Homestead, Homeland, Home

This is a collection of observations and meditations by Ghanaian Professor Emeritus (York University, Toronto) and philosopher Ato Sekyi-Otu on events, issues, people and ideas culled from recent history and the world, from the US and Canada to Ghana. If there is a persistent thread in these entries, it is this: Virtually all of them testify to the ironic truth of the saying that there is no place like home, no place, that is to say, which looks like the lodestar called home or comes close to approximating its promise of being a just space of human flourishing. Most of the entries are, therefore, harsh, particularly those on the USA. That is because that nation, in his view, has, in recent history, made a major contribution to rendering the world and every homestead we inhabit unhomely and sabotaging attempts to better it. But no one or place is spared, certainly not the author’s native land, Ghana. Canada appears intermittently in these pages in rather fragmentary and contrastive observations. That paucity of comments may be taken to be the complement the author pays to Canada as a place of relative civility and glimmers of decency in a mad and cruel world. It is a short work of predominantly gloomy pictures. But there are a few countervailing images and invocations of hope here and there. There are 166 entries of unequal lengths arranged around 14 headings. These epigrams are contrapuntal variations on the philosopher’s searing imprecation and visionary invocation: unfinished ode, resounding with intermittent fury, to the dawn of human existence set free from all tyrannizing enclosures.

This is the work of an unusually awesome intellect and flawless scholarship. As Ato himself may agree, if our scholars and writers have to do their work using the English language, then we of the neo-colonies are doing that language a whole lot of good. If the book was about nothing else than Professor Sekyi-Otu’s merciless dissection of the wretched story of the life and career of Kwasi Kwarteng, an arch-conservative member of the British Conservative Party, that alone makes the book a compelling read.

— The late, Ama Ata Aidoo,
author, poet, playwright and academic, author of
Changes: A Love Story and Dilemma of a Ghost

More precious, untimely observations from the most important black political philosopher writing in English. Read, learn, savor, be provoked, read again, repeat.

Paul Gilroy,
author The Black Atlantic

The echoes of Fanon pervade this incisive analysis that spares no one, refuses any postulation of idyllic longings, and interrogates our responsibilities in every aspect of the histories that live within us. This work offers a powerful and incisive reflection on human freedom and responsibility in an affirmation of dignity that can only fully emerge upon recognition of the cruelty of the inhumanities that pervades our histories and their geographies.  It is an existential call to lay bare so that we might understand the biting complexity of indignity and reach through its morass to discover the depths of our humanity no matter how deeply that humanity is assaulted.  Homestead, Homeland, Home charts this journey with biting clarity and takes irony as a “vital organ of truth and justice” to the apogee of its power.

Jacqueline M Martinez, Professor of Communication, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts

Arizona State University,
Vice-President, Caribbean Philosophical Association

I lost count of the number of times I laughed out loud reading this book and the number of times I had to put it down in chest-tightening anguish. Ato Sekyi-Otu long ago demonstrated that he was a first-rate scholar. With these meditations, though, these ‘peeves’ as he hilariously describes them, he reveals himself a member of an even more remarkable group – those who dare attempt to rouse a world lost in shadow gazing. Homestead, Homeland, Home dissects global society and reveals a malignant inhumanity. It is a challenge and resource for those who can be shaken and a damning indictment on those who will not. It is bracing, severe, funny, heartbreaking, brilliant and very, very cool.’

Bryan Mukandi, Senior Research Fellow,
School of Languages and Cultures, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Queensland, Australia

This is a book of peeves well worth peeving about. It is testimony from a great elder of political thought whose heartfelt commitments to dignity, freedom, justice, and humane existence irritate his soul as a witness to the continued cruelty, degradation, and double standards unleashed against the Damned of the Earth; it is erudite outrage at so many ignored opportunities to make good on political responsibility to build a better world, a world otherwise. Every sentence, every paragraph, every page, every chapter is a Sankofic demand against historic amnesia and an encomium to re-member and, in doing so, courageously embrace our shared responsibility to build institutions for the urgent repair of nothing short of humanity’s homestead in which we are, in Sekyi-Otu’s words, “compelled to recognize that only we can save ourselves.”

Lewis R. Gordon, author of
Freedom, Justice, and Decolonization and
Fear of Black Consciousness

Homestead Homeland Home: Critical Reflections is political-philosophic tour de force by Ghana’s leading public intellectual Ato Sekyi-Otu. Each chapter brims with insight, irony (humorous and often indecent, like the George W. Bush highway in Accra), and analytical precision as he subjects the homesteads, Canada and the USA and the homeland, Ghana, to his partisan universalist critique. Ee weaves his reflections with the thoughts of philosophers, thinkers, and sages of the human condition and the poets, songwriters, and dreamers of human liberation.

Nigel Gibson, author of
Fanon: The Postcolonial Imagination

Raging against the solitary confinement of despair into compartmentalized finitudes and possessive particularisms, Ato Sekyi-Otu continues in these epigrammatic reflections to put his unmistakable mixture of resentment and fury at the service of a new principle of hope. In search of a place to call home, untethered to any exclusionary metaphysics of difference, he makes short shrift of the willful amnesia surrounding the criminal junction of capitalism, slavery, colonialism, and anti-black racism, with their interlocking systems of subjugation; refuses the preaching of collective guilt and abject misanthropy alike; and instills in the reader a concrete utopian belief in freedom from the dominion of race, egalitarian self-determination, and partisan universalism as common sense. These fragments of a vision of humanity unbound will leave no one untouched by their relentless tarrying with the world’s prose and intermittent poetry.

Bruno Bosteels, author of The Actuality of Communism

For those familiar with Sekyi-Otu’s work, Homestead, Homeland, Home is another instalment of what are gift offerings of his extraordinary mind and intellect. And for those not familiar, they better start reading these reflections right now, and don’t stop until you are fully done with them. Here is something to arouse the consciousness with beauty, poise, and quiet brilliance.

Ato Quayson, Jean G. and Morris M. Doyle Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, Stanford University

ISBN Print: 9781990263545
Publication Date: June 2023
Page Count: 271
Binding Type: Soft-cover
Trim Size: 6x9
Language: English


Ato Sekyi-Otu is a Ghanaian political philosopher. He was born at Saltpond, Ghana in 1941 and until 1971 was known as Daniel Sackey Walker. He went to Harvard and received an A.B. in Government in 1966. He pursued graduate studies…

    Ato Sekyi-Otu’s thought is one of the most important and exciting in Africa today. It is no exaggeration to affirm that he is one of the most innovative contemporary dialectical thinkers This book bears eloquent witness to Sekyi-Otu’s stature as a thinker and also to his consistent commitment to the universalization of humanity in both theory and practice. Deeply anchored in African cultures and modes of life, Sekyi-Otu has shown how ideas of human universality are ingrained in African popular sayings and proverbs and are regularly reflected in artistic creations. He writes:

    “I said I discovered my blackness at Harvard and the USA. That’s because at Mfantsipim School I was not a Black student but simply a student a-racial. Back in Ghana, at the University of Cape Coast, in a kind of return of the a-racial and re-acquaintance with the ordinary, I would not be a Black professor but a professor. Of course, there is no such thing as a ‘professor’ unmodified. There are, and there will always be, other prefixes, be they of defining or ancillary significance. But it would not be a Black professor. That’s because there I am not primarily a racialized subject, not Black. … In Ghana, at the University of Cape Coast, unless I applied some serious bleaching agents, the fact of my black skin will remain unchanged. But the specific gravity of the lived experience of blackness will be registered otherwise. True, from the lovely landscape of that university, the metaphysics, politics, economics and culture of white supremacy as a world system will not disappear. Neither will the struggle against the persistence of its forms and the necessity of weapons of criticism aimed at these forms end.”





    Obama At The Door Of No Return
    Tu Quoque Ogua’s Oblivion


    The Joseph Project The Year of Return
    The Beautiful City
    So Are You Going Back to Live There?


    The Lore of Race
    Of Crime and Punishment Sue Bird’s Reprieve
    My Brother’s Keeper
    Zimmerman Syndrome
    Jivani’s Answer and Sartre’s Wager
    Variations on Racist Inference
    On the Very Talk of Black on Black Crime
    Of Crime Without MetaphysicsIV


    The Other Dream Deferred
    The Pedagogic Bond as Racial Covenant
    The Text. Reading as Racial Allegory
    Dissertation as Race War
    Chimera of Pure Forms?
    Or Utopian Realism
    Contrapuntal Vibrations


    Serenading Serena
    Black Love?
    And Black Food?



    Forbidden Appropriation
    A Luta Continua
    Reductio. Who Owns the Kente
    Other Felonies
    Ethical Appropriation. Hard Cases
    What (Critique of) Identity Politics Is Not
    Ethics as Identity Politics?
    Black Skin, Differing Worlds? The Gravity of Small Differences



    Hyperbole Nation
    Bipartisanship USA
    The Big Beam in Your Eye “The American People”
    The Liberty of Savages?
    Masks of Freedom
    Infantile Individualism, Juvenile Patriotism
    Restrictions: Motive and Consequence
    American Justice, Canadian Prism
    Henry Kissinger and the Insufferable Exaltation of the Wicked
    Milton’s Satan or Nietzsche’s Kant
    New Orleans, Old USA
    From Katrina to the Pandemic
    Malcolm’ Truth
    The American Evasion of Inference
    “That’s Not Who We Are”: Metaphysics Of/And the Nation
    How Not To Insult The Other Americas
    Travesties of Proust
    How American Exceptionalism Is Made
    Alternative Definitions of American Exceptionalism
    The Sorry Figure of the American Liberal
    Interpretation of Migrants’ Dreams
    American Theodicy
    Lament for the Nation
    Wrong Diagnosis
    Mistaken Etiology
    USA Before and After Trump
    Bolivia’s Revenge The World Après Trump
    Right Names Matter
    Afghanistan: Auspicious Domino?
    What A Wonderful World



    Bessie’s Question, Ernst’ Dream
    “Take But Degree Away”: Homeland Variations
    Of Abdul and Master
    Language, Life and Death
    Criminal Prudery
    Abdication of the Guardians
    “No Saviours”
    Mind of the Right
    The NPP’s Creed and Its Vanguard
    Brothers Under the Skin
    Property-Owning Democracy
    The Metaprocedural Republic
    Pray to God or Pray the Court
    Sins of the National Cathedral
    Raison d’état According to the Party of Reason
    Naana: A Political and Personal Celebration
    Postscript: The Pitfalls of Praising the Living
    Trickledown Predation
    Enlightenment’s Avatars
    “Prehistory in a Tailcoat”
    Two Concepts of Hope
    “Perpetual Solicitude” and Absolute Faith
    The Sacral and the Carceral
    Concerning Faith: A Soliloquy
    Our Holy Factors
    First Principle
    Fraudulent Faith and Fatal Folly
    Black Lives Matter. What of Ghanaian Human Lives?
    Little Kindnesses, “Antagonistic Totality”
    Mea Culpa
    The Rage and the Grief
    Exile’s Reputed Rewards
    Homeland’s Burdened Blessings
    The Trouble With “Diaspora”
    Antiphonies of Homecoming



    The Souls of Rightwing Black Folks
    Rightwing Blacks’ Notion of Power
    John Ridley’s Black Pantheon
    Exceptional Blacks and the American Ideology
    Lament of an Exceptional Black
    Rghtwing Jews: An Autobiography of Sorrow
    Ayaan Hirshi Ali
    V.S. Naipaul; A Belated Notice
    Fareed Zakaria
    Dinesh D’Souza
    Colours of Anti-Black Racism
    Anti-Black Racism’s Kaleidoscope



    Logic of a World
    A Meteor’s Constellation
    The Fall



    After 9/11: Sophistic Analytics, Treacherous Taxonomies
    Eccentric Affinities, Amorphous Antipathies
    On First Seeing George Walker Bush Highway in Accra: A Report on Nausea
    #Must Fall: Ethics With Borders (Of Time)
    Postscript: Family Resemblances in Metaethics
    Collective Guilt, Selective Application
    Of the Passions of the Devout
    Treason of the Putative Left
    Other Ethnocultural Cleansers
    Solidarity, regardless Verboten: Rerum Cognoscere Causas Cause, Case, Connectedness
    Other Rightwing Acts of Grand Larceny Definition of the New Right
    Conservatives and History
    “Bringing Democracy to Indian Reserves”
    Internecine Violence of the Vanquished Some Iconic Names and Sayings of Our Time in Translation
    Reform Redefined, Freedom Reframed Towards Truth in Political Economy
    Rival Versions of Ethics and Economics
    Some Linguistic Gems of Our Time (Nor Intended to be Witticisms)
    China Risen. Next?
    China Under Surveillance
    Two Concepts of Power
    What of Putin’s Russia
    Testing the Categorical Imperative
    The Lure of Misanthropy
    Beautiful Bonds
    Traitorous Ties
    Treacherous Oaths
    The Grateful Dead



    Two Unpublished Letters to the Editor
    Postscript: Still Framing Fanon
    Perverse Consistency: The Case of Hannah Arendt Transcultural Curiosities
    The Poverty of Monoculturalism
    Wrongful Conviction
    “Singing Truth”


    While I Am Still Old Enough To Dream

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