1st Edition

An African Feminist Philosophy of Language

By Olayinka Oyeleye Copyright 2025
    140 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book calls for the institution of an African feminist philosophy of language, challenging existing debates and encouraging a move away from the Western gaze.

    The book begins with an analysis of the philosophical context of African feminism, and a call for the decolonization of epistemological discourse. Oyeleye then goes on to consider how indigenous patriarchies play out in the cultural reality of the Yoruba in particular, ontologically unpacking the nature of woman as expressed in language, especially in myths and proverbs. Challenging the derogatory language found in proverbs which entrench patriarchal oppression, the book advocates for feminist postproverbials: new proverbs which draw on old traditions but reconstruct the space of woman in a new, egalitarian rhetorical tradition. The book concludes by outlining the conditions necessary for African feminist philosophers to consider language as a decolonizing space which can help to push through the agenda of social change.

    This book will be an important resource for researchers from across the fields of gender and women studies, feminist philosophy, philosophy of language, cultural studies, and African studies.

    Foreword by Obioma Nnaemeka


    Introduction: On a Subversive Feminist Rhetoric

    1. What is Woman? Conceptualising Feminism(s)

    2. Feminist Scholarship and the Politics of Language in Africa

    3. The Dehumanized Woman in History, Philosophy and Culture

    4. Between Proverbs and Postproverbials

    5. Towards an African Feminist Philosophy of Language


    Olayinka Oyeleye holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Her research profiles articulates an interdisciplinary platform that straddles African feminist philosophy, philosophy of language, and African gender and ethical discourses. Her essays have appeared in many distinguished publications.