Africa, We the Underdeveloped: Wynter’s Discontent in the Light of Hegel’s Conception of Development

*Originally presented at the Caribbean Philosophical Association, Brown University, June 2019


A passing note, couched in one of the various editions of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, states the following. “A human being, in the process of necessarily forming itself, is historical, i.e., belongs in time, in the history prior to freedom. Prior to freedom, there is history.”[i] Admittedly the simplicity of this point conceals a complex manifold of interpretations which can be drawn from it. But that concealment becomes surreptitious when placed in the context of the inimical character of Hegel’s remarks about Africa. Those remarks stem prominently from his claim in the Philosophy of History that “Africa has no history in the true sense of the word.”[ii] If Africa is without history in the true sense, it would then appear that Africans are not historical and thus not human beings.

Artist: Drew Martin

Now there is a distinction, which critiques of Hegel’s remarks about Africa need to heed. It is that between (a) denying empirically or as a matter of fact that Africa is without historical relevance and (b) denying normatively Africa without historical relevance is what it ought to be. Most believe that a successful critique along factual lines is simultaneously a successful critique along normative ones, conflating their critique via (a) with that via (b). Consequently, critiques of Hegel’s remarks about Africa mistakenly mixes a rebuttal of a so-called factual claim, viz., (a), with what would have to be a disavowal of a normative one, viz., (b). Such a conflation mistakenly presupposes that Hegel’s claim “Africa has no history in the true sense of the word” is an empirically real one purported as a matter of fact. But, for Hegel, ‘history in the true sense of the word’ is a normatively focused one. In effect, Hegel would be saying not that factually Africa is without history, but that normatively Africa without history is what it ought to be.

So, Hegel’s claim that “Africa has no history in the true sense of the word” is a normative one. Indeed, it appears to render a conclusion about Africa much worse than the empirical one. But the conclusion of that normative version has never been investigated or evaluated, let alone challenged, because any investigation into, let alone challenge to it, will need to operate on the normative plane as well. Unfortunately, most do not exercise their critique of Hegel’s derogatory remarks about Africa on that plane. And most would rhetorically ask — ‘why should they?’ Thus, wittingly they confront the claim — “Africa does not have a history”, but unwittingly not confront the stipulation — “not having a history is what Africa ought to be”. So, the claim, due to the stipulation that African people are purposively at sea in the dark without a compass to make sense, is confronted simply with the empirical history about Africa as the refutation. But, for Hegel’s idealism, what is called for is not refuting the claim, but addressing the stipulation of the claim, whether the claim meets or does not meet the condition and why.

If the condition is met, it is thereby avowed, not by presenting the non-existence of the empirical history of Africa, but by presenting Africans as unable to think and act historically. On the other hand, if the condition is not met, it is thereby disavowed, not by addressing the empirical history of Africa, but by addressing Africans as thinking and acting historically. The capability to think and act historically, for Hegel’s idealism, is to do so under the “Idea of freedom,” and such a capacity is not an attribute, but an achievement of a people. To be sure, Hegel himself never directly made these points with Africa and its diaspora in mind. He left the impression that Africa’s lack of historical relevance satisfied a norm, which would bind and be credited to non-Europeans generally and Africans specifically, as unhistorical. This should be the reason why criticism of Hegel on Africa should be made and held.

But there is a reason stemming from Hegel’s idealism, which would disable that conclusion. Under his idealism, to be, to do, or to know “x” is to be cognizant of so being, so doing, or so knowing “x” with a purpose or aim. The aim of being, say, unhistorical, would have to be in sync with the norm of being unhistorical again and again repeatedly. Indeed, if that possibility were the case, the efficacy of that norm would be either in accord with matters natural or never subject to breakdown, to expiration, to inefficacy, to alteration. Both disjuncts would be impossible under Hegel’s idealism.

Were the aforementioned scenario to be the case for African peoples, they would be perennially isolated from grounding contingencies, from accounting for matters which happen to them, or immediately and automatically in sync with contingencies or matters naturally happening to them. However, since it is not the case, they would have not yet encountered the contingencies, which could threaten the justifiable and motivational efficacy of a norm. Without that threat to or failure of the norm, thereby making needless and unwarranted the responsiveness to reasons for criticizing and changing the norm, an account measured in terms of the development of the motivational and justifiable efficacy of norms via reason could not be had.[iii] What is noteworthy here is that, without the threat, a conception of “development” would be puzzling, paradoxical, out of place for Africa and Africans under the lights of Hegel’s idealism.

Wynter’s Discontent with “Development”

This point is important because it is next to impossible not to connect Africa to a conception of “development,” Hegelian or otherwise, wherein Africa is regarded as radically other than and recalcitrant to it. A person who has addressed this matter in terms of the pitfalls of “development” as it pertains to Africa’s history, its landscape, its people, and its diaspora has been the noted playwright, writer, scholar, and professor emeritus of Hispanic/Luso-Brazilian Literatures & Languages and African/African-Diasporic Studies at Stanford University, the Honorable Sylvia Wynter.

Now it should be noted that her exceptional and well-known essay, “Is ‘Development’ a Purely Empirical Concept or also Teleological?: A Perspective from ‘We the Underdeveloped’,” is not specifically a critique of Hegel. Nonetheless Wynter generally shares with Hegel his grandiosity of philosophical schemes and vision, his complexity of argument for them, his density of language in articulating both and, most importantly, his non-materialist conception of “development.”[iv] She specifically shares, but not identifies, with his idealism a restraint on scientific realism, historiographical evidence, and social-scientific ‘facts of the matter’ to give an account for Africa and its diaspora. But her account is not based on an idealism.

Image of Sylvia Wynter courtesy of Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, The New York Public Library.

Although her essay is itself modest in size, it is still an ambitiously large-scale account, consistent and continuous with her much longer and comprehensive essays. Those essays deal with framing the “West” in terms of a historical unfolding of what counts as binary conceptions of “being human”. Those conceptions are set in various inquiries into “being human” from their earliest theological inceptions to their current secular culminations. Wynter would not have any problem naming Hegel as one among many surrogates for and virtuosos of and in the “Western epistemological order”, an order whereby the “present culture ensures the regulation of its members’ behavior (cognizing, affective, and actional)” [v] of being human in either a superordinate or a subordinate fashion.

In keeping with this rubric, Wynter argues that “development” is culturally specific, not culturally neutral, whose genesis and structure are subject to the “Western epistemological order,” in which even an understanding of African “traditional system of thought” would remain entrapped. Briefly the strategies of sustainably material development, long implemented for centuries to remedy Africa’s longstanding and, for the most part, European-made underdevelopment of its economic and ecological fronts, have been and still are reliant, she contends, principally on that epistemological order. According to Wynter, as “underdeveloped,” Africa and its diaspora have been called upon, time and again, to acquiesce to “development” along both material (empirical) and normative (teleological) lines they do not and would not prescribe for themselves. They have been made to experience and conduct themselves as the functional equivalent of the “massa damnata (those not elected for salvation),”[vi] construed in a modern secular vein as “we, the underdeveloped.” Their history, for Wynter, has reflected this equivalence. Why? How?

Wynter ties both “development” and “underdevelopment” to the emergence of a kind of connection with matters “onto-theological.” She references Cheik Hamidou Kane’s novel, Ambiguous Adventure, and Julia Kristeva’s Power of Horror: An Essay on Abjection to claim that an “onto-theologically” inspired “sense of right” for “both being and not being human” was shared and best exemplified by the Christian West and the Islamic East. Both codified the respective contrast between those elected and those not elected for other-worldly redemption.[vii] This mutual codification was transformed when employed by the Christian West to defend its conquests of non-Christians. That defense however, Wynter argues, was reliant on the West’s break from the “sense of right” sanctioned by divine invocation to that sanctioned by a secular one, now rendered epistemically, not sacredly, legitimate in the West. By doing so, she is neither designating “underdevelopment” in either socio-economic terms different from socio-economic “development” nor designating lexical terms contrary to or excluded from “development.” She is rather specifying it as the outcome of an originary “onto-theological” gap of non-being between them,[viii]  an originary “metaphysical lack,” a break characteristic of a sacred space and a fall from it, which persists through the manifold variants of what is conveyed as a “sense of right” for “being and not being human.” In short, what must be the “sense of right,” given what can be called the “problem of being human.”

For example, sacredly legitimized, as stated above, a codified “sense of right” establishes the contrast between those elected and those not elected for other-worldly salvation. But epistemically legitimized, a codified “sense of right” eventually establishes the contrast between, on the one hand, those made to experience, see, and conduct themselves as both “developed” and “developing” and, on the other, those made to experience, see, and conduct themselves as “underdeveloped.” Those represented as “developed” and “developing” are a culturally systemic variant of, but a functionally systemic equivalent with, those elected for redemption under the same, say, Judeo-Christian or “onto-theological” matrix. The same matrix looms over the culturally systemic variants of and functionally systemic equivalents with those not elected for salvation and those experiencing themselves as “we, the underdeveloped.” It both contributes to and is conveyed by the meaning of each of the categorially paired variants.

Despite each of the four variants referring culturally and specifically to 4 different groups, the difference in each of the two categorially paired variants (“electively redeemed/not electively redeemed” and “developed/underdeveloped”) is functionallyequivalent to the other in meaning. For Wynter, each of the two categorial pairs is a governing concept whose rule cannot be established without a contrasting concept, not as categorially relational, but as “categorially liminal” to it. What is the difference?[ix]

To understand this difference, let us briefly compare, say, what Wynter is proposing with what Kant proposes about categories. As relational, a categorial pair for Kant under theoretical reason stipulates for an individual the rule for relating judgements to and with each other, for combining two or more judgements in a (larger) judgement, i.e., in various kinds of inference or kinds of making sense inferentially about what is (or ought to be) the case about “X” and thereby to take a stand on “X.” The categorial pair would serve as an epistemic condition of experience. Under practical reason, however, a categorial pair as relational ought reflect the unconditional necessity of (moral) imperatives to act in conformity with obligation and, simultaneously, to be motivated to so act devoid of both natural sympathy and prudence.

Therefore, for Kant, a relational categorial pair through practical reason stipulates for an individual either (a) the volition of a course of action in life is necessarily dependent on satisfying a sensible condition or (b) the volition of a course of action in life is necessarily subject to what ought be moral considerations without condition. As liminal, on the other hand, a categorial pair, according to Wynter, would be subject to an “onto-theological” threshold or gap showing that non-being always impends on making sense inferentially on what is (or should be) the case about “X” and would be already ontologically definitive in setting an individual’s volitional orientation, indifferent to (a) or (b), toward “X.”  Such a gap would thwart reasons from addressing or undoing what is already pre-delineated in advance about “X”, about the persistence of the codified “sense of right” throughout its variants.

For Wynter, this “onto-theological” gap bears on the “problem of being human”. It highlights the historical character of a threshold, from which questions about the being of those elected or not elected (x1 or y1) for salvation under divine law; the being of those designated human or sub-human (x2 or y2) under scientific law; the being of those rendered slavers or enslaved (x3 or y3) under enslavement; the being of those selected or not selected (x4 or y4) under evolution; the being of those developed or underdeveloped (x5 or y5) under colonialism are all existentially at issue and whose resolutions are based on something wholly other than reason. Judgements and inferences would thereby be made to turn on non-being, bound to the “problem of being human” (superordinately or subordinately,) rather than that problem turning on what judgements and inferences would respectively make determinately of it as well as draw from it.

Wynter’s categorial pairs thus are not relational in the Kantian (or even Hegelian) sense since they would contribute neither relationally nor modally to making inferential sense of anything Kant himself would regard as matters for a “pre-critical metaphysics” or traditional ontology. But Wynter is not concerned with traditional western metaphysics. Like Heidegger, her focus is on “onto-theology” as the condition of western metaphysics; but not in the same way he characterizes it. For Heidegger, “onto-theology” has been that metaphysics’ condition is repeatedly portrayed in and by the “forgottenness” of the “Seinsfrage,” forgetting that the response to that question (or Frage) is that the meaning of Being (Sein) itself is neither first cause (ontologically) norhighest being (theologically.) In contrast, for Wynter, it has been the condition repeatedly characterized in and by the “problem of being human” in subordinate fashion, even where both the inference and promise for eliminating that problem via “development” has been conveyed.

What also courses through Wynter’s argument is an affirmation of the “post-development” thesis which gives impetus to the need for a “decolonization of the mind.”[x] This thesis works on the premises that reason is (a) universally instrumental and strategic without boundary and thereby of consequence for any-and-everyone regardless of cost or price and (b) thoroughly related to power and thereby hegemonic. The universality and hegemony of instrumental and strategic reason effectively pervades, sanctions, compels “development” in both the advance and the decline of colonial/imperialist practices, for which there would not be any constraint on their exercise and acquiescence. Colonizing and imperial forces would be employed to guarantee the boundless ambit of “development” as concomitant with the universality and limitlessness of instrumental and strategic reason’s force. To decolonize the mind, then, would be to undo “development” as well as instrumental and strategic reason’s universal and hegemonic character underwriting it, to undo them for the sake of the agency and awareness of those “being human” in a form of life formerly bound to the kind of hegemony and coercion “development” endorses.

Still, although Wynter gives credence to the “post-development” thesis, it would be a mistake not to distinguish that thesis from her “onto-theological” one. Under the former thesis, as stated above, “development” is intrinsically linked with reason’s universality and hegemony sanctioned through colonizing and imperial forces. Liminality is not at issue. In contrast, under the latter thesis, “development” is an outcome of the historical reiteration of the “onto-theological” problem of being human in subordinate fashion. Liminality becomes the issue.

Keeping the latter point in mind, if we were to aim the relational/liminal distinction toward the categorially paired variant “development/underdevelopment,” we would get the following. As relational, “development” could be employed in an inferential process accounting for all features of precedence and salience by which “underdevelopment” would be rationally precluded from it, but never outside the co-relational (or modally) conceptual jurisdiction wherein its possible or necessary exclusion inferentially would make sense. As liminal, however, “development” could not be employed to account for all features of precedence and salience, because it would “onto-theologically” sustain its conflicting opposition to “underdevelopment” as originally conveyed in “being recalcitrant to salvation” and historically reiterated in the changing forms of “being damned,” of “being wretched,” to finally “being underdeveloped.” All of these would be connected to the “problem of being human subordinately”. The being of each would be outside of reason’s capacity to motivate and justify their condemnation. “Development” and “underdevelopment,” construed as liminal, could not be construed in terms of relation (substance/accident; cause/effect; community/disjunction) but oddly coupled, an “odd couple,” so to speak, outside of the space of reasons.[xi]

In short, Wynter contends “our present world system, as a culture-specific ‘form of life,’ must necessarily institute itself on the basis of a binary opposition between the underdeveloped (as the embodiment of the metaphysical lack of the supraordinate goal of ‘development’) and the developed (as the exemplary realization of this goal.) …, Black Africa [and its diaspora] has been made to embody the extreme form of the category of lack.”[xii] As categorially liminal of or “conceptually other” to, say, “development,” “underdevelopment” then would be able to represent “being damned” as a way of being human (“the underdeveloped.”)[xiii] It would be subject to the “remedy” of development, which “the developed” (the other way of being human,) given the history of conquest, has extensively had as a remedy for “the underdeveloped” and, given the persistence of non-being on “the underdeveloped,” would wittingly or unwittingly let be and go on. “Being underdeveloped” entails living in an environment, embodying the inefficacy or nullity of development, revealing it as inescapable, and framed as unreflectively and foreseeably familiar..

Usually “development” is purported as a “remedy” to “underdevelopment.” Its meaning is carried along either material socio-economic lines (globalizing modernization) or inflated, over-determined philosophies of history, allegedly like Hegel’s, with their so-called affirmation of “faith in progress” or colonized adaptation to “Western culture” as the goal for Africans and their diasporic constituents. But, for Wynter, there is nothing remedial in these. For her, Africa and its diaspora are joined to “development” as the maintenance and expansion, not the elimination or diminution, of “we, the underdeveloped,” as the conservation of its “metaphysical lack” or “non-being.” Indeed “underdevelopment” would here be “baked into” “development.” Consequently, Wynter is highly incredulous of “development.” By interpreting “development” in terms of its categorially liminal status, she would likewise extend her skepticism toward “development” to cover even Hegel’s, given his alleged emphasis on progress and his seemingly intellectual complicity in the “underdevelopment” of Africa and its diaspora in LPWH.

Wynter’s account, as presented here, entwines “being subordinate” as a human being, especially as an African ethno-racial being, in all of its aforementioned historical reiterations, with “metaphysical lack” or non-being. Where would Hegel’s idealism stand in relation to her account? There are a number of responses.

First, within Hegel’s idealism, a human being could not “be subordinate” simpliciter as a matter of non-being. “Being subordinate” as a matter of non-being is not simply a way for someone to be or to occupy. On the contrary, “being subordinate” would be impossible without cognizance or reason for or against being subordinate, without taking ourselves being subordinate. Such cognizance or reason would involve, if not full, at least some kind of acknowledgement of why I, as a human being, am and ought not to be, even in this way, subordinate. Wynter suggests, however, that the metaphysical horizon of non-being puts out of play any stance from which a reason could be proffered, pro or con, to being subordinate. In effect, its omnipresence would not be in need of any justification with reference to the reasons of those upon whom it has always already suffused and enthralled.

Second, the liminality of a categorial pair would not involve “negation” under Hegelian lights. Wynter’s aforementioned account, however, would ignore this point, since she tends to employ “liminality” and “negation” interchangeably.[xiv] She does so, I think, because “conceptual otherness” is at play in both. As liminal, a categorial pair does not generate conceptual relations of exclusion about “X.” Rather since non-being impends on it, the pair would be in opposition, not in co-relation, with each other. The opposing concepts would be revealed as both existentially incompatible with the world’s characterization of, say, “X” and subjectively incompatible with any response thought or comprehensible in and by reason to that characterization. What could have been inferred is treated as an inexplicable novelty or a “new descriptive statement,” relinquishing any connection to reason or to being motivated and justified thereby.

In contrast, as “negative”, under Hegelian guidelines, a categorial pair enables the conceptual relations of exclusion not solely to make sense inferentially about “X” but, more importantly, to make sense inferentially of the way “X” is determinate not as simply set by the features causally and substantiating “X,” but as normatively prescribed by our responsiveness in the exchange of reasons to maintain, modify, or reject that characterization. Such responsiveness is, as stated earlier, reflective of spirit increasingly mitigating (negating) natural or habitual influences on accounts of what is to be comprehended or inferred self-consciously and how. Furthermore, it is continuous with spirit increasingly amplifying reason-sharing accounts of what is to be comprehended or inferred through a self-conscious relation both diminishing (negating) the custody of its self-certainty and simultaneously augmenting (negating its negation) the achievement of its freely like-minded relation with others.[xv]

The determinacy of, say, “X” via negation is expressed by the categorial pair grasped in reason self-consciously for the sake of amplifying the pair’s significance and perspicacity of “X’s” determinacy in ongoing fashion. An “inexplicable novelty” or “new descriptive statement,” as Wynter is wont to say, relinquishing any connection to reason, would not be in the picture. What this implies is that such a “new descriptive statement” could not be attached to the role it could or could not play as a component of any judgement or inference. If, as Wynter maintains, black people are the embodiment of “metaphysical lack,” it would then be outside the capacity of African peoples, unlike all ethno-racial others, to be committed, entitled, or permitted to “maneuver” about in grasping and employing licensed judgments or inferences in social space.[xvi] Being outside their capacity would be metaphysically pre-delineated in advance.

Yet Wynter’s commitment to “inexplicable novelty” as an outcome of a category’s liminality is reflected in her emphasis on an episode in Kane’s aforementioned novel Ambiguous Adventure, wherein the characters of the Islamicized knight of the “people of the Diallobė” and his French colonizer-guest, Lacroix, are antagonists. She invokes this episode to show the transformation in the codification of the “sense of right” in what counts as being human from sacral to epistemic legitimation in the Christian West’s conquest over Christian and Islamic Africa. What she makes poignant is the comment the knight (as being subordinate) poses to the French colonizer (as being superordinate) in response to the transformation cum conquest, symbolically addressing the “necessary blindness” of the West’s to the “metaphysical lack,” to non-being, attached to that transformation/conquest.[xvii]  “What you do not see,” the knight cautions Lacroix, “does not exist. The moment, like a raft, carries you on the luminous surface of its round disc, and you deny the abyss that lies about you.”[xviii] For Wynter, this is the “problem of being human superordinately”.

It is this “abyss” wherefrom the “inexplicable novelty” makes its emergence, an “abyss” wherefrom emergent novelty is neither seen nor comprehended. The “problem of being human superordinately”, rather than subordinately, is the blindness to and ignorance of this “abyss.” It entails living life freely and gracefully while ignoring, overlooking that such a life is not settled, not secured, does not rest on a fidelity to being who one substantially is. The problem of being human superordinately is overlooking and neglecting that the aforementioned life signals only a temporary haven, so to speak, and this neglect is characteristic of the failure of neither grasping nor seeing the impending likelihood of being dislodged from it. Only being human subordinately, the Islamicized knight, we, the underdeveloped, Africans, for example, are perceptive of the displacement looming, as a problem, over being human superordinately, for whom such displacement would be an inexplicable novelty.[xix]

Still be mindful that Wynter places great emphasis on Africans, as well as any member of the human species, being necessarily oriented in the manner by which ‘we’ know and act within a shared form of life. She also gives weight to her conception of human beings as a compatible combination of ontogeny/phylogeny and sociogeny, of nature and culture. Both of these points appear to bear broadly some resemblance to Hegel’s bio-social conception of natural spirit wherein, as stated above, only do the reasons arising from spirit gradually break with nature. As Wynter puts it,

Frantz Fanon has pointed out — in his book Black Skin, White Masks — that Freud oversaw the fact that at the level of human life, the organic process of ontogenesis, is always accompanied by the culturally instituted processes of sociogenesis. It is this rupture with the purely organic processes of ontogenesis and its correlation with the always culture-systemic processes of sociogenesis that can be defined as the first emergence [of human life—FMK.] For this was a process by which all human forms of life, and their languaging living systems, can now be seen to have come into being only on the basis of their rupture with the genetically regulated circuits of organic life, therefore, for the narratively instituted symbolic  circuits that were to orient our socialized modes of subjectivity and of interaltruistic symbolic conspecificity, or non-genetically determined variant forms of “kin” recognition and misrecognition that are defining of human “forms of life.”[xx]

As noted, she explicitly relies on Fanon and Freud, rather than Hegel, to make the points with which Hegel’s idealism concerning natural spirit would concur. Nonetheless any resemblance to his idealism stops in full on two fronts. First, in contrast, Wynter explains the “first emergence” of human form of life (or spirit) in terms of a “rupture” rather than an incremental break with nature. Moreover, she points to a “second emergence,” a second rupture, different from the first yet parallel under provisions equivalent with the first. It represents a break from an unreflective acquiescence to a witting and technologically mediated one to a culturally induced subservience.

The first emergence saw the rupture effected by humans with the constraints of primarily genetically oriented behaviors; the second emergence, which now confronts us, can be defined in parallel terms. In that this emergence will, therefore, entail a rupture with our nonconscious subordination to the narratively instituted culture-systemic symbolic circuits by which we are aggregated as human subjects; symbolic and to the tekhne of their represented modes of lack and their correlated supraordinate teloi or goals by means of which we have oriented our behaviors in culture-systemic rather than genetically determined terms.[xxi]

Her commitments to this “first, second (and even third[xxii]) emergences” of human life and categorial liminality are, secondly, what put Wynter strongly at odds with Hegel’s idealism. Her commitments to the rightful criticism of what is taken as Hegel’s denials of history and humanity to African peoples would be dependent on her reflections on “development.” By treating “development” as categorially liminal and “onto-theologically” coupled with “underdevelopment,” Wynter is claiming that human subordination is an outcome of the “onto-theological” reauthorization of the “problem of being human” and is incalculably more significant than reason calling such subordination into question, subjecting it to critique, or the sense reason makes of it.

For Wynter, what is needed is a “human species-perspective” of self-formation enabled and empowered not to fall victim to the reproduction of those “codes” and “techniques,” whose history reveals their ever present “onto-theological” maintenance of those who count as “developed, on the one hand,” as well as “underdeveloped,” on the other.[xxiii] “We, the underdeveloped,” according to Wynter, can avoid falling victim to this maintenance of “our” “underdevelopment,” repeated in “our” behaviors to the cognitive, moral, economic, and political codes and techniques of “our” times not by “negation,” but by availing “ourselves” of aesthetically “ceremonious” self-invention.[xxiv] What would such an aesthetically ceremonious self-invention look like?

To this question I can only speculate since I’ve been unable to lay out an interpretation in detail from her writings what Wynter has in mind. Pressed I would say that such self-invention entails for her African ethno-racial forms of life freeing themselves from being bound to the historically reiterative onto-theological gap codified in “senses of right.” Africans as “we, the underdeveloped” are grandly to turn inward, Wynter claims, “toward a new human-species interest,” redirecting themselves “toward a new order of culture-scientific truth that Africa now finds the dynamic of its own urgent thrust to escape the condemnation imposed on it by the logic of our present ‘local culture’s’ order of knowledge, to be linked to that of the securing of the well-being of the species; of universal individual human welfare.”[xxv]

On the surface, there would appear to be nothing wrong with Wynter’s proposal as an aesthetically prospective claim for the unconditional resolution of the “problem of being human subordinately”. There is, however, some implausibility to it. It is unclear how this “new human-species interest” can be the source accounting for “new descriptive statements,” bestowing meaning to “inexplicable novelties”. How do such “statements” provide the bridge over the void of the abyss, lead “ceremoniously” to self-invention without their possibility of making sense connect to individuals exchanging and promising reasons (via judgements and inferences,) participating in or assenting/dissenting to a practice in an African ethno-racial form of life? There appears to be a possible answer.

From Wynter’s vantage point, African ethno-racial forms of life shall themselves reach a point that any commitment to “development” is no longer credible or no longer available, and that it is inevitable that every human being will come to that point too. She appears to suggest it is unavoidable that “development” shall lose its significance and value as a binding force, and that to remain committed to it is to embrace it unwitting of the insignificance of “development” to come.

For her, ‘our’ orientation “toward a new human-species interest” is a turn away from salvation, not just other-worldly, but from “development.” This turn would not involve a crisis of faith or require a method. It would rather entail the possibility of a genuinely “ceremonious self-invention,” wherein ‘we, the underdeveloped’ do not come to understand this turn away from “development” as salvation, as something that can be certified epistemically as true or false, but as something that simply happens in some markedly complicated way and eventually goes away. This gesture of hers would appear to be something made plausible by a religion that coordinates poets, singers, and political deeds, a politicized “theo-musicology” if I may paraphrase the words of Reverend William E. Barber, making manifest the way such “ceremonious self-invention” is an epochal event, i.e., happening for a time wherein it would be impossible to claim that it happened only for that time. Otherwise, her gesture suggests some kind of enchantment project.

A Hegelian Response to Wynter’s Discontent

But there are a number of points that must be kept in mind when considering her conception of development in the light of Hegel’s. “Development” in Hegel’s idealism is, first, not natural maturation or growth to a natural end state, because it is a matter operative in relation to or in the jurisdiction of spirit. Second, it is not progress to an end state of perfection or something utopian, material or otherwise because it is not subject to the indeterminacy surrounding “perfection.” Third, it is not eschatology, involving some dramatically transcendent incursion consummating the history of the world from the divinely outside because it proceeds via reason’s “return on itself.” Fourth, it is not an instrumentally or strategically driven process, set in motion by the selection of the best efficient means or the execution of the most detailed plan because, as a “spiritual” process, (a) its normative orientation, conveyed in the exchange of reasons, of acting and knowing under the “idea of freedom” would be open to struggles and (b) the comprehension and evaluation of that “idea” could never be immediately assured that those struggles are not reliant on factors or criteria diminishing or even repudiating the impact of that “idea.” These points are crucial when examining “development’s” relation to matters of spirit. In short, for Hegel, “development” involves freedom of the rationality of cognitive and practical enactments.

“Development in the spiritual world,” as Hegel puts it, “is at once a hard and unending struggle with itself…hard and obstinate labor on itself.”[xxvi] If so, how then is this conception of development at work in history, especially since Hegel claims that spirit’s aim in history “would be the freedom of the subject to assert and maintain [both] its own conscience and morality as well as its own ongoing universal ends[?]”[xxvii] How is that aim in history a matter of “hard and unending struggle of spirit with itself?”

Since the issue is “spirit’s aim in history,” we would not be talking about history, not be talking about events in history or matters historical which, for Hegel, would be, as we know from him, a “slaughterbench.” Instead, we would be depicting historically the peculiar advancement of reasons and their normative efficacy in our cognitive and practical enactments. At first, that depiction would be taken as an elucidation of contingencies under specific accounts, stemming from an ethno-racial form of life, that people would confer as reasons on them. Such accounts would be bracketed from any causal relationship of contingencies to each other. As it stands, this view would be consistent with persons in their ethno-racial form of life committed to like-minded accounts, presumed in and stipulated by their form of life, for contingencies faced. All this, however, addresses only reasons’ intimacy and complicity with people’s ethno-racial form of life. But we would be hard pressed to characterize reasons’ “volksgeistlich” intimacy and complicity in terms of spirit’s “hard and obstinate labor on itself,” since the distinguishing of people’s reasons from what is stipulated by their form of life would not even be entertained in the characterization.

A way out of this problem, however, may be found in a remark Hegel makes about spirit. “The concept of spirit involves a return to (Rückkehr in sich) itself, whereby it makes itself its own object; progress [here]…has a determinate aim, viz., that of [spirit] returning to itself.”[xxviii] There is a retrospective dimension pertinent to “development in the spiritual world” wherein spirit is its own “measure.” and which is not relevant elsewhere. As stated earlier, development entails the advancement of reasons in their giving and sharing exercise from being presumed efficacious to being achieved efficaciously. It is reasons’ quest for better reasons signaling the movement from the former to the latter. The former represents reasons already in play with an orientation presumed; the latter represents reasons which override the presumptive character or the presumed orientation of the former via the quest for reasons better upheld or newly revised. Be mindful, as natural spirit, spirit has its genesis in nature, but its own development and truth are not reliant on spirit’s compatibilism with nature or with nature’s evolution. More importantly, it is not reliant on a return to the ethno-racial saliency of habits and customs whose motivating and justifying reasons are not able to advance beyond what they already presume and thus are subject to petering out, to becoming “devoid of life and interest.”[xxix]  To be sure, an ethno-racial form of life is inseparable, but distinguishable, from spirit. An ethno-racial form of life or singularity as a “volksgeistlich” like-mindedness is representative of spirit’s gradual and variable parting from nature, wherein such a form of life, in comparison with other such forms, incrementally yet unevenly comes to distinguish the saliency of its habits, customs, enactments and explanations from processes connected to nature. But once that distinguishing is fully achieved, spirit’s development is not reliant on a return to nature or a return to the saliency  of an ethno-race’s “volksgeistlich” habits, but on a self-conscious return to itself. Such a self- conscious return enables spirit to distinguish reasons too presumptive to rely necessarily on reasons’ motivating activity, from those whose justification is achieved in conjunction  with their motivating activity in ways both amplifying and diversifying. How is this to be understood?

Take, for example, an ethno-racial form of life wherein the belief in the viability of, say, coal is longstanding, salient, so presumptively justified. Although Hegel’s idealism would not deny the fact that such a belief can be empirically falsified outside of that form of life, that fact would not be what it takes as the measure for successfully challenging any reason to continue upholding that belief. Rather what his idealism would take as such measure would be that an ethno-racial form of life’s failure to both (1) acknowledge the dissolution of its presumptiveness supporting such a belief or norm and (2) provide, on the failure of (1), new or revised reasons as its grounds or accounts, rather than commit to its earlier presumed ones, for the sake of their amplification across and diversification within such forms of life, i.e., for the sake of reasons/grounds being shared both within and across forms of life in ongoing fashion. Newly revised and shareable reasons are oriented to motivate and justify both across and within ethno-racial forms of life.[xxx] They would, however, be tied solely to neither a specifically particular ethno-racial form of life nor a specific individual or set thereof within such a form of life. If so tied, such reasons would not be different from reasons belonging to an ethno-racial form of life or unshareable within that form of life. They thus would not expand across and differentiate within ethno-racial “boundaries.” Instead, they would be geared to broaden what counts as motivationally and justifiably reason-sharing in an ongoing way. They would thereby be geared to make thematic the ways, socially and historically, how ethno-racial forms of life come to be committed to “thinking and acting under the idea of freedom,” which would enable the normative dimensions of reasons to extend across and within ethno-racial boundaries.

Socially and historically spirit then, variously and variantly through ethno-races, becomes itself the target of its re-evaluation, comes to the aforementioned commitment. It comes back to reasons presumed that periodically peter out, that were in play at an earlier time, not to restore them, but to advance newly revised reasons amplifying shareable responses in the face of conflict and struggle incessantly contributing to the inefficacy of prior reasons. Spirit’s “return to itself” is, in short, reason’s critical examination of itself via the giving and sharing of reasons in an ongoing way.

Spirit’s “return to itself” then does not refer to its recommitment in social space to already extant beliefs and norms whose reasons are presumed reliable even in the face of such conflicts. Rather it refers to its re-evaluation in social space of already extant beliefs and norms whose prior saliency supporting cognitive and practical enactments has lost its efficacy to motivate and justify further and better such enactments in the face of unavoidable, even interminable, conflict or, say, “inertial” customs and habits.

For Hegel, the “development in the spiritual world” is the “advancement” in the normative efficacy of reasons via a return to or re-evaluation of norms whose efficacy to motivate and justify is no longer. It would not be due to a norm’s content or would not come from a preceding norm whose presumptiveness dictating cognitive and practical enactments would not be called into question. The former could not motivate on its own or independently of the commitment to “think and act under the idea of freedom.” The latter would not have an impetus to motivate beyond what is held in force. So, under Hegelian lights, normative development could not obtain in either circumstance.

Rather “development” would emerge once there is a self-conscious “return” to a preceding norm to grasp why it no longer motivates, why it loses its binding force. This is “spirit’s” coming back to itself, “revisiting” itself, so to speak. And it does so to find the reasons contributing to why a norm peters out, destabilizes, breaks down, fails to motivate enactmments, cognitive and practical, in a social arrangement. It then self-consciously leads in obtaining or revising norms whose reasons justifying them are oriented to express and to ground their own motivational effectiveness in ongoing fashion in that arrangement. The norms, which would then motivate, could be expressive of reasons historically partaken to amplify “development in the spiritual world” and to “heal,” at least provisionally, their “wound” from the loss of efficacy prior norms could undergo when reasons supporting them are called into question, if not undermined, in social space.

Admittedly these remarks sound rather extravagant, especially when plied to Africa and its diaspora. Indeed, Hegel himself never directly made them with Africa and its diaspora in mind. As I said earlier, Hegel’s claim that “Africa has no history in the true sense of the word” is not an empirical, but a normative, claim. Given the long-held conviction in the inimical relation of Hegel’s thought to Africa, the aforementioned point leaves the impression that Africa’s lack of historical relevance is what ought to be the case, i.e., satisfies a norm, which ethno-racially belongs and is ascribed to Africa alone, to be unhistorical. “Development” would be puzzling and paradoxical ethno-racially to Africa under Hegelian lights and thus could give major weight to Wynter’s position.

Yet there are two reasons stemming from Hegel’s idealism which would disable that conclusion from being drawn from that normative claim. First, under that idealism, to be, to do, or to know “x” is to be cognizant of so being, so doing, or so knowing having a purpose or aim. The aim of being, say, unhistorical would have to be complicit with the norm of being unhistorical again and again repeatedly.[xxxi] Thus the efficacy of that norm would not be subject to breakdown which, as we have seen, would be impossible under Hegel’s idealism. But if this were to be the case under the Hegelian guise, the issue for African ethno-racial singularities would be that they are permanently isolated from grounding contingencies or immediately and naturally in sync with them as many have claimed. However, since it is not, the issue instead would be that they have not yet encountered the contingencies, which would threaten the justifiable and motivational efficacy of a norm. Without that threat to or failure in the norm, making needless and unwarranted the responsiveness of reasons, an account of historical alteration measured in terms of the development of the motivational and justifiable efficacy of norms could not be had.

Second when Wynter deals with “development,” she does not speak in any way to address what Hegel takes as important to it, viz., spirit’s “return” to itself or its re-evaluation of norms whose efficacy has been lost, in the face of contingencies thrown up incessantly in struggles, in order to provide new or revised ones through the giving and sharing of reasons. As Hegel notes, unfortunately under a compressed argument for the unity of being and purpose,

“This consonance between ‘is’ and ‘ought’ is not rigid and inert; however, the final purpose of the world, i.e., the good, is only that which repeatedly, over and over, brings itself forth, [such that] the distinction between the spiritual and natural worlds is comprised of the latter [natural] simply continuing to return to itself while the former [spiritual] enables [laboriously] a progression as well.”[xxxii]

Wynter’s skeptical account of “development” cannot and does not tally with Hegel’s “development’s hard and strenuous labor on itself.” Hegel does not employ “underdevelopment” in his writings. But I have wittingly used it here in my discussion of non-European peoples, particularly Africans, in the early/immediate phase of this developmental sequence. Unlike Wynter, I do not imply that ‘we, Africans’ have been perennially underdeveloped in a “Western” scheme of material and teleological development and necessarily so. Rather, under a Hegelian conception, as I have claimed, ‘we, Africans’ have been transiently underdeveloped by virtue of the early stage wherein ‘we, Africans’ have not yet freely recognized the fullest extent that what counts as objective, obligatory, and desirable for us are matters whose authority and rationality are open to failure and thereby open to ongoing alteration, evincing the openness of ‘we, Africans’ to the freedom of all as individuals in an amplifying and ongoing way.

What people of African descent as ethno-racial singularities have thought, desired, and did, and why they thought, desired, and did it in the face and setting of oppressive institutions, such as colonialism, enslavement, persistent racist and sexist denigration, and their aftermaths, would be, for Hegel, “matters” subject to re-evaluation, to spirit returning to itself, only after following what ‘we, Africans’ have grasped and reconstructed what ‘we, Africans’ were dedicated to enacting, recognized as ‘our’ thoughts, desires, and deeds. Oppressive institutions such as these “peculiar” ones were and, in more places than not, still resonate as coins of the realm.

Their real historical purpose as impediments to both the human self-development and material development of African as well as other non-white ethno-racial singularities has been and is still evident. But, since they are of the “spiritual world,” they may not preclude, in the light of Hegel’s conception of “development,” other institutions and practices, consistent with the impetus pertinent to those singularities being free, if and only if that consistency is expressed in a manner wherein even the background assumption, not just the explicit claim, of stifling that impetus, stemming from oppressive institutions, is either non-existent or not in force. This does not take out root and branch oppressive institutions and the purposes they advance. But it does provide the condition for struggle against them and for the sake of sharing motivational and justifiable reasons at one with both being free and seeking to think and act under the “idea of freedom.”

[i] G.W.F. Hegel, Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts, eds. E. Moldenhauer and K. Michel, (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1970), §57, p. 124 [My translation.]; Elements of the Philosophy of Right, ed. A Wood, trans. H.B. Nisbet (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), §57, p. xxx. Be mindful that the position Hegel takes on Africa can be found later in this text as well.

[ii] G.W.F. Hegel, Vorlesung über die Philosophie der Weltgeschichte: Band I: Die Vernunft in der Geschichte, ed., J.Hoffmeister, (Hamburg: Felix Meiner, 1994) p. xxx; Lectures on the Philosophy of World History: Introduction, trans., H.B. Nisbet, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984) p. 190. Hereafter cited as LPWH.

[iii] It is usually held that early stages, represented by non-European forms of life, in the developmental sequence of Hegel’s philosophy of history represent failed versions of a philosophical (normative) history of European life. In short, an inflexible developmental sequence across races. Although not argued here, I claim instead that such stages are the start of a philosophical (normative) history of spirit’s normative development dispersed throughout and within an ethno-racial plurality/variety of forms of life. That sequence would not move inflexibly from non-European forms of life to a European form of life as the end-state. Rather it would be embodied in the dispersal and variations of contingencies grounded and open to reason’s aims flexibly and multilaterally for spirit’s normative development, from being underway to being achieved in an ongoing way, within each ethno-racial form of life. See G.W.F. Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of World History, p. 55.

[iv] In contrast, see Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (African Tree Press, 2014).

[v] “Development,” p. 302

[vi] Ibid., p. 305.

[vii] Besides Kane and Kristeva, Wynter both alludes to the works of Mudimbe, Blumenberg, Rorty, and Foucault among others and operates with the presumptions of Fanon and Lacan.

[viii] Although Wynter does not employ at all the term “onto-theological” in a Kantian vein, she does so partly in a Heideggerian one to which, she believes, we are connected. For Kant, “onto-theology” is itself one of two metaphysical versions representative of “transcendental theology.” It tries to demonstrate the existence of God by means of concepts alone. It stands in contrast to “cosmo-theology,” which tries to demonstrate the existence of God by means of a general experience, which is deprived of any firmer location in the world on and to which that experience would be based and pertinent respectively. For Heidegger, “onto-theology” is itself the condition of metaphysics. It is strongly tied to the “Seinsfrage,” the question of Being, as a matter critical of the ontological grounding principle, as first cause, of entities, which is tied to the theological idea of the creator God as highest being. For Wynter, ontology admits to the presence of non-being or lack of being, an ontological incompleteness of reality making possible a void in knowledge. But its theological connection is to the idea of the God of salvation, not of creation, thus addressing who is worthy of being saved or not, which indelibly marks the array of those who are deemed unworthy of salvation as deemed worthy of various types of human subordination. Each type of human subordination represents one of two ways of being human and runs contrary to the humanly superordinate other way in a culturally codified “sense of right.” As we shall see, a liminal category enables those subject to human subordination to be aesthetically reactive to a normative indifference non-being or the lack of being supposedly provides.

[ix] “Development,” p. 305. Relational categories are categorial pairs, originating under a single heading in Kant’s logic (substance & accident; cause & effect; community & disjunction). Each pair is comprehended and recognized as the manner wherein a proposition stands in connection to its condition  Each is rule-determining of the orientation of the intellect to employ concepts for the formation of inferences in the acquisition to knowledge of objects, an acquisition not grasped, for example in Aristotelian logic. Liminal categories, on the other hand, may appear as a categorial pair, but are dependent on which one of the two the “onto-theological” difference of being human is operative. A pair does not represent a proposition’s relation to its condition but is itself subject to the “onto-theological” difference of being human, thereby sequestering the pair’s inferential impact on cognitive and ethical behaviors and perspectives.

[x] See Ashis Nandy, “Colonization of the Mind” in The Post-Development Reader, eds. M. Rahnema & V. Bawtree, (London: Zed Books, 1997), pp. 168-78. Also see Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Decolonizing the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature

[xi] “Being underdeveloped” would entail that the dismal environment surrounding one as “underdeveloped” is understood in terms of how it fits into a longstanding failure of “development’s purpose, a failure to which one unproblematically acquiesces and with which one is unreflectively familiar. Under the “post-development” thesis, “being underdeveloped” represents a kind of overpowering “fatigue”, both cognitively and practically, with “development.” Under the “onto-theological” thesis, “being underdeveloped” represents a kind of modern cybernetic/technological framing of the problem of being human subordinately.

[xii] “Development,” p. 310.

[xiii] “Unsettling,” p. 330. Wynter would put the matter thusly. “Underdevelopment” is “effected by means of a redescription parallel to that by means of which the lay humanists had invented Man and its Human Others in the reoccupied place of the Christian genre of the human and its pagan/idolator/Enemies-of-Christ/Christ-killer/infidel Others.” It would be the emergence of a “new descriptive statement” both parallel and re-anchored to “being other-worldly unsaved.”

[xiv] It is possible to construe liminality as “indeterminately,” not “determinately,” negative.

[xv] As Hegel puts the matter—“The I is now this subjectivity, this infinite relation to itself, but therein, namely in this subjectivity, lies its negative relation to itself, diremption, differentiation, judgment. The I judges, and this constitutes it as consciousness; it repels itself from itself; this is a logical determination.” See G.W.F. Hegel, Berlin Phenomenology, trans. M. Petry (Dordrecht: Reidel, 1981), p. 2?

[xvi] There is a paradox here. This scenario goes a long way in explaining not that Africans could not reason or think by nature. But it yields the same racist result that they were historically stifled and precluded from maneuvering and “playing” in the so-called “space of reasons.” By throttling such “play,” Africans were subject to that which could be thought for them rather than endorsing the latitude by which they could express their thought in that “space.” This point shall be a matter of discussion in later chapters regarding spirit.

[xvii] “Development,” p. 305.

[xviii] Ibid.

[xix] The classic example of this “inexplicable novelty”, given the analysis so far, would be the European stance toward the Saint Domingue Revolution, a matter to be taken up elsewhere.

[xx] “Development,” p. 310

[xxi] Ibid., pp. 310-11. My emphases.

[xxii] Ibid., pp. 312-13. After speaking of the “second emergence,” Wynter continues to state “…the only possible viable strategy is an epistemological revolution and epochal second emergence by which ‘we-the-underdeveloped’ intelligentsia who feel ourselves ‘clumsy’ in a world of ‘mechanistic’ explanatory models transferred reductively form a natural-scientific order of truth to a culture-systemic order of being/reality, will seek to complete the only ‘partial truth’ of the West’s science by means of the third ‘true victory,’ which refers to this “new human-species interest.”

[xxiii] “Unsettling,” p. 260.

[xxiv] Sylvia Wynter, The Ceremony Must Be Found: After Humanism” in boundary 2, vol. 12, no. 3 (Spring-Autumn, 1984), pp. 19-70. Hereafter cited as “Ceremony.”

[xxv] “Development,” p. 312.

[xxvi] LPWH, p. 127.

[xxvii] Ibid., p. 55. [My translation.] My focus on this note for this chapter does not address the subject’s assertion and maintenance of its own “conscience and morality.” Rather it addresses the subject’s assertion and maintenance of its own “universal ends.” For an excellent consideration of the former, see Dean Moyar, Hegel’s Conscience (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010).

[xxviii] Ibid., p. 149. [My translation]

[xxix] Ibid., p.59; VPW, p. 69

[xxx] I draw this conclusion from Christine Korsgaard’s essay on the “shareability” of reasons. See her “The Reasons We Can Share: An Attack on the Distinction between Agent-Relative and Agent-Neutral Values” in Creating the Kingdom of Ends (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 275-310.

[xxxi] It would also raise the paradoxical question of what significance is drawn from having as an aim or purpose “being unhistorical.”

[xxxii] G.W.F. Hegel, Enzyklopädie der philosophischen Wissenschaften–Logik, vol.8, eds. E. Moldenhauer & K.M. Michel (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1969-70), §234, p. xxx; Hegel’s Logic: Being Part One of the Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences, trans. W. Wallace, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982), §234, pp. 302-03.  [My translation; my additions].


  • Frank M. Kirkland

    Frank M. Kirkland is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, both of the City University of New York (CUNY). He is the co-editor, with D.P. Chattopadhaya, of Phenomenology: East and West: Essays in Honor of J.N. Mohanty (Springer, 1993) and the co-editor, with Bill E. Lawson, of Frederick Douglass: A Critical Reader (Blackwell, 1999). Besides writing a small monograph on Du Bois, The Problem of the Color Line: Normative or Empirical, Evolving or Non-Evolving (George Mason UP, 2005), Kirkland has published articles on Kant, Hegel, and Husserl, as well as on Douglass, Du Bois, Hegel and the Haitian Revolution, and the theme of modernity and intellectual life in the African diaspora. He is currently at work on a monograph, titled Hegel’s Idealism and the Black Atlantic Tradition. Two essays, “Kant on Race and Transition” and “Hegel on Race and Development,” are both included in The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Race (Routledge, 2018), co-edited by Paul C. Taylor, Linda Martín Alcoff, and Luvell Anderson. His essay “Alexander Crummell’s Three Visions of Black Nationalism” is in Melvin Rogers and Jack Turner’s co-edited volume, African American Political Thought: A Collected History (University of Chicago Press).

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Latest Issue

2024: Vol. 23, No. 2

Latest Issue

2024: Vol. 23, No. 2

By Amal Jamal: A Humanist Perspective on the Causes, Reasonings and Consequences of the Israeli-Palestinian War

By Menachem Klein: A New Judaism?*

By Melvyn Dubofsky: Has Labor Reawakened?

By Loren T. Cannon: The Backlash Continues: How Two Recent SCOTUS Rulings Pose a Threat to LGBTQ+ and Especially Trans and Gender Non-Binary Persons

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By Allen Wood: Kant After Three Centuries

By Joy James: Marcuse’s Most Famous Student: Angela Davis on Critical Theory and German Idealism*

By Frank M. Kirkland: Africa, We the Underdeveloped: Wynter’s Discontent in the Light of Hegel’s Conception of Development

By Mark Epstein: Pasolini’s Aesthetics

By Rainer Funk: Erich Fromm’s Contribution to Critical Theory

By Marsha Hinds Myrie , Lex Dulong , Jillian Uniacke: Joy James’s New Bones Abolition

By Peter Hudis: Determinism and Freedom: A Review of Michael Löwy’s Rosa Luxemburg: The Incendiary Spark

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