Reading Ibn Khaldun in Kampala

Name of Journal
Journal of Historical Sociology
Main Author
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Volume Number: 
March 2017

Why would reading of Muqaddimah by teachers and students in the PhD program at Makerere Institute of social Research (MISR) be of interest to a wider audience? Alternatively, Why would a reading of a 14th century North African text be of interest to academics in 21st -century Kampala? Both questions belong to a wider reflection on the subject of universalization and particularization as aspects of a single process. The universalization of particular modes of thought goes alongside the particularization of other modes of thought. The centuries between the conquest of the Americas and the decolonization movement signified by Bandung witnesses two related movements in the history of thought.  On one hand, Eurocentric thought was elevated to a universal: on the other, non-European modes of thought were containerized as so many “traditions “ of no more than local significance. An assessment of the intellectual legacy of this period calls for a double task: alongside a critique of Euro centrism, an exploration of engagements across various non-European modes of thought bounded as so many discrete “traditions. “ This paper hopes to explore the difficulties involved in such an engagement in the period after Bandung. I begin with a brief reflection on MISR, the site of this exploration, before proceeding to the main subject matter of the paper. Read article.


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