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Indigenous VisionsRediscovering the World of Franz Boas$
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Ned Blackhawk and Isaiah Lorado Wilner

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780300196511

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300196511.001.0001

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Franz Boas in Africana Philosophy

Franz Boas in Africana Philosophy

(p.42) Chapter 2 Franz Boas in Africana Philosophy
Indigenous Visions

Lewis R. Gordon

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses how Franz Boas's contributions to Africana thought make him an Africana thinker. Boas's arguments ultimately showed the error in making whites the standard for all other groups. While European societies produced their standards of how to live as a human being, the error is to conclude that theirs were and continue to be the standards or, worse, the only ones. In stream with many Africana thinkers, Boas addressed the question of whether people rendered homeless in the world that created them “belong,” so to speak, to the story of humankind. Although they were rejected by European modernity, there was no legitimate reason for them to be denied their membership in the human community. Boas's historicism was, in other words, a form of redemptive history, one linked to a conception of freedom as also a portrait of belonging.

Keywords:   Franz Boas, Africana philosophy, Africana thinker, African history, historicism, belonging

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