Partisan Universalism: Essays in Honour of Ato Sekyi-Otu

Critically engaging Ato Sekyi-Otu’s notion of partisan universalism, this timely volume of essays speaks directly to the onto-metaphysical issues that will give Africana thought the new foundations that will enable it to move beyond the lin- guistic turn, brush aside the ashes of Afro-pessimism, engage Badiou’s new mathematical universalism, and to launch new projects of liberation on decolonized grounds of greater epistemic independence. A must read for all concerned with the future of Africana theory and praxis. — Paget Henry, author of Caliban’s Reason.

Responding to the invitation ‘to re-member severed but shareable things’, these lovers of truth, freedom, and dignity celebrate the searing intellect, generosity, wit, and compassion of the person and the scholar Ato Sekyi-Otu. … Combined with Sekyi-Otu’s autobiographical reflections of learning to be Black in the United States and insistence that Afropessimism turns the perverse ontology of the antiblack world into a Black ontology, this is a precious contribution. Not to be missed! —Jane Anna Gordon, author of Statelessness and Contemporary Enslavement and co-editor (with Drucilla Cornell) of Creolizing Rosa Luxemburg

Ato Sekyi-Otu’s thought is one of the most important and exciting in Africa today. The texts compiled in this volume celebrate and engage with the work of Sekyi-Otu … They bear eloquent witness to Sekyi-Otu’s stature as a thinker and 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. — Michael Neocosmos, Emeritus Professor in the Humanities, Rhodes University, South Africa

This anthology in honour of Ato Sekyi-Otu is indispensable for those concerned with Frantz Fanon’s ideas of ‘ false’ and ‘ true ‘ decolonisation and about social humanist critique of post-structuralism’ s truncated version of anti-colonialism. Sekyi-Otu accomplishes precisely such a critique in his Fanon’s Dialectic of Experience and in Left Universalism, Africacentric Essays. The essays here are exemplars of such a critique which, together with Fanon and Sekyi -Otu, build a legacy for envisioning a post-imperialist world. The authors of this volume rescue post-colonial studies from a stale and unfruitful post-structuralist reading of anti-colonialism by positing an apparent paradox of ‘left ‘ or ‘ partisan’ universalism which can then be dialectically resolved. Intellectually and politically active at once, this anthology shows how Sekyi-Otu and his co- authors can help the reader to move beyond a binary and solipsistic stance towards a project of a real emancipation, a ‘ true ‘ decolonisation. In this neither the living experience individual nor the collectivity implied in the notion of the human lose their specificity and universality. — Himani Bannerji, Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar, Department of Sociology, York University


This collection of essays celebrates the work of Ato Sekyi-Otu as a scholar, teacher and friend, marking his extraordinary contribution to the philosophy, politics and praxis of liberation. As Ato Sekyi-Otu has argued in his most recent book, Left Universalism, Africacentric Essays (Routlege 2019), universalism is an ‘inescapable presupposition of ethical judgment in general and critique in particular, especially indispensable for radical criticism of conditions of existence in postcolonial society and for vindicating visions of social regeneration’. Universalism must and can only be partisan. Edited by Gamal Abdel-Shehid and Sofia Noori, the collection includes essays by Stefan Kipfler, Patrick Taylor, Sophie Mcall, Gamal Abdel-Shehid, Jeremy M. Glick, Nigel C. Gibson, Jeff Noonan, Esteve Morera, Tyler Gasteiger, Olúfeṃ́i Táíẃò, Susan Dianne Brophy, Nergis Canefe, Chistoher Balcom, Lewis Gordon, and by Ato Sekyi-Otu himself.


CONTENTS

  • Introduction: Gamal Abdel-Shehid
  • Fanon for a post-imperial world: On universals and other human matters: Stefan Kipfer
  • The Sea Menagerie: Esi Edugyan’s Atlantic: Patrick Taylor
  • Reconsidering Fanon’s language of recognition in Indigenous studies: Sophie McCall
  • On Fanon and Lacan: Continuities and structural psychiatry: Gamal Abdel-Shehid
  • Aimé Césaire’s Two ways to lose yourself: The Exception and the rule: Jeremy M. Glick
  • This Africa to Come: Nigel C. Gibson
  • Speaking for, speaking through, speaking with: Abstract and concrete universality in the struggle for human emancipation: Jeff Noonan
  • Universality: Notes towards rethinking the history of philosophy: Esteve Morera
  • Husserl and Tran Duc Thao: Crisis, renewal, and the ontology of possibility: Tyler Gasteiger
  • Can Kwame Gyekye’s moderate communitarianism take the individual seriously? Olúfeṃ́i Taíẃò
  • ‘Innocuous Nihilism’, social reproduction and the terms of partisanship: Susan Dianne Brophy
  • Marxism, Law and the Global South: Asiatic Mode of Production Debates, The Legal Subject and the Promise of Left Universalism: Nergis Canefe
  • Universalism and immanent critique in ‘The End of Progress and Left Universalism’: Christopher Balcom
  • CON-TEXTS OF CRITIQUE: Ato Sekyi-Otu
  • Afterword: Lewis Gordon
  • About the contributors

 

ISBN Print: 978-1-990263-05-7
Publication Date: October 2021
Page Count: 279
Binding Type: Soft Cover
Trim Size: 6in x 9in
Language: English
Colour: B&W
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