Call for Proposals: Mini-Conference & Book Project

Title: Ubuntu – A Comparative Study of an African Concept of Justice
Publisher: KU – Leuven University Press (under contract)
Abstracts (200 words max.)
Submission deadline: March 31, 2021

Paul Nnodim, Ph.D. (Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, USA)
Austin Okigbo, Ph.D. (University of Colorado, Boulder, USA)

This book will be an in-depth study of the meaning, application, and comparative analysis of Ubuntu – an African concept of justice, well-being, and communal practice. The cross-cultural approach will allow for a deeper understanding of Ubuntu’s meaning, limitations, permutations, and contributions to new ways of understanding justice based on the organization of human societies and peaceful co-existence among peoples. The book will have three parts:

• Part I: The Philosophy of Ubuntu
• Part II: Ubuntu and African Concepts of Justice
• Part III: Ubuntu and Western/other Concepts of Justice

Part I: The Philosophy of Ubuntu
What does Ubuntu mean? Ubuntu’s definition and the space it occupies within African philosophy are still subject to scholarly disagreement. This section of the book will concentrate on fleshing out the epistemic significance and indigenous nuances surrounding Ubuntu’s meaning. It will provide scholars interested in both African studies and philosophy the opportunity to elucidate the concept further by exploring its varied applications in different African cultures, including its articulations in expressive forms.

Part II: Ubuntu and African Concepts of Justice
Although Ubuntu is a traditional and philosophical concept found among several Bantu culture groups of East and Southern Africa, similar ideas exist among ethnic groups in other parts of Africa. For example, among the Igbo of West Africa, the concept of “Ofo na Ogu” or justice and uprightness would make an excellent comparative study with Ubuntu. Other topics centered on justice and equity as the moral basis of the organization of society in Africa are welcome.

Part III: Ubuntu and Western/other Concepts of Justice
This section of the book will be a comparative study of Ubuntu and other (occidental, oriental, and Latin American, etc.) views of justice. We encourage African scholars, especially those working in the West, and Western scholars conversant with the African realities, to contribute to this section of the book. Potential topics include “Ubuntu and human rights,” “Ubuntu and liberal egalitarianism,” “Ubuntu and capitalism,” “Ubuntu and social liberalism,” Ubuntu and liberal individualism, etc.

Please email your abstracts to [email protected]

Austin Okigbo, Ph.D.
Musicology Chair, and Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology and Africana Studies
University of Colorado, Boulder Colorado, USA
[email protected]

• Proposal deadline: March 31, 2021
• Acceptance notice: April 30
• Conference Date (Tentative): Last week of July (Friday/Saturday 30/31), 2021.

NOTE: Accepted presenters will be expected to submit their completed manuscripts by the end of August for the peer-review process.