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Indigenous Philosophies and Critical Education

A Reader- Foreword by Akwasi Asabere-Ameyaw

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Edited By George J. Sefa Dei

An important academic goal is to understand ongoing contestations in knowledge in the search to engage everyday social practice and experiences, as well as the social barriers and approaches to peaceful human coexistence. This reader pulls together ideas concerning Indigenous epistemologies (e.g., worldviews, paradigms, standpoints, and philosophies) as they manifest themselves in the mental lives of persons both from and outside the orbit of the usual Euro-American culture. The book engages Indigenous knowledges as far more than a «contest of the marginals», thereby challenging the way oppositional knowledges are positioned, particularly in the Western academy. Subsequently, this book is a call to recognize and acknowledge Indigenous knowledges as legitimate knowings in their own right, and not necessarily in competition with other sources or forms of knowledge. The project offers an opportunity for the critical thinker to continue on a de-colonial/anti-colonial intellectual journey in ways informed by Indigenous theorizing.

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5. African Philosophies of Education: Deconstructing the Colonial and Reconstructing the Indigenous Ali Abdi 80

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Philosophy, which was at one point appreciated as the quasi-straight line of the love of wisdom,has been defined in many ways, and with as many analytical, pedagogical, and socio-cultural intentions and emphasis. At least within and around the parameters of academic projects, philoso- phy might be seen as the fluid but ongoing study and analysis that pertain to all aspects of the way we live in a given time and space, how we critically inquire about social contexts and relationships that would, either in alignment, or in contrario, describe and institutionally locate the intersections of those life systems. With that understanding, and with education being an important component of social life, one would assume that no group, nation, or continent would be denied upon laying some claim on the philosophical viability of its life systems, and how learning to live and succeed (in rel- ative terms) would be defined by formalized or informal clusters of the philosophy of education, which would comment upon, and potentially shape the qualities as well as the structures of all indige- nous systems of education. In factual terms, that should not be a difficult theme to understand, but in the history of extensively colonized Africa, the imposition of European philosophies and theo- ries of knowledge, complemented by the denial that the ancient continent had any philosophy, phi- losophy of education, or other coherent thought systems (Abdi, 2008; Achebe, 2000; Mudimbe, 1988), has perhaps done as much damage as any other project of the imperial...

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