A 2023 Choice Reviews Outstanding Academic Title
Beauty in African Thought: A Critique of the Western Idea of Development investigates how the concept of beauty in African philosophy and related qualitative social sciences may contribute to a richer intercultural exchange on the idea of development. While working within frameworks created in post-colonial and arguably neo-colonial times, African thinkers have reacted against the mainstream view that restricts the meaning and scope of good development to economic growth and western-style education. These thinkers have worked toward a critical self-understanding of the potentials inherent in cultural, spiritual, and political traditions since pre-colonial times. Edited by Bolaji Bateye, Mahmoud Masaeli, Louise Müller, and Angela Roothaan, this collection explores branches of thought from wisdom or oral traditions to political thought and philosophy of culture. This book is urgent reading material for any policy maker, scholar, or student wishing to attend to the voices of African(ist) thinkers who search for alternative approaches to global questions of development in a time of climate change and increasing socio-economic inequality.
Bolaji Bateye is associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Obafemi Awolowo University.
Mahmoud Masaeli is professor of human rights studies at Iran Academia.
Louise F. Müller is senior research fellow at the University of KwaZulu Natal and secretary of the Dutch OZSW research network in African Intercultural Philosophy.
Angela Roothaan is assistant professor of philosophy at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
Part I: Conceptions of Beauty in African Thought
Chapter 1: The Concept of Beauty and Environmental Conservation
Chapter 2: We live in Paradise: Beautiful Nature in African Tradition
Pius Mosima, and Nelson Shang
Chapter 3: African Ethics: Human Being is Beautiful
Stanley Uche Anozie
Part II: Development in Africa: Contested Terrains
Chapter 4: African Metaphysics as a Basis of African Human and Economic Development
Chapter 5: Ubuntu Humanity and Community Building for Human Growth: Sustainable Development in Africa’s Cultural Depiction
Chapter 6: Ubuntu Humanity and Sustainable Development Goals
Dorine E. van Norren
Chapter 7: Replacing Development: An Afro-Communal Approach to Distributive Justice
Chapter 8: Understanding Genuine Development: African Contexts
Part III: African Views of Development: Cultural and Spiritual Aspects
Chapter 9: A Reconsideration of African Spirituality in Agricultural Development Projects: Traditional Ecological Knowledge from Dagara Elders in Koro, Ghana
Birgit Boogaard, Bernard Yangmaadome Guri, David Ludwig, Daniel Banuoku
Chapter 10: Art Traders and Spirits. Negotiating Values for Self-Determination in a Frame of Global Development
Chapter 11: Omolúàbí: Understanding the Yorùbá’s Moral Obligations in Human Well-being and its Implications for Political Participation in Nigeria - Insights from Ikorodu
Oladosu Mudasiru Surajudeen, Abdul-Gafar Tobi Oshodi and Abiodun Fatai
Chapter 12: Spirituality, Capability, and Sustainable Development from an African Cultural Construction
Beauty in African Thought exemplifies contemporary African philosophy and how philosophical rigor can shed light on profound concerns in everyday life. The editors and their contributors have done a remarkable job of bringing to the fore the aesthetics of life among African peoples, revealing that development transcends economic efficiency. The volume addresses notions of beauty broadly understood, holistic spirituality and religion, agency and meaning-making, interdependence, and community in contrast to the individualism of Western metaphysics and political philosophy. This collection will be valuable for those with interests in African culture and thought and the development of African nations in the present era. Scholars pursuing issues of global development and environmental sustainability or of human flourishing and justice will unquestionably benefit from this excellent collection. Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.
This volume broaches a fresh and critical view of life in an Africa that is aspiring for a dignified and sustainable quality of life. The book redefines the beauty of African life with all its struggles and celebrations and adorns it with a rigorous intellectual mantle. It is an invitation for a deep and sophisticated understanding of life as lived in postcolonial Africa under the pressures of the Western ideology of development