Beyond the Political Spider
252 pages

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Beyond the Political Spider: Critical Issues in African Humanities by Kwesi Yankah is the first title in the newly established African Humanities Association (AHA) publication series. By integrating his own biography into a critique of the global politics of knowledge production, Yankah, through a collection of essays, interrogates critical issues confronting the Humanities that spawn intellectual hegemonies and muffle African voices. Using the example of Ghana, he brings under scrutiny, amongst others, endemic issues of academic freedom, gender inequities, the unequal global academic order, and linguistic imperialism in language policies in governance. In the face of these challenges, the author deftly navigates the complex terrain of indigenous knowledge and language in the context of democratic politics, demonstrating that agency can be liberatory when emphasising indigenous knowledge, especially expressed through the idiom of local languages and symbols, including Ananse, the protean spider, folk hero in Ghana and most parts of the pan-African world.



Publié par
Date de parution 28 octobre 2021
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781920033828
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 2 Mo

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Beyond the Political Spider
Critical Issues in African Humanities
Kwesi Yankah
About the Series
The African Humanities Series covers topics in African histories, languages, literatures, philosophies, politics and cultures and is intended to speak to scholars in Africa as well as in other world areas. Its core goal is to foreground the best research on the continent. The rigorous review process of submitted manuscripts, editorial vetting and, where warranted, involvement of a manuscript mentor to work with the author on their writing, assures that the best quality material is published.
The establishment of the African Humanities Association in Abuja in 2020 has allowed the Series to expand in scope and authorship beyond the original five participating countries of the African Humanities Program (Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda), to include the entire continent. In addition, the African Humanities Series has broadened its coverage of topics and authorship to capture the work of scholars engaged in African Humanities research globally. The expanded scope encompasses two categories, each under its own imprint:
Reflections: A forum for African scholars as well as those in the diaspora to publish work on the state of the humanities on the continent. It will encourage especially senior scholars to reflect on their own experiences of past and current Humanities scholarship.
Cutting Edge: An outlet for innovative Humanities work which unsettles the boundaries of knowledge in ways which make us think anew about the abiding social problems across the continent.
The African Humanities Series is produced in collaboration with NISC (Pty) Ltd, established publishers of academic work on the continent, and is widely accessible in print and online formats from local and international sales outlets and aggregators of book content.
Series editors: Adigun Agbaje & Fred Hendricks
African Humanities Series Editorial Board members as at September 2021
African Humanities Series editors:
Professor Adigun Agbaje, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
Professor Emeritus Fred Hendricks, Rhodes University, South Africa
Professor Emeritus Sandra Barnes, University of Pennsylvania, USA (Anthropology)
Board Members:
1 Professor Kofi Anyidoho, University of Ghana, Ghana (African Studies & Literature) (Director, Codesria African Humanities Institute Program)
2 Professor Ibrahim Bello-Kano, Bayero University, Nigeria (Dept of English and French Studies)
3 Professor Sr Dominica Dipio, Makerere University, Uganda (Dept of Literature)
4 Associate Professor Nicky Falkof, Universoty of Witwatersrand, South Africa (Dept of Media Studies)
5 Professor Sati Fwatshak, University of Jos, Nigeria (Dept of History & International Studies)
6 Associate Professor Wilfred Lajul, College of Humanities & Social Sciences, Makerere University, Uganda (Dept of Philosophy)
7 Professor Bertram Mapunda, Jordan University College, Tanzania (Archaelogy, University Principal)
8 Associate Professor Bernard Matolino, University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa (Dept of Philosophy)
9 Dr Benge Okot, Makerere University, Uganda (Dept of History, Archaeology and Organisational Studies)
10 Professor Innocent Pikirayi, University of Pretoria, South Africa (Chair & Head, Dept of Anthropology & Archaeology)
11 Professor Josephat Rugemalira, University of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania (Dept of Foreign Languages & Linguistics)
12 Professor Idayat Bola Udegbe, University of Ibadan, Nigeria (Dept of Psychology)
Published in South Africa on behalf of the African Humanities Association
by NISC (Pty) Ltd, PO Box 377, Makhanda, 6140, South Africa
First edition, first impression 2021
second impression November 2021
Publication © African Humanities Association 2021
Text © Kwesi Yankah 2021
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher.
ISBN: 978-1-920033-80-4 (print)
ISBN: 978-1-920033-81-1 (PDF)
ISBN: 978-1-920033-82-8 (ePub)
Project manager: Peter Lague
Indexer: Tanya Barben
Cover design: Advanced Design Group
Cover photographs: ©Linda Hughes Photography/Shutterstock
ePub conversion: Wouter Reinders
Data in Chapter 2: University of Ghana, Office of Research, Innovation and Development, and Public Affairs Directorate; photographs pages 51–60: Jubilee House, Accra; photographs Chapter 5: University of Ghana, Public Affairs Directorate; Chapters 7, 8 and 9: republished courtesy of Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences; photographs Chapter 8: Information Services Dept, Accra; photographs Chapter 16: Eric Obeng-Amoako Edmonds
The author and the publisher have made every effort to obtain permission for and acknowledge the use of copyright material. Should an inadvertent infringement of copyright have occurred, please contact the publisher and we will rectify omissions or errors in any subsequent reprint or edition.
To the next generation of scholars in African Humanities
Published in the African Humanities Series
Dominica Dipio, Gender terrains in African cinema , 2014
Ayo Adeduntan, What the forest told me: Yoruba hunter, culture and narrative performance, 2014
Sule E. Egya, Nation, power and dissidence in third-generation Nigerian poetry in English , 2014
Irikidzayi Manase, White narratives: The depiction of post-2000 land invasions in Zimbabwe , 2016
Pascah Mungwini, Indigenous Shona Philosophy: Reconstructive insights , 2017
Sylvia Bruinders, Parading Respectability: The Cultural and Moral Aesthetics of the Christmas Bands Movement in the Western Cape, South Africa , 2017
Michael Andindilile, The Anglophone literary-linguistic continuum: English and indigenous languages in African literary discourse , 2018
Jeremiah Arowosegbe, Claude E Ake: The making of an organic intellectual , 2018
Romanus Aboh, Language and the construction of multiple identities in the Nigerian novel , 2018
Bernard Matolino, Consensus as Democracy in Africa , 2018
Babajide Ololajulo, Unshared Identity: Posthumous paternity in a contemporary Yoruba community , 2018
De-Valera NYM Botchway, Boxing is no cakewalk! Azumah ‘Ring Professor’ Nelson in the social history of Ghanaian boxing, 2019
Dina Ligaga, Women, visibility and morality in Kenyan popular media, 2020
Okaka Opio Dokotum, Hollywood and Africa: Recycling the ‘Dark Continent’ Myth, 1908–2020 , 2020
Molefe Motsamai, African Personhood and Applied Ethics, 2020
In this timely book, Kwesi Yankah invites his readers to reflect on a cocktail of critical issues of concern in the humanities in Africa. Presenting like an unintended intellectual biography, this book covers a range of issues and presents personalities with whom the author has had personal engagements as a student, researcher/scholar, a university administrator, a policymaker and a politician. The wealth of knowledge he shares in this book, more than anything else, presents him as an astute scholar of many parts. Kwesi Yankah, in easy lingo, laced with reasonable doses of humor, makes scholarly sense of features of his indigenous Akan language and culture. More than that, he adroitly connects these local observations with national, regional, continental and global standards and happenings, relating, comparing and contrasting indigenous knowledge systems with western received norms and practices.
As a formidable African linguist, Kwesi Yankah elucidates the power of words as used by the most powerful persons in society, such as Presidents, to consolidate their grip on power, and the least powerful in society to vent their disdain and frustration of suffocating leadership. The use of words both to consolidate power and challenge the powerful in modern politics is paralleled with such use of language in African traditional governance systems. Whether you are in a position of authority or not, the power of the spoken word is available to you as a vehicle to advance your cause. Kwesi Yankah invites us to appreciate the role of the spoken word in governance and politics, carefully outlining how Ghana’s charismatic first President, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah made use of the power of the spoken word to enhance his public persona as a leader. Readers are made to appreciate the inexpediency of not speaking a local language in elective politics and the admiration that the general populace has for multilingual Ghanaian politicians such as J. J. Rawlings, Kwesi Botchway and J. H. Mensah. And their levels of fluency does not even matter – they just have to try! No doubt multilingualism is a resource for political capital. Representative of Africa’s strong oral tradition, Kwesi Yankah draws attention to the overlooked intellectual value of oral tradition and the value of indigenous intellectuals such as Agya Koo Nimo and Nana Kwame Ampadu – outstanding Ghanaian musicians of the twentieth century, from whose music exudes sound African philosophy.
The multi-dimensional aspect of communication in the African context is demonstrated through textile talk – skillfully exemplified by African fabrics ( kente and wax print) adorned by the Ghanaian President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in his public appearances. More significantly, the reader is treated to the complementary use of textile talk as a unique African way of communicating in the time of a global health pandemic, thus, p

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