The Spiritual Exercise of Sankofa: Toward a Post-Colonial, Pluralistic, and Intercultural Philosophy


Philosophy has notably struggled in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries to come to terms with how it participated in the erasure and invisibility of persons across the globe. Western philosophy over hundreds of years found itself immersed in the colonial project, in all its economic, social, political, legal, disciplinary, and aesthetic dimensions. Its logic of Western racial superiority, grounded in eugenics, social Darwinism, and deterministic accounts of racial realism, grew and deepened, especially in Europe and the Americas. No domain was free, even Hugo Grotius’ grand work on international law and diplomacy, Mare Liberum (The Free Sea) was founded in justifying Dutch colonial seizures of ships and resources.  The haunting of those shorn of their dignity besets us. We have forgotten, in a sense to go “backwards”; not just to “bracket” our stories of the world, but to see the persons we have continued to ignore through certain horizons of dominating meaning. It has been up to these people to find themselves even when under the erasure of the dominant mode of history, and in turn they have much to teach those of us willing to turn back to listen.

How to cite:

Kramer, Eli. “The Spiritual Exercise of Sankofa: Toward a Post-Colonial, Pluralistic, and Intercultural Philosophy.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 7, no. 1 (2023):  1-5. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2023.0001.


Eli Kramer
Institute of Philosophy, University of Wrocław
ul. Koszarowa 3/20, 51-149 Wrocław, Poland

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