Optional Course 4A
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Area of Study
African Studies, Race Studies
Taught In English
You should have completed the first year of the philosophy bachelor, or a comparable level.
Course Level Recommendations
ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.
Recommended U.S. Semester Credits3
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units4
Hours & Credits
This course connects to recent readings of the work of Jacques Derrida,
that focus on its concern with Africa and its importance for African
thinkers. Texts by Derrida and commentaries will be studied and actively
Specified learning goals:
1) You will learn about Derrida, and his relation to the African
continent and its philosophies
2) You will get acquainted with (parts of) the works of Derrida, and
learn how to read them through close-reading
3) You will study recent books and articles that deal with Derrida’s
concern with Africa and its importance for African thinkers
4) You will learn how to practice philosophy in critical, engaged, and
5) You will practice articulating your own questions and reflections
with regard to the study material
6) You will practice learning through dialogue in the classroom
This course wants to extend your knowledge of critical, deconstructive
and dialogical practices of thought, through a focus on Derrida’s work
in relation to Africa. Born in Algeria in a Jewish family, Derrida
extended his experiences with racism (especially during WW II) to a lasting commitment to the anti-apartheid struggle. From "White
Mythology" through "For Mandela" to "Specters of Marx" Derrida showed an
interest in and concern for Africans and the struggle against racism.
Raised with and inspired by European philosophers such as Husserl,
Heidegger and Marx, he read their works often with an anti-Euro-centrist
touch. His deconstructive political-philosophical moves are now gaining
increasing interest of Africanist and African philosophers. Reading
(parts of) the works themselves and their commentaries makes this course
an introduction to Derrida’s philosophy through a timely lense.
The sessions will have a mixed format: introductory lectures and group
discussions on the texts will be combined. You are also expected to do
self-study assignments, give a presentation and write a paper.
Method of Assessment
You will get grades for several assignments: a review (20% of your final
grade), a presentation (10% of your final grade) and an end paper (70%
of your final grade). You can complete the course by doing all
assignments satisfactorily and by actively participating in the
seminars, as further described in the course manual.
You should have completed the first year of the philosophy bachelor, or
a comparable level.
Texts will be read from:
Christopher Wise, Derrida, Africa and the Middle East, Palgrave
Grant Farred (ed.), Derrida and Africa. Jacques Derrida as a Figure for
African Thought, Rowman & Littlefield, 2020
Texts by Derrida will be announced through canvas.
This course is primarily intended for second and third year Philosophy
bachelor students. Other interested students: contact the teachers
Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.
Some courses may require additional fees.