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Journal Statement

Journal on African Philosophy is an electronic journal sponsored by the International Society for African Philosophy and Studies (ISAPS) and published by Africa Resource Center, Inc. The Society was founded in 1995 at an inaugural conference held at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. ISAPS has the following aims and objectives:

(a) Promote the study of African and African Diaspora philosophy and studies worldwide from a broad (critical) perspective;

(b) Provide a regular forum for discussing philosophical issues pertaining to African and African Diaspora politics, aesthetic sensibilities, values, metaphysics and cultural traditions;

(c) Assist colleagues and departments in practical ways with the teaching of African and African Diaspora philosophy and studies;

(d) Produce an academic journal and other publications for exchange of ideas;

(e) Host regional conferences to discuss issues in African and African Diaspora philosophy and studies.

The inauguration of this journal marks the redemption of the specific promise made in (d) above. And, in general, it provides an additional platform to that offered by the ISAPS annual conference, for the achievement of the aims and objectives of the society.

Apart from the general aims just adumbrated, there are more specific aims for the journal to fulfill. The sub-discipline of African Philosophy has been ill served not least by many of its proponents. For so long back in the continent itself, it was mired in fruitless debates about its very possibility, and later, its philosophical pedigree. But that debate was quickly undercut in places like Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo (then know as Zaire), and Kenya. There native philosophers working out of local institutions, especially in the late seventies and throughout the eighties of the last century, began to put out substantive works in the sub-discipline and to produce graduates up to and including doctorates in Africa Philosophy. Unfortunately, as at 1995 when ISAPS was founded, that reality had not dawned on many who flew the banner of African Philosophy in North America and Europe. Just as ISAPS conferences have been places where, over the years, substantive African philosophy has been presented, we expect that Journal on African Philosophy will attract substantive discussion of themes, orientations, traditions, schools, and so on, in African philosophy, globally conceived. In short, we shall not encourage or welcome submissions treating of pedigree issues. Put more positively, Journal on African Philosophy solicits and will publish articles and other pieces that treat of substantive issues/themes in African philosophy and studies. Needless to say, we shall publish good philosophical pieces that treat themes in the various subdivisions of the discipline in addition to those of African philosophy.

Secondly, neither Journal on African Philosophy nor ISAPS, its sponsor, can be understood outside of the historical conjuncture that has spawned them. This conjuncture has different elements. One relates to the crisis afflicting the academic scene in many African countries which has led to the demise of some of the journals that used to provide fora for the dissemination of research in African philosophy. Those that have not died enjoy only fitful existence. Thus, the scene in the sub-discipline is devoid of both Second Order, the premier Anglophone philosophy journal and the pioneer in the field, and Thought and Practice, its worthy Kenyan counterpart. In addition, there has been an exodus of many labourers of African extraction from the vineyards of African philosophy from the continent. Some of us have found homes in various non-African locations. The demise or fitful existence of African-based journals of philosophy does not mean that research is not proceeding apace at various African institutions. Indeed, the opposite seems to be the case. The crisis in the education sector in African countries has forced many continent-based philosophers to turn inwards and undertake "local sourcing" for many of their philosophical exertions in both research and teaching.

Meanwhile, many who work in African philosophy outside of the continent have not stood still, either. In short, we do have at the present time an embarrassment of riches where interest, research and teaching in African philosophy are concerned. But we cannot say the same for outlets where this embarrassment of riches can be disseminated. So it is part of the goal of this journal to provide an outlet for the dissemination of original work within its scope originating from all areas of the world.

Thirdly, we are aware of works that have been published locally in African journals or even anthologies that hardly enjoy any distribution beyond their immediate locality. Given that outside of the continent, teachers are forever lamenting the paucity of materials to support their desire to incorporate African philosophy into their syllabi and the curriculum, it would be a welcome development if Journal on African Philosophy could make available to wider audiences materials locally published in Africa but which, in the estimation of the editors, deserve wider circulation.

Finally, it is a bane of much work in African philosophy at the present time that too much of its published content, especially outside of Africa, is general and hardly ever related to any specific culture, tradition, language, history, etc., within the African world. It is our hope that prospective contributors would be mindful of this shortcoming and strive to minimize its occurrence in their submission. As editors, if we could have our way, we'd love to publish material in some African languages, including the foreign-derived dominant languages in many countries in the African world. But we lack the wherewithal to realize any such wish. However, we look forward to putting out articles that deal with both general themes but also specific traditions, histories, cultures, languages, and the like, in African philosophy and studies. We intend to remain sensitive to the fact that outside of those areas of Africa where writing enjoyed a very early presence-the Nile Valley and Ethiopia being the earliest-as well as the areas where Islam has been present for centuries, much of older African philosophy must be extracted from what would rank as "unusual" sources. To this extent, we encourage prospective contributors to not limit themselves to the "usual" sources.

We look forward to serving you, dear readers, and with your help, we propose to present some of the best works in African philosophy.

ISAPS is a continental and diasporic philosophical society that supports and encourages interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary explorations of African/a life and experience.

 

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