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On the Natural History of Africa - reading Hegel with Urs Widmer

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In this paper I read the novel Im Kongo by Swiss author Urs Widmer as an alternative telling of Hegel's narrative of Africa in his Lectures on the Philosophy of World History. Hegel's views on reason in history leave him unable to deal with African history, to the point where he cannot resolve the contradiction between an Africa that remains outside world history, and an Africa that is destined to become a historical part of the world. In opposition to Hegel's claim that world history emerges out of the erasure of bodily life in individuals, Widmer uses autobiographic discourse to demonstrate the paradoxical place of the body in the macro-discourses of history.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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