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Title:Seeking balance: African autobiography as philosophy in Malidoma Patrice Somé's 'Of water and the spirit: ritual, magic and initiation in the life of an African shaman'
Author:Rico, Amanda Reneé
Year:2016
Periodical:Research in African Literatures (ISSN 0034-5210)
Volume:47
Issue:1
Pages:76-94
Language:English
Geographic term:Burkina Faso
Subjects:cosmology
Dagari
philosophy
autobiography
About person:Malidoma Patrice Somé (1956-)ISNI
Link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/research_in_african_literatures/v047/47.1.rico.pdf
Abstract:In this essay, I examine how one particular African autobiographical work - Malidoma Patrice Somé's 'Of water and the spirit: ritual, magic and initiation in the life of an African shaman' - embodies the concept of autobiography as philosophy and challenges Western metaphysical frameworks concerning the construction of the ethical self, temporality, and history. I argue that Somé's autobiographical affirmation of African philosophy serves as a thoroughgoing critique of Western hegemonic thought. Moreover, I claim that this text goes beyond a remedial rebuffing of Eurocentric metaphysics and instead proposes a synthesis between both African and Western ways of knowing and understanding the world. Ultimately, Somé's 'Of water and the spirit' demonstrates that the act of philosophizing is a ubiquitous cultural phenomenon that helps shape the various 'commonsensical' realities of modern life around the globe and should therefore be considered a non-exclusionary practice. Bibliogr., notes, ref, sum. [Journal abstract]
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