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Contemporary African Philosophy


Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to:

  • BA students in Filosofie, who have successfully completed at least 70 ECTS credits of the mandatory components of the first and second year of their bachelor’s programme, including History of Modern Philosophy, History of Political Philosophy or Griekse en Romeinse filosofie, Ethiek, Politieke filosofie / Political Philosophy.

  • BA students in Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives, who have successfully completed at least 70 ECTS credits of the mandatory components of the first and second year of their bachelor’s programme, including World Philosophies: Greek and Roman Antiquity, World Philosophies: Modern Europe, Ethics, Political Philosophy.

  • Pre-master’s students in Philosophy who are in possession of an admission statement and who have to complete an advanced seminar, to be selected from package D.


This course examines African philosophy as a contemporary field of study. The course focuses on fundamental dimensions of African philosophy: history, method, logic, epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics, religion, and politics.

We will consider both what unifies African philosophy, and what the distinctions are within its set of practices. We will examine the status of contemporary African philosophy, paying close attention to key figures and scholars that have inspired and dominated contemporary debates.

The course will also address contemporary African philosophy as a living set of traditions and practice. We will explore how these philosophical traditions interact, showing historical connections as well as regional, political or religious influences.
These questions are examined in a classroom environment mediated by dialogue, debates, and class presentations.

Course objectives

Students who successfully complete the course are expected to demonstrate:

  • knowledge about key controversies in contemporary African philosophy;

  • in-depth knowledge of key conversations and contemporary debates;

  • understanding of different philosophical traditions emerging from Africa;

  • understanding of the role of philosophical discourses in the shaping of modern African politics, identity, migration, culture, governance, development and religion;

  • a good knowledge of African philosophy not only in terms of history or origins but its relationship to other philosophical traditions in Europe, the Middle East and North America;

  • complete well-informed presentations and critical research papers on key issues in African philosophy;

  • the ability to learn, improve, and develop critical writing and presentation skills in good academic English;

  • the ability to write and deliver conference papers through learned practice in class.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars.

Class attendance is required.

Assessment method


  • Midterm paper (25%);

  • Final paper (25%);

  • Presentation (25%);

  • Participation (25%).

Class attendance is compulsory for all students and a requirement for admission to the exams. Active participation is required. Non-participation counts as non-attendance for the seminar.


The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of the subtests (see above).


The resit offers an opportunity to rewrite one or two papers. A failed presentation can also be substituted with an essay writing. The grade for participation remains in place.

Attendance and active participation in class is required for admission to the resit. Students who have obtained a satisfactory overall grade for the first examination cannot take the resit.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Essential readings will be provided through Brightspace.


Enrolment through MyStudymap is not possible for this course. Students are requested to submit their preferences for the third-year electives by means of an online registration form. They will receive the instruction and online registration form by email (uMail account); in June for courses scheduled in semester 1, and in December for courses scheduled in semester 2. Registration in uSis will be taken care of by the Education Administration Office.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga.


Not applicable.