* ENGLISH: Global Knowledge *

(WORLD MAP: AuthaGraph is the most precise world map to date. It’s an equal-area map projection invented by Hajime Narukawa in 1999. Here, the world is divided into 96 triangles, and the map preserves the sizes and shapes of all continents. Narukawa has won several prizes for the map, and it can be folded into a circular globe. In contrast, the standard Mercator projection of 1569 makes Greenland (2,2 million sq. km) look as large as Africa (30,8 mill. sq. km), even though Africa is more than 14 times as large. Mercator explicitly made the map for navigation on the oceans only. Yet, Google Maps etc. chose to use the Web Mercator projection in 2005) Ill.: AuthaGraph.com)

*** Center for Global and Comparative History of Ideas (Senter for global og komparativ idéhistorie, SGOKI) is an Oslo-based, non-commercial cooperative founded in April 2015 ***

(SGOKI on Facebook. SGOKI on Twitter: @SGOKIdehistorie) Dedicated to the study of cross-cultural connections and global interconnectedness, SGOKI is led by the global historian of ideas, author, and former editor-in-chief Dag Herbjørnsrud (E-mail: dag@sgoki.org Phone: +47 916 95 196). Info regarding academic papers and books: Google Scholar, ORCID: 0000-0003-1356-0368). Social media: Facebook account. Twitter: @DagHerbjornsrud

Chairperson of SGOKI’s board: Dr. Narpinder Singh (E-mail: kontakt@sgoki.org) 

Cooperation: SGOKI cooperates with a wide range of institutions (a list of Partners). The SGOKI projects have received support from The Norwegian Arts Council, The Freedom of Expression Foundation (Fritt Ord), and the Committee for Higher Education in Norway. More info at the About page.

The SGOKI project’s first published book was «Global Knowledge: Renaissance for a new Enlightenment» (in Norwegian: Globalkunnskap. Renessanse for en ny opplysningstid), 510 pp, published in Norwegian at the Scandinavian Academic Press, 2016, 2nd ed.: Oct 2018. More info at SGOKI’s Norw. site). 

ARTICLES: Below is info on Herbjørnsrud’s articles in English since December 2017: «The African Enlightenment» (Zera Yacob, Anton W. Amo, etc.); the untold story of the ancient women philosophers in the Global South (Gargi, Maitreyi, Ban Zhao, etc.); «The Real Battle of Vienna» (1683, on Christian-Muslim cooperation in Europe); «the radical philosophy of Egypt» (on Kemet & the text «The immortality of writers», c. 1200 BCE); «The Mesoamerican Philosophy Renaissance» (on Nahua, Maya thinking); the traditional atheist Carvaka/Lokayata schools in India (part II is on the influence on China/Europe); and the influence of Zhuangzi on Buber/Heidegger.
* Most of these texts are supposed to be decolonial, intersectional, and non-ethnocentric, and they are open access, peer-reviewed, and published in outlets such as Aeon, the Blog of the American Philosophical Association (APA), the Blog of the Journal of the History of Ideas, etc.

NB! Herbjørnsrud has now edited a special issue of the journal Cosmopolis(Brussels, issue no.2020, 3-4) on «Decolonizing the AcademyNgugi wa Thiong’o, a distinguished Professor and long-time candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature, is one of the contributors. Read Herbjørnsrud’s Editorial «Decolonization must be Global» (it includes the new text by Ngugi).

NB! The research paper «Beyond decolonizing: global intellectual history and reconstruction of a comparative method« by Dag Herbjørnsrud was published by the journal Global Intellectual History (a part of Routledge/Francis & Taylor) in November 2021 (Vol. 6, Issue 5, pp. 614-640) (published online: May 10, 2019). This article outlines the theoretical framework (a comparative method based on the terms complexity, connection, and comparison) for most of the texts on this site (which is bilingual; some texts are in Norwegian). The article has become the most read full article in the journal, and it is in «the top 5 % of all research outputs scored by Altmetric» (Among 19+ million articles. Altmetric score on Sept. 1, 2021: 91). For free access/PDF to the «Beyond decolonizing» article, please send an e-mail to kontakt@sgoki.org

The DOI of «Beyond decolonizing»: doi.org/10.1080/23801883.2019.1616310

NB! Two papers (18,000 words in total) on the «global Enlightenments», written by Dag Herbjørnsrud, are now printed (issue 3/2021, pp. 113-157) in the journal Dialogue and Universalism (which is published by the «Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences» & by the «Philosophy for Dialogue Foundation»). Excerpt from the Editorial by Robert Elliott Allison (Prof. at Soka Univ, California): «Dag Herbjørnsrud’s two articles, The Quest for a Global Age of Reason. Part I: Asia, Africa, the Greeks and the Enlightenment Roots, and The Quest for a Global Age of Reason. Part II: Cultural Appropriation and Racism in the Name of Enlightenment, comprise the most extensive and comprehensive contributions in the journal and undertake the ambitious goal of providing copious illustrations of non-European global enlightenments, an undertaking that moves us away from the standard monolithic idea that there was a single, European Enlightenment. In particular, Dag Herbjørnsrud highlights both civilizations and individuals of color whose contributions, though heralded at the times, have been largely forgotten. By so doing, Dag Herbjørnsrud opens the door to a wider appreciation of intellectually neglected regions of the world and their denizens, of the history of civilizations and of individuals who have made truly remarkable and foundational contributions to the civilization of the globe.» Excerpts from the papers and all info here.
Link at PhilPapers (Open Access): https://philpapers.org/rec/HERTQF-2 If any issue: kontakt@sgoki.org

NEWS: FALL 2022

INDIA: The YouTube channel «Cārvāka Lokāyata« has live streamed a 1.5 hours long interview with SGOKI’s global historian of ideas Dag Herbjørnsrud on the rational, skeptical, and atheist traditions of India, known as Lokayata, or Carvaka. The conversation is based on the two articles Herbjørnsrud has written for the American Philosophical Assocation (APA), namely «The Untold History of India’s vital atheist philosophy» and «India’s atheist influence on Europe, China, and science«. The stream «An Evening Session with Dag Herbjørnsrud» covers the Harappa culture, the Rigveda, the Upanishads, Mahabaratha, Ramayana, Aryabhata, Jayarasi, Al Biruni, the Mughal Emperor Akhbar, the Jesuits, the Dalits, China, etc. Direct link to the conversation, which includes questions from the audience. More info in this SGOKI article.

3 HIGHLIGHTED NEWS: SPRING 2022 

RAOUL PECK: Commissioned by the festival Films from the South (Film fra Sør), Herbjørnsrud has had a conversation with the director Raoul Peck regarding his latest HBO series «Exterminate All the Brutes». All info here. A video recording of the conversation (40 mins.) is available here.

NGUGI AT HOWARD: Info from Quantum Bio Lab (QBL) at Howard University (Washington DC): «On February 22, 2022, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o will deliver the inaugural Black History Month lecture as part of the QBL’s ‘Decolonizing the History and Future of Knowledge’ series. Prof. Ngũgĩ’s lecture will be followed by a discussion featuring panelists Ruha BenjaminDag Herbjørnsrud, and Philip Kurian.» A video recording of the lecture and discussion is available at QBL’s «Decolonizing Knowledge» page.

JOURNAL: Two articles by Herbjørnsrud, «The Quest for a Global Age of Reason» (Part I & II), are published in the latest issue of Dialogue and Universalism (3/2021). The Editor, Robert Elliott Allinson, writes about the papers in his Editorial «Do we need a new enlightenment in the twenty-first century?» (open access). The two «Quest papers» are Open Access at Philpapers, link here.

3 HIGHLIGHTED NEWS: FALL 2021 

HOWARD UNIVERSITY: On December 7 (1-3 pm EST), Herbjørnsrud delivered the lecture «Redefining the Canon: Science from across the Global South and Philosophy from Ethiopia, Egypt, and the First Nations of the Americas» for Quantum Bio Lab (QBL) at Howard University (Washington D.C.). The first in QBL’s «Decolonizing the History and Future of Knowledge» Series (followed by Ruha Benjamin on Jan 17, 2022, Ngugi wa Thiong’o on Feb 22). Click here for more info. Update: The lecture (c. 2h 15min), via Zoom, is now available at QBL’s site.

EXTERMINATE INTERVIEW: On November 14, Films from the South (Film fra Sør, Oslo) screened Herbjørnsrud’s interview with director Raoul Peck on his new HBO Series «Exterminate All the Brutes.» The conversation (40 mins.) is available here. All info here

BEYOND DECOLONIZING: In primo November, Herbjørnsrud’s paper «Beyond decolonizing: global intellectual history and reconstruction of a comparative method» was published on the pages 614-640 in Vol. 6, Issue 5 of the journal Global Intellectual History (the paper was published onoine in May 2019). All info here

NEWS: SPRING 2021

REVIEW OF HIGHER EDUCATION: Herbjørnsrud’s paper «Beyond decolonizing» is analyzed in the article «The Eyes of History Are Upon You: Toward a Theory of Intellectual Reconstruction for Higher Education in a Post-Truth Era» in the Winter 2021 issue (Vol. 44., No. 2) of The Review of Higher Education (Johns Hopkins University Press). The article is written by Professor and Assoc. Dean Richard J. Reddick and his colleague Z.W. Taylor, both at Texas State University. Excerpts: «Extending and synthesizing the work of Crozier (1901), Dewey (1920), W.E.B. Du Bois and Gates Jr. (2010), Hann and Hart (2011) and Herbjørnsrud (2019), the following section will forward a theory of intellectual reconstruction (…) «At the center of the theory is Herbjørnsrud’s (2019) emphasis on adopting a global comparative perspective (…)». All info here.

JOURNAL: A special issue on «Decolonizing the Academy« is published by the biannual journal Cosmopolis(Brussels) in Jan. 2021 (e-mail kontakt@sgoki.org in order to receive password). The author and Distinguished Professor (University of California) Ngugi wa Thiong’o (b. 1938) has contributed with the text «Decolonization must be global». The editor of the issue is Herbjørnsrud. Read his Editorial here. 

WEBINAR: Herbjørnsrud holds the webinar «Global Intellectual History: Reflections on Methodology and Raison d’être» at Aarhus University (Denmark) on March 25 2021. All info.

NEWS: FALL 2020

Article: Herbjørnsrud’s text on the Indian atheist philosophy of Carvaka/Lokayata is published by the Blog of the American Philosophical Association (APA). Part I (June 16): «The untold history of India’s vital atheist philosophy Part II (June 24): «India’s atheist influence on Europe, China, and science

Cited:  A special issue on «‘Other ways of knowing and doing’: Globalizing social science knowledge in higher education» is published by The International Education Journal: Comparative Perspectives (Vol. 19, No 1, 2020). The «Introduction» article (PDF link) is written by Assoc. Prof. Mousumi Mukherjee and Lecturer Nandita Koshal, both at the O.P. Jindal Global University (Haryana, India). The final paragraph in «Conclusion» ends: «We concur with the methodological draft for a global intellectual history and reconstruction of a global comparative perspective as a way forward in the twenty-first century, as proposed by Herbjørnsrud (2019). We hope that you enjoy reading these four papers and expand your epistemological horizon of “knowing and doing” from a global comparative perspective with a situated understanding of local histories and by engaging with the critical work of Indigenous intellectuals from India and countries around the world.» More citations here.

Required reading: The paper «Beyond decolonizing» (2019) is listed as «required reading» in the course «Colonial Spaces and Post-Colonial Studies: History and Methodologies» (2020-2021), Lesson 3 («Beyond Decolonizing»), held by Professor Lorenzo Kamel at the University of Turin (Italy).  

NEWS: SPRING 2020

American Philosophical Association (APA): The article «The Mesomerican Philosophy Renaissance» is published at the Blog of the APA on January 9, 2020.

Reading list: Herbjørnsrud’s Aeon essay «The African Enlightenment» is at the reading list of prof. Alex Guerrero’s reading group «African, Latin American, Native American Philosophy» at Rutgers University (New Jersey), spring 2020. Topic on Feb 6: «Early Modern African Philosophy: Zera Yacob and Anton Wilhelm Amo.»

February 7, 2020: Dag Herbjørnsrud holds the lecture «From Epistemicide to Global Knowledge: Reconstructing a Decolonised Academy» at the University of Cambridge, CRASSH, as part of the annual lecture series by Gloknos (Centre for Global Knowledge Studies, a partner of SGOKI). Reserve seats now. All info here. Location: SG1, Alison Richard Building, University of Cambridge. Time: 5:30-7:30 pm. (Notes/summary by Decolonising Through Critical Librarians)

February 10, 2020: Dag Herbjørnsrud holds the lecture «Intersectional Academy: Deconstructing the Colonial Narratives« as the CHRONOS Research Theme Launch Event for the new research theme «Silent Voices» at Royal Holloway, University of London. Location: 11 Bedford Square, Bloomsbury, London. Time: 5:30 pm.

February 25, 2020: Yale NUS professor Bryan van Norden holds the lecture «Learning from Chinese Philosophy» at the Intercultural Museum (IKM) of Oslo, Norway, in cooperation with SGOKI. More info.

NEWS: FALL 2019

ARTICLE: The article «L’histoire oubliée des pensées africaines» («The forgotten history of African ideas»), by Dag Herbjørnsrud, is published in the December-January issue of the magazine Sciences Humaines (France). All info here.

BOOK: The publisher Res Publica launched (Oct 28) the book Gå inn i din tid («Engaging with the World») by Herbjørnsrud. Subtitle: «Thomas Hylland Eriksen in Conversation with Dag Herbjørnsrud». (English website of social anthropology prof. Thomas Hylland Eriksen.) The book has received very positive reviews in the leading cultural newspapers of Norway. Link to all info (Norw.).

PODCAST: The Seize The Moment Podcast (FB-link) devotes its episode 21 (Sept 15, 2019) to an hour-long conversation with Herbjørnsrud. Title: «The Colonization of Intellectual Thought«. (Excerpt: «Excluding women and people of color from philosophy», 58 seconds, FB-link)

BOOK SERIES: Herbjørnsrud is appointed to the Editorial Review Board of Rowman & Littlefield International‘s new book series «Global Epistemics«, in Cooperation w Gloknos.

NEWS: SPRING 2019

Berliner Festspiele/Maerz Musik, March 23-25, 2019: Speech by Dag Herbjørnsrud, «Fake history,distorted world views.» Workshop: «Beyond Eurocentrism and Tribal History: Towards Decolonization and Connected Histories». More info here.

Georgetown: The Aeon essay «Before the canon: The non-European women who founded Philosophy» enters the reading schedule of «Introduction to Philosophy» at Georgetown University, Washington DC. All info here.

Listed: Four of Herbjørnsrud’s texts are listed at «Pieces on Non-‘Western’ Philosophy for a General Audience«.

NEWS – Fall of 2018

Halle, Germany: Anton Wilhelm Amo. An African in Early Modern Europe: Conference at Martin Luther University, Halle, Germany, Oct 29-31, 2018. Herbjørnsrud’s paper: «The Philosophy of Africa and the European Response: Reconstructing a Global and Comparative Perspective.»

African Students Association (ASA): Academia in a ‘Post-Colonial’ Era,  lecture at the University of Oslo for ASA, on Oct. 11, 2018. Main speaker: Dag Herbjørnsrud, SGOKI. Link to info/videos.

Radio: Interview at HistoryRadio.org regarding decolonizing the academy, Africa, Asia, and Europe, on Sept. 25, 2018.

7 open access texts by Herbjørnsrud in English (info below):

a) «Global History of Ideas: A Sea for Fish on Dry Land Blog of the Journal of the History of Ideas (US), Feb 2017: On Zhuangzi, Buber, Heidegger, and a sketch of a method for the discipline

b) «The African Enlightenment Aeon, Dec 2017: On Zera Yacob, Walde Heywat, Anton Wilhelm Amo, the Haitian Revolution, and the racism of Hume, Kant, Locke, and Voltaire.

c) «The Real Battle of Vienna Aeon, July 2018: On Breivik, Sobieski & the Lipka Tatars. On the Ottomans & the Protestant Thököly and the French Sun King. On Muslim-Christian cooperation.

d) «First Women of PhilosophyAeon, November 2018: On Gargi & Maitreyi (the Upanishads), Sulabha, Akka Mahadevi (India), Jing Jiang, Ban Zhao, Mei Danran (China), Im Yunjidang (Korea), Rabia of Basra (today’s Iraq), Aisha al-Ba’uniyya (Syria), Nana Asma’u (Nigeria), Sor Juana (Mexico), Elisabeth of Boehemia (Europe), etc.

e) «The Radical Philosophy of Egypt: Forget God and Family, Write!,» Blog of the American Philosophical Association (APA), December 2018.

f) «Beyond decolonizing: global intellectual history and reconstruction of a comparative method«, Global Intellectual History (May, 2019).

g) «The Mesoamerican Philosophy Renaissance«, Blog of the American Philosophical Association (APA) (January 2020)

Praise for «Global Knowledge. Renaissance for a New Enlightenment» (Norwegian: Globalkunnskap, 2016 – 2nd ed. 2018, not translated

«An enormously important project.» Professor of social anthropology at the University of Oslo, Thomas Hylland Eriksen, during a 30 min. talk about Global Knowledge at national public radio (NRK P2).

Ny bok fra SGOKI: Globalkunnskap. Renessanse for en ny opplysningstid
New book: Globalkunnskap. Renessanse for en ny opplysningstid (2016), Norw. version. By Dag Herbjørnsrud.

«The book Global Knowledge tries to re-build a history of ideas which is much more inclusive than the one we find at Norwegian universities today… Maybe the experimental Globalkunnskap, which puts weight to the societal (and political) role of the educational system, can be of inspiration for other places than Norway as well – as one here often is deaf to what comes to us from ‘the outside’.» Reviewer, philosopher of science and doctoral student at the University of Lisboa, Naïd Mubalegh, Salongen

«A very ambitious attempt at breaking with the in our times all-too-widespread structures of methodological and epistemological nationalism and ethnocentrism.» Researcher Sindre Bangstad, KIFO – Centre for Church Research

«Refreshing read in a time characterized by new and often unconsidered nationalism both in Europe and other places. This project has parallels with both the Big-History movement.. and the tradition of global history that I’m a part of, but Herbjørnsrud’s global knowledge is aligned with history of ideas and is about identity and self-understanding.» Reviewer, associate professor of history at the University of Bergen, Eivind Heldaas Seland, Globalhistorie

«After having read Globalkunnskap you have a much further outlook, and a much better starting point in order to understand  the basis for how we think.» Reviewer Nora Warholm Essahli, Sosiologen

«Herbjørnsrud shows us that the world seems to be both larger and smaller than we are being taught to believe… It is not done in a jiffy to grasp the totality of his revolutionary project. But Herbjørnsrud creates the thirst of knowledge in me because he knows how to provoke.» Reviewer Andrew P. Kroglund, the journal Prosa

«Herbjørnsrud has written a very important book about the most important political phenomenon of our time…» Reviewer Paal Frisvold, the monthly Ny Tid

PRAISE FOR AEON ARTICLE: «Your essay is absolutely one of the all time great Aeon essays and perhaps the most shared internationally – quite extraordinary and a wonder achievement on your part.»

Sam Dresser, editor at Aeon, on Dag Herbjørnsrud’s essay «The African Enlightenment» (Dec 2017), which covers the Ethiopian philosopher Zera Yacob (1599-1692) and the Ghana-born philosopher Anton Wilhelm Amo (ca 1705-1755).

PROJECT: Decolonizing the Academy

  • The paper «Beyond Eurocentrism and Tribal History: Towards Decolonization and Connected Histories» was presented by Dag Herbjørnsrud at the INTH-conference at Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden, on August 21st, 2018. ABSTRACT HERE.
  • Norway’s first public debate on decolonizing the academy was held at the University of the Life Sciences (Ås), on the outskirts of Oslo, on April 30th 2018, 5-8 p.m. The debate was hosted by SAIH Ås and Ubuntu. Speakers: Prof. Peter Gufu Oba and Dag Herbjørnsrud. INFO IN ENGLISH: «UBUNTU and SAIH-Ås are happy to invite you a rich discussion regarding the decolonization of academia. Join us to discuss the dominance of western ideology and its suppression of «others» in academia with renowned historian Dag Herbjørnsrud and learn about decolonizing in practice with Noragric Professor Peter Gufu Oba.» (In April 2018, SAIH declared that they are working for a decolonizing of academia («Avkolonisering av høyere utdanning«).

6 open access texts in English, based on SGOKI’s «global knowledge project»:

I. «The Mesoamerican Philosophy Renaissance«, Blog of the American Philosophical Association (APA) (January 9, 2020).

Intro: «500 years after the conquistadors began burning books written by the original philosophers of Mexico and Guatemala, America’s classical thinking now rise like a phoenix from the ashes. Nahua and Maya philosophy hand us a mirror for our era.»

II. «The Radical Philosophy of Egypt: Forget God and Family, Write!»: Blog of the APA, Dec 17, 2018

Article on the Egyptian philosopher Irsesh* and the astonishing text «The Immortality of Writers» («Be A Writer!»), ca 1200 BCE. Published at the Blog of the American Philosophical Association (APA).

Intro: «New research indicates that Plato and Aristotle were right: Philosophy and the term “love of wisdom” hail from Egypt.»

Excerpt: «These Greek descriptions of Egypt have often been disregarded in the past couple of hundred years. But the scholarship of the 21st century has opened up a new possibility: the founding Greek word philosophos, lover of wisdom, is itself a borrowing from and translation of the Egyptian concept mer-rekh (mr-rḫ) which literally means “lover of wisdom,” or knowledge.

In 2005, The Book of Thoth was finally collected and translated into English. This text originates partly from the 12th century BCE, as Egyptologist Joachim Quack has pointed out. And in this book, “the-one-who-loves-knowledge” (mer-rekh) is a central figure. The philosopher (mer-rekh) is the scholar who desires to know the wisdom of Thoth, the author of books.

The translators of the Thoth book, Richard Jasnow and Karl-Theodor Zauzich, note the word mer-rekh and its “striking Egyptian parallel to Greek Philosophos.” As Ian Rutherford pointed out in 2016, Quack has demonstrated that the Pythagorean concept of akousmata is indebted to Demotic wisdom, arguing “even that the Greek term ‘philosophos’ is based on Egyptian.”

The Greek respect for the Egyptian love of wisdom, philosophy, is a context that can explain Plato’s statement in Phaedrus that the Egyptian Thoth “invented numbers and arithmetic… and, most important of all, letters.” This also makes it easier to understand Socrates, who in Plato’s Timaeus quotes the ancient Egyptian wise men when the law-giver Solon travels to Egypt to learn: “O Solon, Solon, you Greeks are always children.”»

III. «First women of philosophy«: Aeon. November 23, 2018

Essay by Dag Herbjørnsrud about the women philosophers of the Global South:

On Gargi and Maitreyi from the Upanishads. On Sulabha, Ubhaya Bharati, and Akka Mahadevi from India. Ban Zhao, Jing Jiang, and Mei Danran from China.

Im Yunjidang from Korea. Rabia from Basra, in today’s Iraq. Aishah Al-Ba’uniyyah from Damascus, in today’s Syria. Nana Asma’u from the Sokoto Caliphate, in today’s Nigeria. And Sor Juana from Mexico.

The text also describes how the new «Canon», from ca 1825 onwards, excluded non-European philosophy and women (cf Peter JK Park’s book Africa, Asia, and the History of Philosophy, 2013). READ THE AEON ESSAY HERE

IV. «The Real Battle of Vienna«: Aeon. July 24, 2018.

Excerpt:

«So the Battle of Vienna wasn’t a war between the cross and the crescent. It was not a clash of civilisations, a mighty Christian victory over Islam. Rather, Sunni

Muslim Tatars were vital in helping the Catholic Polish king on the one side – just as Lutheran Hungarians were allied with the Sunni Muslim Sultan on the other.

The year 1683, in the end, was just another year of battles over power and influence between the great states of Europe.»

V. «The African Enlightenment«: Aeon. Dec 13, 2017

Dag Herbjørnsrud on the African rational Enlightenment philosophers Zera Yacob (1599-1692, Ethopia) and Anton Wilhelm Amo (1703-1755, Axim, Ghana – lived and taught philosophy in Halle, Wittenberg, Jena in the 1730-40s).

The essay reached the number 1 spot as the month’s most shared and read text on AEON, which is dedicated to publish groundbreaking texts «by leading thinkers on science, philosophy, society and the arts«.

«The African Enlightenment» was ranked by Trendolizer as one of the most shared stories on the Internet, while MuckRack measured it to have earned more thousands of social media shares.

The AEON essay was recommended by, among others, Quartz, and highlighted by Arts & Letters Daily as one of the «Articles of Note» (Jan10th, 2018). 

Amy Cools at Ordinary Philosophy«Herbjørnsrud asks: ‘Will Yacob and Amo also one day be elevated to the position they deserve among the philosophers of the Age of Enlightenment?’ Herbjørnsrud has inspired me to respond ‘I very much hope so!’»

The AEON essay was syndicated and translated (Clara Allain) by Brazil’s largest newspaper, Folha de S. Paulo: «Os africanos que propuseram ideias iluministas antes de Locke e Kant«.

Within a week, the Portuguese text gained more than 13.000  Facebook-shares.

On February 8th 2018, the Italian weekly Internazionale translated and published the AEON article as «L’illuminismo africano».

The illustrations in Internazionale are made by Angelo Monne.

ZERA YACOB: «Internazionale», February 2018. By Angelo Monne.

Illustration by Angelo Monne regarding Anton Wilhelm Amo:

ANTON WILHELM AMO: «Internazionale», February 2018. By Angelo Monne.

In February 2018, the AEON essay was translated into Farsi and published by the independent magazine Tarjomaan in Tehran, Iran, as پیشگامان آفریقایی لاک، هیوم و کانت. It was made one of the main stories.

The text on Zera Yacob and Anton Wilhelm Amo was, in February 2018, also translated into Norwegian by Afrika.no: «Afrikas ukjente opplysningsfilosofer«.

COMPARISON: Anton Wilhelm Amo (ca 1703-1755) (left), born/died in Ghana, taught philosophy at German universities (Halle, Jena) in the 1730s , decades before Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) became famous. Ill: Afrika.no

*** «Philosophy Tube» (Olly Lennard) made a 11-minute program on Zera Yacob, referring to Dag Herbjørnsrud. Watch the episode «African Philosophy and the Enlightenment» here.

From Twitter

Before Locke and Newton was Zera Yacob. The Ethiopian philosopher hid from persecution in a cave, where he created some of the highest ideals of the Enlightenment

Before Locke and Newton was Zera Yacob. The Ethiopian philosopher hid from persecution in a cave, where he created some of the highest ideals of the Enlightenment: Before Locke and Newton was Zera Yacob. The Ethiopian philosopher hid from…

The neglected work 2 African philosophers in the 17th & 18th centuries: Ethiopian philosopher Zera Yacob (1599-1692); & Anton Amo (c1703-55), who was born & died in Guinea, today’s Ghana but also lived in Germany.

 15 Dec 2017

 I think the enlightened Zera Yacob would be shocked to see racism, slavery and inequalities in the 21st century. «Yacob argued with her [his wife’s] master, who did not think a servant woman was equal to an educated man»

VI. «Global History of Ideas: A Sea for Fish on Dry Land»

Dag Herbjørnsrud on Zhuangzi, Buber, and Heidegger at the blog of the Journal of the History of Ideas (US), published February 15th, 2017. An argument for a global history of ideas based on the notions of connection/contact, complexity, and comparison.

«Global History of Ideas: A Sea for Fish on Dry Land» became one of the five most read articles at JHIB in 2017: «Here is a list of our most popular posts this year to keep you in reading until we return in the New Year. Happy Holidays Everyone! “In Dread of Derrida,” by Jonathon Catlin. “Global/Universal History: A Warning,” by Disha Karnad Jani. “Towards an Intellectual History of the Alt-Right?” by Yitzchak Schwartz. “Global History of Ideas: A Sea for Fish on Dry Land,” by Dag Herbjørnsrud.»

Intro: «A remarkable example of how ideas migrate across so-called cultural borders and change minds in unknown ways happened in the German city of Bremen on October 8, 1930. There, Martin Heidegger gave a speech based upon his masterwork Being and Time (1927). Afterwards, he and several of Bremen’s citizens gathered at the home of a wholesaler. During the evening, Heidegger suddenly turned to his host and asked, “Mister Kellner, would you please bring me the Parables of Zhuangzi? I would like to read some passages from it…»

Praise for the text «A Global History of Ideas»:

Warp, Weft, and Way. Chinese and Comparative Philosophy: «Dag Herbjørnsrud has written a fascinating entry at the Journal of the History of Idea blog, which begins as follows…»

Professor Darren M. McMahon, Darmouth University:  «A lovely little essay this. Heidegger and the Tao.»

MourseAestethic, Balliol College, Oxford: «This on Heidegger’s contact with Chinese and Japanese thought through Buber and Shuzo Kuki is extremely good:»

New book: GLOBAL KNOWLEDGE (2016)

As part of the ongoing SGOKI project Herbjornsrud has written the book Global Knowledge. Renaissance for a New Enlightenment (Or: The Untold Story of Diversity Past and Present, in Norwegian: Globalkunnskap. Renessanse for en ny opplysningstid), launched by Scandinavian Academic Press (SAP) on Aug 29th 2016.

The book has been funded by The Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions (UHR), the Fritt Ord (Free Word) Foundation, and the fund of The Norwegian Non-fiction Writers and Translators Association (NFFO).

The 510 page publication, including 843 endnotes, aims to connect the thinking of the so-called East and West, past and present: From Eneheduanna, Gargi and the classic secular Lokayata philosophy of India via Plato, Mozi and Dante  to Murasaki’s The Tale of Genji, Elizabeth Stanton, and the film The Matrix.

Building on post-colonial theories by Derrida and Spivak, Herbjørnsrud argues that we should reject cultural theories that divide humanity’s historiy into different nations or civilizations. We should rather compare the different philosophies and cultural expressions with each other, discovering connections across ages and seas. In the words of, the often misunderstood, Rudyard Kipling:

But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,

When two strong men stand face to face, tho’ they come from the ends of the earth!

In Globalkunnskap Herbjørnsrud argues that Max Weber, in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, misquotes Benjamin Franklin. Herbjørnsrud also attempts to deconstruct The Western Canon (1994) by Harold Bloom, trying to reconstruct a more global perspective by pointing out the cross-cultural writings of Plato, Aristotle , Augustin, Dante, Cervantes and Shakespeare.

The book Globalkunnskap can be viewed as an attempt to rediscover our diverse world – past and present. The world seems to be both smaller and bigger than we are being taught to think.

Posting  by Sindre Bangstad, Researcher at KIFO – Centre for Church Research: «A global history of ideas: At 510 dense pages, a weight of 734 grammes, 843 endnotes and 1,005 million characters, the Norwegian historian of ideas and former media editor Dag Herbjornsrud‘s ‘Globalhistorie – Renessanse for en ny opplysningstid‘ (Scandinavian Academic Press, 2016) can not be characterized as light reading for the faint-hearted. But it represents a very ambitious attempt at breaking with the in our times all-too-widespread structures of methodological and epistemological nationalism and ethnocentrism. It also comes with a number of rich colour illustrations. Full disclosure: I have been one of three editorial referees on the manuscript, but given limitations of time, I have still not been able to ascertain whether that has had all that much to say for the tenor and format of the final result. In any event, congratulations are in order for the author’s mammoth undertaking, which I understand has been no less than ten years in the making.»

Click here for some of the media coverage (publisher), or the book’s page at this site (in Norwegian).

In November 2016 the national public radio program «Ekko» (NRK2) dedicated a 30 minutes conversation between professor Thomas  Hylland Eriksen and Dag Herbjørnsrud on the book Globalkunnskap.

The Facebook-page of Globalkunnskap is here.

Buy the book at Amazon.

For intro pages, content, name index, and selected pages with illustrations, click below:

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Click here for the lengthy review in Prosa (Norw.), the journal for the union of Norway’s non-fiction authors and translators (NFFO).

Click here for the Norwegian site, with additional info, interviews, op-eds, and reviews.

Herbjørnsrud

Dag Herbjornsrud (b. 1971) is an Oslo-based historian of ideas (cand.philol.), who wrote his thesis on Robert Nozick, pragmatism and North American  philosophy in the 1980s and 1990s (2002), and is a former graduate of West County High School in Missouri, USA.

He has co-authored three non-fiction books (2002-2005) with Stian Bromark, including the Brage prize-nominated Frykten for Amerika (The Fear of America. A European story) (2003, reviewed in Hudson Review). Herbjornsrud has been the Nordic columnist for Al Jazeera’s English website (2004-2005) where he provided global views on the US, on the European-Arab-connection, and on historical topics), as well as a contributing writer for Berkshire Publishing Group (Mass, USA) and it’s book Global Perspectives on the United States (Vol. 3, 2007). He has contributed to Open Democracy (UK), in addition to writing for 00TAL (Sweden, English version) and humanity science periodicals in Norway.

Herbjornsrud has written portrait interviews with the Nobel  Literature Prize recipient, Nadine Gordimer, and the author Hans Magnus Enzensberger for the Danish newspaper Information (1993-1994), in addition to a rather shorter interview with Nelson Mandela for Morgenbladet (1993), and held a lengthier public conversation with Harry Belafonte (2012).

Herbjørnsrud worked as a journalist/commentator at the conservative paper Aftenposten for ten years (1995-2005), and was the editor-in-chief/editor and/or CEO at the left-wing weekly Ny Tid for just as long (2005-2015). He now takes care of the projects of SGOKI, in addition to writing books.

Contact, author:  dag@sgoki.org

Phone: +47 916 95 196

Address: P.O. Box 1581 Vika, 0118 Oslo, Norway.

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