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07.08.2021 11:53 Alter: 3 yrs

A Call for the Desuperiorization of Philosophy and the Foundation of Superaltern Studies

Conference Announcement

Theme: A Call for the Desuperiorization of Philosophy and the Foundation of Superaltern Studies
Type: International Philosophical Conference
Institution: Conversational Society of Philosophy
Location: Online
Date: 11.–13.8.2021

It seems Western thought, to this day, has not sufficiently
recognized its superioristic danger as the danger that it is! When
considering contemporary contexts, this danger remains real. The
foreign, the other, is stigmatized or re-stigmatized. Western thought
remains dangerous. The West must finally take this seriously and
critically evaluate its value as a normative authority. It would
hardly be surprising if we indeed find that a lot of contemporary
problems have grown forth from the pseudo-self-evident superiority of
the white, heterosexual, male human being many of the Enlightenment
thinkers tried so vigorously to defend by manipulating philosophy.
The West needs to understand itself, needs to understand all the
intricacies of its superiorism, its superalternity and finally start
working on the desuperiorization of its thought.

We want to stimulate a discussion that Western thought must
understand that its central task must be its Desuperiorization. We
need to establish Superaltern Studies. We need to understand the
superiorism of Western thought. We need to understand it deeply to be
able to identify and avoid it. We need to understand why Western
thought and Western action so often brought exploitation and
humiliation with it. The Enlightenment did not only introduce a new
understanding of the value of the human being, it also introduced a
new level of dehumanization. Philosophy did not only argue to treat
all human beings humanely, it – implicitly and explicitly – worked at
the same time on reducing the numbers of those who were human enough
to be treated humanely. This seems to have been one the most
important intellectual self-deception moves that enabled so many
philosophers to be humanist and anti-humanist at the same time: to
simply disregard the humanness of those mistreated.

We want to understand how superiorism has, and continues to play out,
in terms of the colonialism and neocolonialism that has continued to
affect much of the global south. We need to see how decoloniality
expresses itself, and should express itself, as a necessary response
to superiorization and inferiorization, as well as the psychological
baggage that comes with it. We need to also examine the
epistemological effects of superiorization, which has presented
itself in what scholars have termed "epistemic injustice", "epistemic
harm", and/or "epistemic violence". How has this affected scholarship
and knowledge production and must it be resisted? How do we balance
identity and pride with the devastating effects of superiorization
and Othering?


Robert Bernasconi, Pennsylvania State University, USA
Benda Hofmeyr, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Elvis Imafidon, University of London, England
Janine Jones, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, USA
Siseko Kumalo, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Dimpho Takane Maponya, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Veli Mitova, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Ana Paula Coelho Rodrigues, University of Paderborn, Germany
Boaventura des Santos Sousa, University of Coimbra, Portugal /
University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
Natsu Taylor Saito, Georgia State University, USA
Abraham Tobi, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Mpho Tshivhase, University of Pretoria, South Africa

The event will be held online. Please register here:

Organization Committee

Björn Freter, Independent Researcher, Knoxville, TN, USA
Aribiah Attoe, Conversational Society of Philosophy, South Africa

For any questions, please write to:

Conference website: