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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Reading Africa through Foucault: V.Y. Mudimbe's re-affirmation of the subject
Author:Diawara, Manthia
Year:1990
Periodical:Quest: An International African Journal of Philosophy
Volume:4
Issue:1
Period:June
Pages:75-93
Language:English
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Subsaharan Africa
Congo (Democratic Republic of)
Africa
Subjects:philosophy
literature
Philosophy, Psychology
Foucault, Michel
Mudimbe, V.Y., 1941- 0000000121447934
About person:Valentin-Yves Mudimbe (1941-)ISNI
Abstract:For V.Y. Mudimbe, it is necessary for the theorist in Africa to appreciate what it takes to create an authentic statement, one which reflects African sociocultural practices and takes as its condition of possibility a local discursive space. Such a project must distinguish what is still Western in the discourse that denounces the West. The non-Western theorist, in search of the enabling elements inside the Western canon, must be aware of the reversibilities and the traps embedded in the same canon. Mudimbe's theoretical books, 'L'autre face du royaume' (1973) and 'L'odeur du père' (1982), and novels, 'Entre les eaux' (1973) and 'L'écart' (1979), engage as their subject the enabling as well as the reversible elements in Western discourse, thereby liberating space in Africa in which more empowered discourses can be uttered. In this essay, the author shows how Mudimbe follows Foucault's definition of the rules that subjugate discourse, and then applies a Foucauldian critique to Negritude in order to reveal the presence of the Western ratio in this first African literary movement. Next, he shows that Mudimbe's transformation of Foucault's thought is a necessary step towards creating African essentialisms that in turn become targets for criticism. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in French (p. 74).
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