Karim F Hirji is a retired Professor of Medical Statistics and a Fellow of the Tanzania Academy of Sciences. A recognized authority on statistical analysis of small sample discrete data, the author of the only book on the subject, he received the Snedecor Prize for Best Publication in Biometry from the American Statistical Association and International Biometrics Society for the year 1989. He has published many papers in the areas of statistical methodology, applied biomedical research, the history and practice of education in Tanzania, and written numerous essays on varied topics for the mass media and popular magazines. He is the author of Exact Analysis of Discrete Data (Chapman and Hall/CRC Press, Boca Raton, 2005), Statistics in the Media: Learning from Practice (Media Council of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam, 2012) and Growing Up With Tanzania: Memories, Musings and Maths (Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, Dar es Salaam, 2014). He also edited and is the main author of Cheche: Reminiscences of a Radical Magazine (Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, Dar es Salaam, 2011). His most recent books are The Enduring Relevance of Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (Daraja Press, Montreal, 2017), The Banana Girls (Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, Dar es Salaam, 2017) and The Travails of a Tanzanian Teacher (Daraja Press, Montreal, 2018). He resides in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and may be contacted at [email protected].
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Religion, Eugenics, Science and Mathematics: An Eternal KnotUSD $ 6.99 – USD $ 37.00
Religion, Eugenics, Science and Mathematics: An Eternal Knot
Religion, Eugenics, Science and Mathematics by Karim F Hirji examines the dynamic relationship between religion, on the one hand, and science and mathematics, on the other, on historic and conceptual grounds. It focuses on Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam together with various shades of secularism, including Marxism. Where relevant, other faiths are integrated into the analysis. The questions it addresses include:
- Are religion and science mutually exclusive, opposing entities?
- Do divine beings and divine realms exist? Are science and religion valid but different forms of truth?
- What are the societal roles of science and religion?
- Can science provide a tenable, exalted code of ethics? What are the futures of religion and science?
- Can religion and science cooperate in resolving the daunting, existential problems facing humanity today?
All issues are explored in an interdisciplinary, historical manner. Examination of the religious dimension of the doctrine of eugenics, which culminated in the Nazi era extermination pogroms, forms a major case study in the book.
Among other things, the book peruses scriptures, explores practice, enjoins analysis with anecdotes, and contraststhe beliefs of scientists and religious luminaries. Though directed at the general reader, its novel approach, broad consideration of social and economic factors, and the nature of the evidence it has marshalled, makes it of interest totheologians and scientists as well.
The present book builds on the foundation laid in Religion, Politics and Society, also by Karim Hirji. By relating religion to mathematics, genetics, neurology, climate change and other issues, the book reveals that the relationship between religion and science is like a complex, entangled knot, not reducible to a simplistic summary.
Religion, Eugenics, Science and Mathematics provides a thought-provoking examination of the historic and ongoing linkage between religion and science. It challenges the dichotomy that science and religion are mutually exclusive and presents a paradigm shift on how they can interact and contribute to society’s well-being.
The ultimate message of the book is that science and religion can exist harmoniously on the moral plane and that the primary obstacle facing human progress today is neither religion nor science but the dominant neoliberal system that generates vast inequality, deep social divisions, including religious divisions, and a callous disregard for the global biosphere. It is a valuable read for both general readers and scholars who seek to understand the social and philosophical impact of science and religion.
The Enduring Relevance of Walter Rodney’s ‘How Europe Underdeveloped Africa’
Soon after its publication in 1972, Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa gained global popularity among students, scholars, activists and people concerned with African affairs. His innovative application of the method of political economy transformed the paradigm for rendition of the continent’s past. Because it stridently took the traditional historians and the prevailing neo-colonial order to task, it was also pilloried by the defenders of the status quo. And, in these neoliberal times, mainstream scholars and pundits proclaim that it is no longer relevant for Africa.
In Walter Rodney: An Enduring Legacy, Karim Hirji makes a systematic case that, on the contrary, Rodney’s seminal work retains its singular value for understanding where Africa has come from, where it is going, and charting the path towards genuine development for its people. After giving a broad picture of Rodney and his times, Hirji examines in detail the criticisms levelled against his work, and conducts a focused review of modern day textbooks on African history. It is seen that most of the claims against Rodney lack a sound basis and that direct representations of his ideas are replete with distortions, unfair selectivity and political bias. Yet, the long term influence of Rodney on African history is unmistakable.
Hirji’s succinct, coherent defence of an intellectual giant who lived and died for humanity is an essential read for anyone with an interest in Africa and related regions.
You can read this book online for free.
Soon after its publication in 1972, Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (HEUA) gained global popularity among progressive students, scholars and activists, and people concerned with African affairs. His innovative application of the method of political economy was a prime contributor to shifting the paradigm for rendition of the continent’s past as well as for visualizing its possible trajectory. Because it stridently took the traditional historians of Africa and the prevailing neo-colonial order to task, it was also vociferously criticized by the defenders of the status quo.
In these neoliberal times, its visibility has waned. Mainstream scholars and pundits from and outside of Africa proclaim that it is no longer a relevant work for Africa. In Walter Rodney: An Enduring Legacy, Karim Hirji makes a systematic case that, on the contrary, Rodney’s seminal work retains its singular value for understanding where Africa has come from, where it is going, and charting a path towards genuine development for the people of Africa.
Hirji considers Rodney in his unitary persona as a historian, theoretician and activist. He begins by outlining the publication history and contents of HEUA, and noting the comments it has drawn from varied quarters. This is followed by a depiction of the global context within which it saw the light of the day and the flowering of progressive thought and vision in those vibrant times. The retrogressive reversal, in thought and social reality, that has transpired since then is summed up next. An assessment of how HEUA has weathered this storm is also provided.
The next chapter presents a brief portrait of Rodney as a revolutionary, with the focus on his seven years at the University of Dar es Salaam. This is followed by an overview of the methodological framework utilized in HEUA.
These five chapters lay the foundation for the main substantive part of Hirji’s book. This part begins with a detailed evaluation of the criticisms that have been levelled at HEUA. Subsequently, by a review of eight textbooks of general African history in common use today is provided. The aim here is to assess the persistence, if any, of ideas of the type promoted by Rodney in such books and identify the manner in which HEUA is directly depicted therein. Do these books give an adequate and fair depiction of Rodney to modern day students?
The penultimate chapter argues for the continued relevance of Rodney and his seminal text for Africa (and the world) in this anti-people, pro-capital, pro-imperial neoliberal era. Hirji concludes with a lively account of his own interactions over six years with Walter Rodney. With the focus on the issue of building socialism in Tanzania, a key dimension in the evolution of Rodney’s thinking is described in a critical spirit. The fundamental question addressed is, in our often dark, demoralizing political environment, what do Rodney and his life have to teach us on the matter of navigating between hope and struggle?
The conclusion emerging from this book is that in the first place most of the criticisms of the content, style and practical value of HEUA lack merit. The representation of Rodney in mainstream books is as well replete with distortions, unfair selectivity and political bias.
Despite these misrepresentations, Rodney and his ideas retain their signal value for understanding African history, for engaging with its present day conditions, and for projecting distinctive future scenarios for the continent. Hirji’s succinct work is a consistent, coherent defence of an intellectual giant, an astute historian and a compassionate revolutionary who lived and died for humanity. It is an essential read for anyone with an interest in African history, and the fate of Africa and the regions that are historically related to it.
Walter Rodney: An Enduring Legacy
Karim F Hirji
1. The Book
2. The Global Context
3. A Grand Reversal
4. Rodney, the Revolutionary
5. Rodney and Historiography
6. Criticisms of the Book
7. Rodney in the Classroom
8. Contemporary Relevance
9. Hope and Struggle
Major Writings of Walter Rodney