“Hermeneutics and African Philosophy”

Professor Bekele Gutema, Fulbright Fellow, Howard University and Associate Professor, Addis Ababa University will present the opening lecture of the Winter 2014 speaker series.

Thursday, January 09, 2014
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
10367 Bunche Hall
10th floor
Los Angeles, CA 90095

The hermeneutics of African philosophy as an important branch in African philosophy was inspired by the 20th century philosophers Martin Heidegger and Hans-Georg Gadamer.  Inspired by the thoughts of those philosophers some African philosophers attempted to explore and underline the importance of hermeneutic African philosophy.  Its focus on the lived experience of postcolonial Africa, the argument goes, in contrast to ethnophilosophy and professional philosophy enables it to better interpret and understand Africa and hence a proper philosophy to overcome the ‘enigmatic present’. This paper explores the essence and evolution of hermeneutics.  Its role in African philosophy is discussed along with its opposition to ethnophilosophy and professional philosophy.  The paper concludes by suggesting that vehement criticisms of the different trends of African philosophy are extraverted discussions.  It is necessary to leave behind such extraverted discussions and use all sources of philosophy, past and present, in order to understand Africa.
Bekele Gutema is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Addis Ababa University in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; he is currently a Fulbright Fellow at Howard University.  Some of Gutema’s publications include “Some Thoughts on the African University” in Philosophy in Africa Now: African Philosophy in Ethiopia (2013) and “Extraversion and the Goal of Education in the African Context” in the African Study Monographs Vol. 28, No. 3, Kyoto (2007).  
Professor Gutema’s presentation is partially funded by The Outreach Lecturing Fund (OLF), which allows Fulbright Visiting Scholars who are currently in the US to travel to other higher education institutions across the country.  Each year some 800 faculty and professionals from around the world receive Fulbright Scholar grants for advanced research and university lecturing.  The purpose of the OLF is to allow these scholars to share their specific research interests, speak on the history and culture of their home country, exchange ideas with US students, faculty and community organizations, become better acquainted with US higher education, and create linkages between their home and host institutions and CIES.

Cost: Free and open to the public; pay-by-space and all-day parking ($12) available in lot 3.

For more information please contact

UCLA James S. Coleman African Studies Center Tel: 310-825-3686

Sponsor(s): African Studies Center