• Souleymane Bachir Diagne
  • University Professor and Director of Institute of African Studies, Columbia University
  • Abstract Title: Keynote Address: Translatio studiorum and Africa

Bio: Souleymane Bachir Diagne received his academic training in France. An alumnus of the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, he earned his Ph.D. (Doctorat d’État) in philosophy at the Sorbonne (1988) where he also earned his B.A. (1977). His field of research includes Boolean algebra of logic, history of philosophy, Islamic philosophy, African philosophy and literature. He is the author of Boole, l’oiseau de nuit en plein jour (Paris: Belin, 1989) (a book on Boolean algebra), Islam and the Open Society: Fidelity and Movement in the Philosophy of Muhammad Iqbal (Dakar, Codesria, 2011), African Art as Philosophy: Senghor, Bergson, and the Idea of Negritude (Seagull Books,  2011), The Ink of the Scholars: Reflections on Philosophy in Africa (Dakar, Codesria, 2016), Open to Reason: Muslim Philosophers in Conversation with Western Tradition (New York, Columbia University Press, 2018). His book, Bergson postcolonial: L’élan vital dans la pensée de Senghor et de Mohamed Iqbal (Paris: Editions du CNRS, 2011) is forthcoming in an English version to be published by Fordham University Press. That book was awarded the Dagnan-Bouveret prize by the French Academy of Moral and Political Sciences for 2011 and in that same year, Professor Diagne received the Edouard Glissant Prize for his work. Professor Diagne’s current teaching interests include the history of early modern philosophy, philosophy and Sufism in the Islamic world, African philosophy and literature, twentieth-century French philosophy.

Abstract: Translatio studiorum is the medieval phrase for the migration/transmission of Greek philosophy and sciences. We will be reminded, against a Eurocentric reconstruction of the history of philosophy as uniquely Western, that translatio studiorum went through Nishapur, Baghdad, Cordoba, Fez, Timbuktu, among other places. We will reflect on the significance of the translation of Greek philosophy into Islamic imaginaries and languages with a particular emphasis on translatio studiorum in Africa.

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