Odinani: Mining the Excluded Middle for “Human-Characters-of-Being”
Nkiru Nzegwu (Binghamton, USA)
Like theories of colonialism, imperialism, development, and globalization, the theories of anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism, dependency, and Empire thrive on ideas, presuppositions and bifurcations that obfuscate the cultural foundations of an expansive Excluded Middle. This vast terrain of peoples, cultures, traditions, heritages, and histories that go deep in time, is dismissed as irrelevant and the conceptual-scapes it harbors are expunged. In this lecture, I reverse sail to mine one of the excluded-middle heritages, named Odinani. The aim is to extrapolate the “human characters of being” that reorder existential norms and reality away from those propagated by Europology. The shift is necessary to uncover the social logic and philosophies of life and living that were the result of complex earth-centered ontologies, enveloping uterine-kin notion of unity, complicated social epistemologies, population migrations and robust mergers, as well as extensive interactions and interchanges between communities. I argue that the emergent characters-of-being from such dynamic social processes subvert the colonizing narratives of Europology, its coloniality of power, and the stasis of colonial identities, including the subjugated subjectivities feminism foisted on African women.