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Beyond the Doctrine of ManDecolonial Visions of the Human$
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Joseph Drexler-Dreis and Kristien Justaert

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780823286898

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823286898.001.0001

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African Humanism: Between the Cosmic and the Terrestrial

African Humanism: Between the Cosmic and the Terrestrial

(p.161) Chapter 7 African Humanism: Between the Cosmic and the Terrestrial
Beyond the Doctrine of Man

Patrice Haynes

Fordham University Press

This chapter explores the anthropocentrism of African indigenous religions, with a focus on the religious traditions of the Yoruba peoples (south-west Nigeria). In doing so it hopes to disclose an alternative vision of the human to that of what Sylvia Wynter calls “Man,” the figure at the heart of colonial modernity. While the humanistic orientation of African indigenous religion could be understood in a Feuerbachian sense, this chapter argues that such an approach fails to address the Eurocentric assumptions in Feuerbach’s anthropological analysis of religion. Drawing on ritual studies and recent efforts to rehabilitate the idea of “animism,” the chapter goes on to sketch what it calls an “animist humanism.” The aim here is to articulate a religious anthropocentrism that indicates how thinking with African indigenous religions might enable us to think beyond the doctrine of Man.

Keywords:   animism, anthropocentrism, Feuerbach, Sylvia Wynter, Yoruba

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