Foundations of Afrikan=Black Thought

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Course Description and Objectives: The Afrikan=Black Thinkers Program aims to introduce students to the core principles, modes, patterns, and history of thought and knowledge production in Kemet and the Kmtwy World, from Antiquity to the present. In designing the program, we are cognizant of the fact that training as students of the Afrikan=Black Studies would be incomplete without a proper understanding of the Afrikan=Black worldview in its various manifestations throughout the Afrikan World and the principles which undergird these various manifestations. As such, students will acquire familiarity with rich and profound interdisciplinary literature throughout space and time and also acquire pertinent evaluative criteria and organizing principles to assist in engaging the literature.Thus, in the core course entitled Foundations of Afrikan=Black Thought, students will:

  • Acquire an understanding of the worldview undergirding Afrikan=Black Thought and Philosophy and how it fundamentally differs from the worldview, thought and philosophy of others (non-Afrikans)
  • Develop an understanding of fundamental tenets found at the core of the Afrikan=Black Worldview and how this worldview has been manifested in African Thought throughout space and time
  • Explore the relationship between common fundamentals of worldview on the various and diverse expressions and manifestations of African culture along several dimensions
  • Become familiar with innovative approaches to the study of Afrikan=Black Thought

Format: This course will combine lectures, discussions, and class presentations as the form of teaching. We will be having one or two guest lecturers during the semester to give lectures on specific topics related to their area of specialization. There will also be at least one field trip to enable you practically experience what we have learnt in class

Main Text(s): Kamalu, C. (1998). Person, Divinity and Nature. London, Karnak House.

Carruthers, J. H. (1999). Intellectual Warfare. Chicago: Third World Press.

Ephirim-Donkor, A. (2011). African Spirituality: On Becoming Ancestors, University Press of America, Incorporated.

Fu-Kiau, K. K. B. (1991). Self- Healing Power and Therapy, Black Classic Press.

Fu-Kiau, K. K. B. (1994). Ntangu-Tandu-Kolo: The Bantu-Kongo Concept of Time. In J. K. Adjaye (Ed.), Time in the Black Experience (pp. 17-34): Greenwood Press.

Griaule, M. (1970). Conversations with Ogotemmeli: An introduction to Dogon religious ideas. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Obenga, T. (2004). African philosophy: The Pharaonic period, 2780-330 B.C. Popenguine, Senegal: Per Ankh.

Supplementary Texts (Subject to augmentation upon increased availability of texts):

Aboagye, F. B. (2010). Indigenous African Warfare: Its Concept and Art in the Gold Coast, Asante, and the Northern Territories up to the Early 1900s. Pretoria, SA: Ulinzi Africa Publishing (UAP) Solutions.

Adewale-Somadhi, F. A. (1993). Fundamentals of the Yorùbá Religion (Òrìṣà Worship). San Bernardino, CA: Ilé Ọ̀rúnmìlà Communications., pp. 69-139.

Akintola, A. (1999). Yoruba ethics and metaphysics: being basic philosophy underlying the Ifa system of thought of the Yoruba, Valour Publishing Ventures.

Akoto, K. A., & Akoto, A. N. (2000). The Sankɔfa Movement: ReAfrikanization and the Reality of War. Washington, DC: Oyoko InfoCom Inc.

Ani, M. (1994). Yurugu: An African Centred Critique of European Cultural Thought and Behavior. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Books.

Appiah, P., et al. (2001). Bu Me Bɛ: Akan Proverbs, Centre for Intellectual Renewal.

Asante, M. K., & Mazama, A. (2009). Encyclopedia of African Religion. New York: SAGE Publications.

Breitman, G. (1994). Malcolm X speaks: selected speeches and statements, Grove Press.

Cabral, A. (1974). Return to the source: selected speeches, Monthly Review Press.

Carruthers, J. H. (1995). Mdw Nt̲r. London: Karnak House.

Desch-Obi, T. J. (2008). Fighting for Honor: The History of African Martial Art Traditions in the Atlantic World: University of South Carolina Press., pp. 1-51.

Diop, C. A. (1989). The Cultural Unity of Black Africa: the domains of patriarchy and of matriarchy in classical antiquity. London: Karnak House.

Eze, E. C. (1998). African Philosophy: An Anthology. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Fu-Kiau, K. K. B. (2001). African cosmology of the Bântu-Kôngo: tying the spiritual knot: principles of life & living, Athelia Henrietta Press, publishing in the name of Orunmila.

Fu-Kiau, K. K. B. (2007). The Mbongi: An African Traditional Political Institution: a Eureka to the African Crisis, African Djeli Publishers.

Garvey, M. and A. J. Garvey (1923). The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey, Or, Africa for the Africans, Majority Press.

Gyekye, K. (1987). An essay on African philosophical thought – the Akan conceptual scheme. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hilliard, A. G., Williams, L., & Damali, N. (1995). The Teachings of Ptahhotep: The Oldest Book in the World. Grand Forks, ND: Blackwood Press.

Hilliard, A. G. (1998). SBA: the reawakening of the African mind, Makare Pub.

Jeffers, C. (2013). Listening to Ourselves: A Multilingual Anthology of African Philosophy. Albany, NY: SUNY Press., pp. 159-175.

Kamalu, C. (1990). Foundations of African Thought: A Worldview Grounded in the African Heritage of Religion, Philosophy, Science and Art. London: Karnak House.

Martin, D. (2008). Maat and Order in African Cosmology: A Conceptual Tool for Understanding Indigenous Knowledge. Journal of Black Studies, 38(6), 951-967. doi:10.2307/40035033

Montgomery, B. (Cartographer). (2013a). Africa South Up World Map.

Montgomery, B. (Cartographer). (2013b). Kemet South Up Map.

Nehusi, K. S. (2015). Libation: An Afrikan Ritual of Heritage in the Circle of Life. Lanham: UPA.

Nkrumah, K. (1967). Axioms of Kwame Nkrumah. London: Panaf Books.

Obenga, T. (2008). Egypt: Ancient History of African Philosophy. In K. Wiredu (Ed.), A Companion to African Philosophy. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley., pp. 31-49.

Owomoyela, O. (2005). Yoruba Proverbs, University of Nebraska Press.

Umeh, J. A. (1997). After God is Dibia: Igbo cosmology, healing, divination & sacred science in Nigeria. London: Karnak House.

Wendorf, F., & Schild, R. (1995). Nabta Playa during the Early and Middle Holocene. ANKH Revue d’Egyptologie et des Civilisations Africaines, 4., pp. 33-45.

Wilson, A. N. (Producer). (1993, 2 April 2016). Blueprint for Black power: A moral, political, and economic imperative for the twenty-first century. [Lecture] Retrieved from

Wiredu, K. (1985). The Akan Worldview, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Wiredu, K. and K. Gyekye (1992). Person and Community: Ghanaian Philosophical Studies I, Council for Research in Values and Philosophy.

Wiredu, K. (2008). A Companion to African Philosophy. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Course Requirements and Grading
Attendance and class participation: Attendance, preparation and class participation are required.
Students should be prepared to discuss topics in the readings and to answer and ask questions. They
should also expect to relate what they learn in class to everyday life experiences, i.e. to discuss how
the readings are related to their community experiences and personal experiences. This will constitute
10% of your grade.
Community Experience: In order to provide an experiential based learning, students will be required
to engage in some discussions with elders in their community as a means of getting examples of the
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thinking and philosophical understanding which undergirds practices in your community. You could
keep a journal of your community, experience where you write down your thoughts, experiences, time
spent with community, etc.
Written Assignments
Issue/Thought Papers (10% of your grade)
Each student is expected to write a two-three page (typed, double spaced) thought paper on ideas
stimulated by assigned readings for a particular week. Be very precise in your discussion or argument.
Note that the best papers will be those that integrate ideas from the new readings and previous
readings or discuss the relationship between the new readings and previous readings, lectures, and
personal experiences. Your presentation should include comments about how the work could be
improved and what you basically gleaned from it.
Chapter Presentation and Review (20% of your grade)
You will select one chapter from the course outline and present in class. This will be in two parts.
Firstly, you will be expected to provide a clear and concise summary of the chapter and secondly, you will prepare a hand-out to the class on the day of presentation. Presentation will be verbal. You will also be expected to facilitate a discussion of the chapter. Prepare questions to facilitate the discussion.
In the hand out/slides, review the content of the chapter and end with your own critical comments and evaluation (e.g. how could it be improved, etc.). Presentations will be 15 minutes.
Community Experience Paper (10% of your grade)
A two to three-page paper on your community experience and what you learned will be expected of you. Your paper should describe how your experience relates to African Thought and what you have learned in class. Papers will be presented verbally in class.
African Thought Definition Paper (40% of your grade; 8 – 10 pages)
Each student is expected to write a paper on African Thought chosen by the student and relevant to African Thought. In this paper, you should define African Thought, African Worldview and provide case studies which exemplify the various manifestations of African Thought. You will be expected to discuss African Thought making use of concepts, issues and philosophies learned in this course and provide a critique of existing definitions and categorizations of African Thought.
Outline of the African Thoughts includes: statement of what African Thought is and how manifestations of African Thought exemplify the core tenets of the African Worldview.
Written examination (20% of your grade)
There will be one class test which will make up 20% of your grade. The format will be announced in class but will be mainly short answers.

Important Notice:
Citations: When you use another person’s work in your papers, it is important to give credit to the source. If you paraphrase the work or refer to its conceptual framework or conclusions, use a parenthetical citation. If you use actual words from the work, enclose them in quotation marks, and
include a page number in your citation. Use APA style (modeled on this syllabus). Proper use and acknowledgement of others’ work makes your own work more scholarly, and in this class, is a component of the grade you get on your papers. However, use of another’s work without proper
citation is the academic sin of plagiarism, and can incur penalties.
Papers will be graded on the basis of 1) thoroughness and quality of response to specific requirements of project 2) integration of appropriate readings and African Thought terminologies from the course
into discussions 3) clarity, organization, and style.