"This is a remarkable book. . . . a powerful cri de coeur that is based on a serious reading of Hegel. It may open up the debate because, unlike so many anti-Eurocentric presentations, it does not fall prey to a simple upside-down reading of either modern philosophy or world history."—Immanuel Wallerstein, Yale University
"Tibebu’s response to Hegel’s Eurocentrism and especially his calumnies about Africa is certain to generate heated discussion. This provocative book joins the growing list of books that help to challenge the one-sided picture that still dominates philosophy in the West."—Robert Bernasconi, Penn State University
Hegel, more than any other modern Western philosopher, produced the most systematic case for the superiority of Western white Protestant bourgeois modernity. He established a racially structured ladder of gradation of the peoples of the world, putting Germanic people at the top of the racial pyramid, people of Asia in the middle, and Africans and Indigenous people of the Americas and Pacific Islands at the bottom. In Hegel and the Third World Tibebu guides the reader through Hegel’s presentation on universalism to argue that such a classification flows in part from Hegel’s philosophy of the development of human consciousness. Hegel classified Africans as people arrested at the lowest and most immediate stage of consciousness, that of the senses; Asians as people with divided consciousness, that of the understanding; and Europeans as people of reason. Tibebu demonstrates that Hegel’s views were not his alone but reflected the fundamental beliefs of other major figures of Western thought at the time.
With detailed analysis and thorough research Hegel and the Third World challenges the central idea of Hegel’s philosophy of history: progress. In addition, Tibebu succeeds in providing a fascinating critique of the Western philosopher’s rationalization of the gradual decline suffered by the people of the Third World in the context of modern world history.
Teshale Tibebu is associate professor in the History Department at Temple University. He is the author of The Making of Modern Ethiopia, 1896–1974, Hegel and Anti-Semitism, and numerous articles.
6 x 9, 440 pages