On Friday, 25th May 2018, Columbia Global Centers hosted a full day conference on, "Re-thinking Sage Philosophy" this was organized in collaboration with the Institute of African Studies, Columbia University, and the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Nairobi.
"Sage Philosophy" is a research project coined by the Kenyan philosopher Henry Odera Oruka (1944-1995) who was based at the University of Nairobi. He developed sage philosophy in the 1970s, as a fieldwork-based interview and documentation technique working with wise people in Kenyan communities, in response to a dominant derogatory attitude in Western academia that was skeptical or outright dismissive of the possibility of philosophical thought in Africa. Oruka and his research assistants traveled the country to seek out people who were recognized as "wise" within their own communities, and documented their discussions with them, thus creating an accessible archive of individual Kenyan thinkers outside of academia.
In this workshop, contributors came together to revisit and re-think the sage philosophy project, from their respective research perspectives, based in Philosophy, African Studies and related disciplines. The workshop is part of an ongoing collaborative project between faculty and graduate students of Columbia University and the University of Nairobi, funded by Columbia University's Global Presidential Fund Initiative with Prof. Kai Kresse.