CfP for a book on African proverbs in honour of Prof. John S. Mbiti

A CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS to a book on African proverbs in honor of Prof. John S. Mbiti Editors: Anne Kubai and Damaris Parsitau

Proposed title: Indigenous Epistemologies: African Proverbs on Human Relations, the Supernatural and the Environment

Prof. John Mbiti’s pioneering research and lifetime devotion to the study of African religions and philosophy is acclaimed globally. To honour Prof. Mbiti for his enormous contribution to scholarship, we are calling for essays to be put together in an edited volume.

When Prof. Mbiti gave his keynote speech at Egerton University during the AASR conference in 2012, he made a plea for research on African proverbs, which, in his view, is a theme that has not been adequately examined by African scholars of religion and philosophy. In his honor therefore, it is fitting for this volume to focus on a theme that he is interested in – that is the gap in current research on the philosophy and indigenous knowledge preserved in and transmitted through African proverbs.

With the processes of social change that have characterized the 21st Century, and the attendant weakening of ‘traditional’ social institutions, many societies are witnessing global challenges that call for multi- pronged responses. Without making the obvious reference to the terrain of social media, the question of knowledge – old and new – how it can be preserved, used and generated not only for social and economic advancement, but also as a common good in society, has come into sharp focus in recent times. One of the questions that needs to be answered is: what type of knowledge is not only necessary but also appropriate for different purposes? By focusing on African epistemologies through proverbs in his key note address at the African Association for the Study of Religions (AASR) conference in 2012, Prof. Mbiti called upon us at Egerton to take up the noble task of exploring this treasure of indigenous knowledge.

The contributions will take cognizance of Prof. Mbiti’s achievements in laying the foundation for the development of scholarship on African religion and philosophy, starting with his all-time classic, An Introduction to African religions and Philosophy, published in 1969. The essays in the edited volume therefore, will be organized around (though not limited to) the following three broad areas:

(a) Analysis of proverbs that speak to the issues of human relations and wellbeing

    •   social networks
    •   peace and conflict
    •   taboos, rituals, behavior, etc
    •   gender relations
    •   health – the body, sexuality, etc
    •   rites of passage

(b) Analysis of proverbs that address the relationship between the supernatural and human beings

  •   sacrifices
  •   prayers

(c) Analysis of proverbs that address the relationship between human beings and the

environment, nature or natural resources

  •   sacred places: mountains, rivers, shrines, animals, etc
  •   human connection to land, sea, etc


    – Submission of abstracts: 15-2-2017
    – Submission of first drafts of chapters: 30-7-2017
    – Comments from reviewers to authors: 30-10-2017
    – Submission of revised drafts: 30-12-2017

    Please, send your proposal for a contribution to the editors:
    Prof. Anne Kubai,
    Dr. Damaris Parsitau,;

    NB. A writers’ workshop to bring together the writers for two days is envisaged in the project, but this depends on the availability of funds.

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