Philosophy Faculty Publications

Title

Senghor, or the Holy Grail of Otherness

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2015

Publication Source

Journal on African Philosophy

Abstract

Léopold Sédar Senghor, the leading thinker of the controversial school known as Negritude, chose to rehabilitate the African person by inverting the infirmities attached to the black race into positive characteristics. This essay examines and evaluates the arguments by which he effects the transmutation. In particular, it shows how Senghor counters the evolutionary ranking of races by analyzing the epistemological and axiological disparities of Africans with the West as expressions of a divergent and sui generis civilization. To the common accusation of Negritude as an endorsement of racial inequality and a backward-looking ideology, the article opposes the idea of Negritude as a strategy of modernization by presenting the Senghorian exaltation of traditional characteristics as an invitation to forge an African modernity instead of copying the West. As a result, African modernity emerges as complementary to the idiosyncratic modernity of the West and the march toward a true universal civilization goes through the synthesis of particularized cultures.

Inclusive pages

58-80

ISBN/ISSN

1533-1067

Comments

Permission documentation is on file.

Publisher

Africa Resource Center

Issue

11

Peer Reviewed

yes