2024 Phronimon special issue


Date: 31 October 2023 


More than six years have passed ever since a group of Black philosophers challenged the Philosophical Society of Southern Africa (PSSA) to dissolve itself out of ethical responsibility. The argument which was made by the Black philosophers at the time was that given the more than century-long racist existence of the PSSA during which it had supported white supremacist state power – during the period of Union colonial segregation and Apartheid – and a continued culture of marginalizing Black scholars in the present day, it was not a body that it was desirable for Blacks to join. 

The argument was that rather than its diversification through the “inclusion” of Blacks into a fundamentally white body (in demography and ideology), all those ethically sincere should rather form a new body in which African philosophy and interests would not simply be included but would constitute the very basis of organisation and dialogue with other traditions. The Black philosophers made a prediction that rather than dissolve such institutions, white supremacist bodies usually chose to appoint, following the Black Consciousness lexicon, “non-white” leaders to maintain themselves. Historically, the consequence of this strategy has been that white supremacist domination and its legacies continue without the explicit or direct rule of whites – something long studied by critical race theorists. It was the hope of the Black philosophers who challenged the establishment that it would not follow this historical pattern. 

The critique of the PSSA as white supremacist and the consequent exodus and establishment of the APS calls on us to reflect on the events of 2017 in historical context beyond the contention that was levelled against the undisturbed continued existence of the PSSA and the orientation of philosophy in the country. 

The call for papers arises out of this context and a desire to attend to the ethical exigency bestowed by Azania unto those who wish to see it freed from white supremacist domination among other kinds of oppression and discrimination including the narrow anti-African nationalisms we see publicly on the rise. Historically, such forces have been countered through Black and African Nationalism which, when properly understood, are Pan-Africanist and internationalist. The relevance of these movements for contemporary African challenges such as post-colonial imperialism, transformation in education, the realities and challenges of multicultural citizenship, issues pertaining to governance, the question of nationalisation versus privatisation, the stubborn state of various demographic inequalities in Africa and the African diaspora, issues pertaining to migration, racism, various forms of gender discrimination, homophobia, and xenophobia among other issues. 

Call for papers 

The broad theme of the special issue is the history and theory that has informed Black organisations. Papers dealing with contemporary topics in African philosophy and Black Studies, and the philosophical interests or projects of African philosophers are also welcome. This call for papers hopes to attract papers dealing with theoretical examinations of Black organisations widely construed. This includes social and political organisations, movements, institutions, academic organisations, and intellectual and cultural circles, both historical and contemporary. Studies of the intellectual history of movements and intellectual tendencies in African traditions are also welcome. 

In respect to contemporary movements, papers surveying the changes which have taken place in the South African academy since the student protests that rose to national interest with Rhodes Must Fall in 2015/16. Papers are invited that will deal with theoretical reflections on what made this moment significant when considering the longer history of protest and struggle seen in Rhodes Must Fall, and reflections on curriculum changes and studies since the advent of “decolonisation” in South Africa and elsewhere. One theme in this regard that could be addressed is the development of Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity (DEI) as a discourse and corporate mechanism in universities around the world. Submissions may interrogate the meaning, effects, and functions of this development. 

Finally papers are invited that will that will concern themselves with the liberation of the university at large and consider what the relationship and tensions are that dwell between the university and the society in which it exists. 

Topics that may be addressed connected to this theme include but are not limited to addressing: 

• The confines, history, and meaning of “The Black Radical Tradition” and its contemporary tensions with other movements / intellectual traditions. 

• African feminism, Black feminism, decolonial feminism, and womanism. 

• Assessing the anti-imperialist struggle legacy of Pan-Africanism and African Nationalism. 

• The contrasts and contests between Black experience(s) across the diaspora (e.g., the Africana tradition) and the experience of peoples in Africa. What are the implications for borrowing, transposing, developing, comparing, and cooperating? 

• The epistemological significance of doing philosophy and theory in African languages. 

• Africanist historiography and its decline. 

• The methods, approaches and categories which arise from the centring of African/ Black experience (culture, language, geography, history). 

• The state of African philosophy, African engagement and development of science, Africanity, Afrocentricity, Afro-pessimism, Black studies, Black theology, post-colonial studies, decoloniality, Black Consciousness, Afrocentricity, Négritude, Black Power, Afro-pessimism and related progenies. 

• The challenge of national sovereignty for Pan-African integration (who/what to unite, for what purpose?). 

• What is the relevance of African Nationalism/Pan-Africanism for contemporary African challenges such as: post-colonial imperialism, education, 

multicultural citizenship, governance, nationalisation, privatisation, inequality, migration, racial prejudice, xenophobia, etc. 

• Exploring the differences in philosophical outlooks between African Nationalism and Pan-Africanism, Continentalism vs Sub-Saharanism, identity and philosophy in the Magreb, East Africa, and the diaspora in relation to Africa. 

• Marxism vs Pan-Africanism, class vs race, liberalism and its discontents, the philosophical assessment of conquest and constitutionalism. 

• Tensions between African(a)/Black philosophical theory and “decoloniality”. 

• Decolonising the curriculum: theories, challenges and experiences of teaching. 

• The intellectual biographical examination of any major contributor to the struggle for liberation of African-descended peoples. 

The enumerated themes are not meant to be exhaustive but to set out broadly the sorts of considerations that papers may touch upon. 


To submit your paper, please register as an author on the Phronimon site and follow the submission steps: https://unisapressjournals.co.za/index.php/Phronimon/user/register


Final papers should be submitted by Tuesday the 31st of October 2023 after which they will be double-blind reviewed within 4 weeks and sent back to you for revisions. 

The final issue is expected to be published in late February 2024

Please visit the following URL to familiarise yourself with the style guide of Phronimon: https://unisapressjournals.co.za/index.php/Phronimon/about/submissions#authorGuidelines