III Congreso Internacional Historia a Debate Santiago de Compostela

III Congreso Internacional Historia a Debate
Santiago de Compostela, 14-18 de julio de 2004

Entre historiografas


"From African Historiography to an African Philosophy of History: The Study of the past in Africa Since Independence"

Professor Atieno E. S. Odhiambo
Dept of History, Rice University, MS#42, Houston , TX 77251-1892, USA


Current engagements with the Philosophy of History have delineated its basic concerns as being , first, the nature of historiographical knowledge and second, the metaphysical assumptions of historiography. The seemingly diffuse and weak status of the sub-discipline belies the inter-disciplinary distribution of articles and books across the disciplines of history, philosophy, law, political science, anthropology and sociology.This diffusion is particularly marked in African Studies, and may beguile the scholar into the false assumption of the absence of an African Philosophy of History. A careful reading of the Africanist founders of African Historiography serves to disabuse us of this erroneous posture, for the se founders have been concerned variously with: ancient Egypt as the plenum of all history and the foundation of all Black and Diaspora civilizations; with ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics as examples of the world's earliest examples of phonetic writing; with the pharaoh Akhenaton as 'the first individual in human history'; with methodology and the assumptions behind African historiography;with an antecedent historical consciousness among all Africans; with an African world order and an African Vision of Reality that informs the political, historical, philosophical, value-ethical, and epistemological fields of relevant concern; with the attainment of wisdom that comes with age;and with the relationship of African historiography to African realities. The challenge for the contemporary African historian lies in the need to re-capture this historical phase from our colonial past, and in the need to reintroduce an African Philosophy of History that emphasizes African autonomy, thereby liberating mankind from that false compartmentalization of the disciplines that emphasizes the ditchotomy between Philosophy and History. This paper surveys the crafting of African historiographies since independence with the aim of attaining this synthesis.

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