1st Edition

Indigenous, Modern and Postcolonial Relations to Nature Negotiating the Environment

By Angela Roothaan Copyright 2019
    180 Pages
    by Routledge

    180 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Indigenous, Modern and Postcolonial Relations to Nature contributes to the young field of intercultural philosophy by introducing the perspective of critical and postcolonial thinkers who have focused on systematic racism, power relations and the intersection of cultural identity and political struggle.

    Angela Roothaan discusses how initiatives to tackle environmental problems cross-nationally are often challenged by economic growth processes in postcolonial nations and further complicated by fights for land rights and self-determination of indigenous peoples. For these peoples, survival requires countering the scramble for resources and clashing with environmental organizations that aim to bring their lands under their own control. The author explores the epistemological and ontological clashes behind these problems. This volume brings more awareness of what structurally obstructs open exchange in philosophy world-wide, and shows that with respect to nature, we should first negotiate what the environment is to us humans, beyond cultural differences. It demonstrates how a globalizing philosophical discourse can fully include epistemological claims of spirit ontologies, while critically investigating the exclusive claim to knowledge of modern science and philosophy.

    This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of environmental philosophy, cultural anthropology, intercultural philosophy and postcolonial and critical theory.

    Preface and Acknowledgments

    1. A World of Motion and Emergence: an Outline of what’s at stake

    2. Ending the Othering of Indigenous Knowledge in Philosophy and the Ontological Turn in Cultural Anthropology

    3. When the Spirits were banned: Kant versus Swedenborg

    4. The Return of (animal) Spirits in the Modern Western World

    5. Deconstructing or Decolonizing the Human–Animal Divide

    6. Vital Force: A Belgico-African Missionary’s Spirited Philosophy

    7. Decolonizing Nature: the Case of the Mourning Elephants

    8. Spirited Trees – Negotiating secular, religious and traditionalist frameworks

    9. Blurred, Spirited and Touched: from ‘the Study of Man’ to an Anim(al)istic Anthropology




    Angela Roothaan is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the Faculty of Humanities at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Her research focuses on African intercultural philosophy, philosophy of values and spirit ontologies. She has published books (in Dutch) on Spinoza, on nature in ethics, on truth, on spirituality and on ghosts/spirits in modern culture. Together with P. Nullens and S. van den Heuvel she published the edited volume Theological Ethics and Moral Value Phenomena: The Experience of Values (Routledge, 2017). Her philosophical blog can be found here: http://angelaroothaan.wordpress.com

    "Roothaan’s Indigenous, Modern and Postcolonial Relations to Nature takes a fresh approach to dialogue between modern Western and indigenous or traditional approaches to nature. She neither insists that non-Western environmentalisms follow Western science before dialogue can begin, nor does she turn non-Western approaches to nature into a version of Romanticism. This book will be of interest to African philosophers and other non-Western philosophers, intercultural philosophers, environmental humanists, anthropologists, postcolonial studies scholars, and many others." 
    Bruce Janz, Department of Philosophy and Center for Humanities & Digital Research, University of Central Florida


    "Dr Roothaan’s inspiring quest for an intercultural rendering of human relations to nature challenges the modernist epistemological monopoly. Arguing convincingly that indigenous systems of knowledge are equally viable, this book shows how they provide promising models for a negotiation of the environment in this era of global environmental threats."
    Dr Pius Mosima, University of Bamenda, Cameroon