How to Leave Modernity Behind: The Relationship Between Colonialism and Enlightenment, and the Possibility of Altermodern Decoloniality

Britta Saal: University of Düsseldorf



Starting from the fact that we all share modern history while at the same time having very different and sometimes contrasting experiences of what modernity is, I’d first like to look at the connection between colonialism and Enlightenment, because the modern norms and values developed then are still discussed very actively on the global scale. One of the major problems that constrain the transcendence of the colonial impact of these norms and values is the colonized mind. It is very clear that it is necessary to decolonize both the colonized and the colonizer’s minds. Here the project of conceptual decolonization, formulated by the Ghanaian philosopher Kwasi Wiredu, serves as a very fruitful basis for further reflections. Finally, with regard to Wiredu and other intercultural, postcolonial, and decolonial approaches, an idea of what conceptual decolonization of modernity could mean will be proposed for further discussion.


intercultural philosophy, postcolonial theory, African philosophy, conceptual decolonization, modernity

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