In My Fathers House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture

Paperback | May 1, 1993

byKwame Anthony Appiah

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The beating of Rodney King and the resulting riots in South Central Los Angeles. The violent clash between Hasidim and African-Americans in Crown Heights. The boats of Haitian refugees being turned away from the Land of Opportunity. These are among the many racially-charged images that haveburst across our television screens in the last year alone, images that show that for all our complacent beliefs in a melting-pot society, race is as much of a problem as ever in America. In this vastly important, widely-acclaimed volume, Kwame Anthony Appiah, a Ghanaian philosopher who now teaches at Harvard, explores, in his words, "the possibilities and pitfalls of an African identity in the late twentieth century." In the process he sheds new light on what it means to bean African-American, on the many preconceptions that have muddled discussions of race, Africa, and Afrocentrism since the end of the nineteenth century, and, in the end, to move beyond the idea of race. In My Father's House is especially wide-ranging, covering everything from Pan Africanism, to the works of early African-American intellectuals such as Alexander Crummell and W.E.B. Du Bois, to the ways in which African identity influences African literature. In his discussion of the lattersubject, Appiah demonstrates how attempts to construct a uniquely African literature have ignored not only the inescapable influences that centuries of contact with the West have imposed, but also the multicultural nature of Africa itself. Emphasizing this last point is Appiah's eloquent titleessay which offers a fitting finale to the volume. In a moving first-person account of his father's death and funeral in Ghana, Appiah offers a brilliant metaphor for the tension between Africa's aspirations to modernity and its desire to draw on its ancient cultural roots. During the Los Angeles riots, Rodney King appeared on television to make his now famous plea: "People, can we all get along?" In this beautiful, elegantly written volume, Appiah steers us along a path toward answering a question of the utmost importance to us all.

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From Our Editors

In this vastly important, widely-acclaimed volume, Appiah, a Ghanaian philosopher who now teaches at Harvard, explores what it means to be an African American, on the many preconceptions that have muddled discussions of face, Africa, and Afrocentrism since the end of the 19th century. A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

From the Publisher

The beating of Rodney King and the resulting riots in South Central Los Angeles. The violent clash between Hasidim and African-Americans in Crown Heights. The boats of Haitian refugees being turned away from the Land of Opportunity. These are among the many racially-charged images that haveburst across our television screens in the l...

Kwame Anthony Appiah is Professor of Afro-American Studies at Harvard University. His books include Assertion and Conditionals (1985), For Truth in Semantics (1986), Necessary Questions (1989), and the novel Avenging Angel (1991). He is currently editing the Oxford Book of African Literature.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 6.14 × 9.25 × 0.67 inPublished:May 1, 1993Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195068521

ISBN - 13:9780195068528

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From Our Editors

In this vastly important, widely-acclaimed volume, Appiah, a Ghanaian philosopher who now teaches at Harvard, explores what it means to be an African American, on the many preconceptions that have muddled discussions of face, Africa, and Afrocentrism since the end of the 19th century. A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

Editorial Reviews

"Appiah's concern is, he modestly states, 'with the situation of African intellectuals.' In the growing literature on the subject, nobody has defined that situation, as it exists now, more sharply; nobody has built so many bridges to a discourse that might be shared universally. Learned yetunpretentious, serious and witty, critical and kind--this book is bound to infuse debates among African intellectuals with new vigor and to engage philosophers, literary critics, anthropologists and others everywhere. One also wishes it would be read by politicians for its lucid analyses of racismas well as its demonstration of intellectual independence tempered by colonial and post-colonial experience."--Johannes Fabian, University of Amsterdam