The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

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Language, Culture and Decolonisation discusses the importance of language in decoloniality from a global perspective, and the decolonisation process from the disciplinary vantage points of history, politics, philosophy, and literary studies.

The book makes original contributions to our understanding of how, in Fanon’s words, colonialism gets under the skin of the colonised by taking control of a people’s history, language and culture, and denigrating all three. This edited volume examines classic and contemporary arguments that make the case for the importance of indigenous languages, including creole, in the cultural formation and expression of one’s identity. It also looks at arguments that make the case for the appropriation of the language of the coloniser as a method of subversion. French and English, for example, became the lingua franca of an elite pan-African intelligentsia.

This insightful book also shows how the coloniser, in promoting indigenous cultures and languages, may defuse and control potential political resistance, as we see in the case of the South African government and the Zulu nation.

Open Access

Product information

Format : 240mm x 168mm
Pages : 384
ISBN 13 : 978-0-7969-2612-8
Publish Year : August 2022
Rights : World Rights

Introduction: Language and Decoloniality in Context

David Boucher

  1. Language and liberation

David Boucher

  1. Decolonization and the Pedagogy of the Oppressed: Circulations and Language in the Postcolonial World’

Caio Simões de Araújo

  1. Language in Africa and the Impossibility of African Philosophy

M. John Lamola

  1. The place of colonial languages in Decolonial philosophy and practice

Brian Sibanda

  1. The Need to Decolonise the Language of Personhood (?)

Mpho Tshivhase

  1. African literature as Self-interpretive: the Prospects of Indigenous Reading Modes

Ignatius Chukwumah

  1. Decolonisation and the (Im)possibilities of Literary Language’

Sule Emmanuel Egya

  1. Revealing the Power of Language and Developing Theory from Historical Artefacts

Siseko H. Kumalo

  1. Colonialism, politics of belonging and reinvention of African cultures: The case of South Africa

Sifiso Ndlovu

  1. The Turn to Tradition: Colonialism, Class and the Making of the Zulu Identity

Bongani Ngqulunga

  1. The Politics of Knowledge Production and Publishing: The Case of the Zulu Society

Jabulani Sithole

  1. Minority Language Revitalization: European Conundrums

Colin H. Williams

Notes about the Authors and contributors


David Boucher is Professor of Political Philosophy and International Relations, Cardiff University and Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Johannesburg. He has published on a wide variety of subjects, including colonialism and decolonization; international relations; history of political thought; British Idealism; the political philosophy of R. G. Collingwood; and, cultural studies. He has held visiting fellowships in Oxford, the University of Johannesburg, Canterbury University, New Zealand, The Sun Yat Sen University, Taiwan; and the Australian National University. His most recent books are The Limits of Ethics in International Relations (2009), British Idealism: A Guide for the Perplexed (2011 with Andrew Vincent), Appropriating Hobbes: Legacies in Politics, Law and International Relations (2018), and Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen: Deaths and Entrances (2021 with Lucy Boucher). Boucher is the editor of the Special Issue, International Journal of Social Economics (2019), entitled Social and Economic Injustices of Colonialism.

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