy, James A. Montmarquet, William H. Hardy, Cengage / Wadsworth Publishing,2000 – 15
  23. African Philosophy, Barry Hallen, Oxford University Press,2011 – 15
  24. Sports, Political Philosophy, and the African American, Gerald Early, Wiley / Blackwell,2007 – 15
  25. Philosophy and an African Culture, Kwasi Wiredu, Cambridge University Press,1980 – 14
  26. Readings in African Philosophy: An Akan Collection, Safro Kwame, University Press of America,1995 – 12
  27. Understanding African Philosophy, Richard H. Bell, Routledge,2002 – 12
  28. African Philosophy: New and Traditional Perspectives – Lee M. Brown, Oxford University Press,2004 – 12
  29. African American Dance – Philosophy, Aesthetics, and ‘Beauty, Thomas F. DeFrantz, Springer Science+Business Media,2005 – 11
  30. African Philosophy in Ethiopia: Ethiopian Philosophical Studies II, Bekele Gutema, Charles C. Verharen – 9
  31. An Introduction to African Philosophy, Samuel Oluoch Imbo, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers,1998 – 9
  32. Peacebuilding in the African Union: Law, Philosophy and Practice, Abou Jeng – 9
  33. African “Philosophy”: Deconstructive and Reconstructive Challenges, Lucius Outlaw, Springer Publishing,1987 – 9
  34. Trends and Issues in African Philosophy, Frederick Ochieng-Odhiambo – 9
  35. African Philosophy, H. Odera Oruka, Philosophy Documentation Center,1979 – 8
  36. African Philosophy as an Ideological Practice: The Case of French-Speaking Africa, V. Y. Mudimbe, African Studies Review,1983 – 8
  37. African Philosophy: A Classical Approach, Parker English, Kibujjo M. Kalumba, Pearson / Prentice Hall,1996 – 7
  38. African Philosophy: An Introduction, F. Ochieng’-Odhiambo, Consolata Institute of Philosophy Press,1995 – 7
  39. Thought and Practice in African Philosophy: Selected Papers From the Sixth Annual Conference of the International Society for African Philosophy and Studies (ISAPS), Gail M. Presbey, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung,2002 – 6
  40. African Philosophy, Claude Sumner – 6
  41. Human Dignity, Capital Punishment, and an African Moral Theory: Toward a New Philosophy of Human Rights, Thaddeus Metz, Informa UK Limited,2010 – 6
  42. Listening to Ourselves: A Multilingual Anthology of African Philosophy, Chike Jeffers – 5
  43. Philosophy in an African Place, Bruce B. Janz, Lexington Books,2009 – 5
  44. Oral Traditions as Philosophy: Okot P’Bitek’s Legacy for African Philosophy, Samuel Oluoch Imbo, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers,2002 – 5
  45. Perspectives in African Philosophy: An Anthology on “Problematics of an African Philosophy: Twenty Years After, 1976-1996, Claude Sumner, Samuel Wolde Yohannes, Addis Ababa University Press,2002 – 5
  46. Message to the People: The Course of African Philosophy, Marcus Garvey, Majority Press,1986 – 5
  47. African Philosophy and the Quest for Autonomy, Leonhard Praeg – 5
  48. African Literature as Political Philosophy, M. S. C. Okolo – 5
  49. Thought and Practice in African Philosophy, Ef Mkhwanazi, Mb Ramose, Academy of Science of South Africa,2005 – 5
  50. African Philosophy of Education Reconsidered: On Being Human, Yusef Waghid – 5

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