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Africa Must Be Modern

A Manifesto

Olúfémi Táíwò

Publication Year: 2014

In a forthright and uncompromising manner, Olúfémi Táíwò explores Africa’s hostility toward modernity and how that hostility has impeded economic development and social and political transformation. What has to change for Africa to be able to respond to the challenges of modernity and globalization? Táíwò insists that Africa can renew itself only by fully engaging with democracy and capitalism and by mining its untapped intellectual resources. While many may not agree with Táíwò’s positions, they will be unable to ignore what he says. This is a bold exhortation for Africa to come into the 21st century.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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Preface to the U.S. Edition

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pp. ix-xviii

I am gratified that this little book is being republished for the North American audience after its original publication in Nigeria by a Nigerian publisher. Its publication in Nigeria fulfilled my original plan for the book as it began...

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pp. xix-xxii

This book has been a long time coming. It originated from my desire to make sense of my place in the scheme of things where putting my intellectual training to use is concerned. For as long as I can remember, I have always...

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pp. xxiii-xxx

The thesis of this book is very simple and straightforward: there is nothing that is wrong with Africa at the present time that a serious engagement with and acceptance of modernity cannot solve or, at least, contribute to solving...

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One: Why Africa Must Get on Board the Modernity Express

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pp. 1-32

This book has a long and varied genesis. It all goes back to sometime in the spring of 1986. I was finishing my doctoral dissertation and generally preparing with supreme confidence and optimism for my repatriation to my home country, Nigeria, where I, alongside...

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Two: The Sticky Problem of Individualism

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pp. 33-78

I would like to begin by offering a variation on a Yorùbá proverb: “If you wish to see the red of an African intellectual’s eye, that is, draw the ire, especially of an academic, merely suggest that the continent and its peoples come to grips with the idea of individualism and...

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Three: The Knowledge Society and Its Rewards

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pp. 79-118

I would like to begin with three anecdotes that, I hope, would set the context for the discussion to follow in this chapter. Several years ago, I was lecturing a class at Ifẹ̀, and I was trying to impress on my students the importance of pursuing knowledge for its own sake...

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Four: Count, Measure, and Count Again

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pp. 119-152

In the previous chapter, I made the case for knowledge and for pursuing it for its own sake. Certainly, some who are inclined to be mischievous may have read the case as one whose author does not care a hoot for the application of the knowledge so produced or even for any...

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Five: Process, Not Outcome: Why Trusting Your Leader, Godfather, Ethnic Group, or Chief May Not Best Secure Your Advantage

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pp. 153-184

In this chapter, I would like to dilate on a different aspect of what it is to be modern: what I term the triumph of procedure over outcome. There are different ways in which this tenet is manifested in modern societies. The most popular form is that of the rule of law...

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Six: Against the Philosophy of Limits: Installing a Culture of Hope

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pp. 185-218

In this chapter, I propose to explore the last tenet of modernity that is of moment in this discussion: the open future. We started out with the idea of individualism. We showed that the individual is the core piece of the modern age. Almost everything is geared towards...


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pp. 219-224

About the Author

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E-ISBN-13: 9780253012784
E-ISBN-10: 0253012783
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253012722

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2014