Optional Course 4A

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Optional Course 4A

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    African Studies, Ethnic Studies

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    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.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course Objective
    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
    anti-racist ways

    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

    Course Content
    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.

    Teaching Methods
    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.

    Entry Requirements
    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
    MacMillan, 2009

    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.

    Target Audience
    This course is primarily intended for second and third year Philosophy
    bachelor students. Other interested students: contact the teachers
    before enrolling.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.


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