UKZN Academic Contributes to Philosophy Textbook General

Contributors to the Philosophy Manual, a South-South Perspective (from top) Professor Rozena Maart, and UKZN students, Ms Zaria Govender and Ms Delarise Mulqueeny.Contributors to the Philosophy Manual, a South-South Perspective (from top) Professor Rozena Maart, and UKZN students, Ms Zaria Govender and Ms Delarise Mulqueeny.

UKZN’s Professor Rozena Maart, Former Director of the Centre for Critical Research on Race and Identity (ccrri), housed within the College of Humanities, has contributed to a trail-blazing textbook titled Philosophy Manual, a South-South Perspective.

The manual is an innovative and high-quality tool for young people in secondary and higher education, and in non-formal education.

The textbook not only facilitates the discovery of philosophical texts from Africa, the Arab region, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean, but also promotes their full understanding through a critical apparatus which enables easily adapted educational use.

As well as being informative, the textbook provides a comparative reading of texts from the South-South region with a view to broad and diverse reflection on key questions which span world philosophy. 

The South-South Philosophical dialogues was a three-year UNESCO initiated project that ran from 2013 until 2015, producing this first ever South-South Philosophy textbook. The project took place mainly in France and Morocco, with scholars from the four major South-South regions: Africa, South and Central America, Asia and the Arab region.

Maart served on the Scientific Committee and worked with Professor Nkolo Foé of the Cameroon, Professor Bachir Diagne Souleymane of Senegal, Professor Enrique Dussel of Mexico, Professor Magali Mendes de Menezes of Brazil, and Professor Raul Fornét-Betancourt of Cuba, among others.

Speaking about the significance of doing a textbook of this kind, and working with scholars of the political South, Maart said: ‘The project organisers were adamant that it not be seen as a political project.  However, to work towards producing a text like this one is not only suggestive of a political project but speaks directly to the question of philosophy as a discipline, what is being taught and under what conditions, and how the geography of reason within Philosophy needs to shift to the political South.

‘It is here where we produce knowledge, and where that production informs how we live in the world. Working with this team was quite an experience,’ said Maart.

Two students Ms Zaria Govender and Ms Delarise Mulqueeny worked with Maart. ‘My heart-felt thanks to Zaria and Delarise for assisting with this project. Their dedication will always be cherished,’ said Maart.

A copy of the text is available at the EG Malherbe library and the Philosophy department on the Howard College campus.

Melissa Mungroo