Scholarship and Awards: Vice Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Research Accomplishments

His recent books include:

i) Narratives of Struggle (Single Author - Carolina Academic Press, 2012)

My effort to understand the Africana developmental and cultural predicament has led to the publication of a major work, titled Narratives of Struggle – the philosophy and politics of development (Carolina Academic Press, 2012). This book is made up of a series of critical, analytical and reflective essays aimed at facilitating the understanding and appreciation of the causative, sustaining and perpetuating factors responsible for the continuing underdevelopment of global Africa – including the Caribbean, the Americas and continental Africa. In this book, the author attempts to present a narrative of the struggles which African and African Diaspora societies have encountered in the process of emergence from colonialism and plantation society toward what has turned out to be nominal statehood or independence, with all the challenges that assail the efforts they have to make toward social, economic, political and cultural development, to minimize poverty, banish ignorance and political misgovernance alarmingly debilitating. This book adopts a unique perspective on the issues associated with development, incorporating philosophically epistemic and ontological, reflective, hermeneutic, even phenomenological interpretations and discussion of diverse data and literature, to enunciate the issues, challenges and problems faced by global Africa in the effort toward emancipation of blacks globally. A few of the questions that the Narratives of Struggle raises are: What constitutes development? Does quality of life improve or suffer with increased access to material resources? What is the impact of Western Education on Africana peoples globally? To what extent has epistemicide denuded Africana peoples of their epistemological and ontological confidence and capacity for agency?

This book has provided carefully argued perspectives for understanding the global Africana predicament of material underdevelopment, financial mendicancy and rank black identity crises. The use of “epistemicide” and “epistemic deficit” as conceptual tools have engendered new tropes for appreciating the political, educational, technological weaknesses of Africana leaderships, providing a clear mapping of the confidence gap and trust deficit in dealing with issues and solving socio-political, developmental and other challenges facing Africana societies. This book has become a veritable research material for scholars from diverse backgrounds – from philosophy, political philosophy, political science, education, development studies, religions and cultures to management and business.

ii) Black Aesthetics (Single Author - Africa World Press, 2013)

Since its original publication in 2003, Beauty and Culture has remained the only full-length major book contribution to the area of Philosophy of Art and Aesthetics by an African philosopher. This is an area which has had very little or no critical systematic philosophical discussion from an African and African Diaspora Perspective to date, either by Africans or African Diaspora or, for that matter, by non-African philosophers and intellectuals, leaving the assessment and discussion of African and Diaspora Art and Artistic Experience to Euro-American intellectuals with scant or warped understanding of the sensitivities and sensibilities that under-gird the art they are commenting on. This book which harks back to the ideas of values relating to the concept of beauty in Africana art and aesthetics globally – starting from ancient Africa, the Americas to Europe and to Asia – is predicated on the fact that there is a need for Africana peoples to begin to take a closer look at Aesthetics from the Africana perspective or whatever is left of it; especially, the relationship this has to notions of morality, politics, religion, and culture generally.

Over the last decade there has grown recognition of the importance of taking African aesthetics into consideration on its own terms, but the nature of the issues discussed in this book has made it necessary to provide non-philosophers a background introduction to the challenge of African philosophy of art. This accounts for the careful effort made in the first three chapters (Introduction, Biographical Details, and The nature of the philosophic enterprise: Initial issues) to introduce the readers interested in Africana aesthetics, to the rudiments of debates in African philosophy and the nature of scholarship in the discipline, using the experience of the author as illustration. The Fourth chapter (Contemporary scholarship on (Africana Arts) reviews the discussion of African art in extant literature, while Chapter 5 (Artistic Expression in Africa) explores the nature of art and artistic expression in Africana societies; and Chapter 6 (Philosophy and Artistic Expression in Africa) deals with the problematic of philosophizing the arts and values relating to artistic expression in Africans societies, with Chapter 7 (Arts, Memory and Identity) considering the critical issues involved in the relationship between art, memory, culture and identity structuring and development in all human societies, but especially in Africana societies. The last chapter (Conclusion) harnesses the inferences of this book, and indicating further the challenges which Africana philosophers face in the proper appreciation of Africa and Diaspora art.

Following the original release of Beauty and Culture in 2003, it is no accident that my work on beauty and culture has established me as one of the dominant thinkers on these issues in the African philosophy and aesthetics world. When the book was out of print, a major Publisher, Africa World Press, requested for the copy right to publish the book in new, improved, expanded and revised form. This was done as Black Aesthetics – An Introduction to African and African Diaspora Philosophy of Arts in 2013.

According to the late Rex Nettleford, Professor and Vice-Chancellor Emeritus, University of the West Indies, Beauty and Culture: Perspectives in Black Aesthetics – An introduction to African and African Diaspora philosophy of art should be a welcome addition to the discourse on whether thought, reason and intellectual inquiry are alien to the African experience which is supposedly rooted in myth, feeling and imagination. That reason and feeling are not mutually exclusive in history of human development is the clear argument of Dr. Bewaji’s thesis here explored in this volume targeting African artistic expression as “a function of African philosophy”, the tenor, spirit and direction of which is influenced by such expression. Students of African society and Cultural Studies will benefit immensely from the contents of this volume.

iii) Ontologized Ethics (Bewaji, J. A. I. and Elvis Imafidon, Eds. - Lexington Books, 2013)

Being schooled in the tradition where earning a terminal degree in any discipline challenges one to be versatile, and coming to an environment in which I have been one of two academics in the UWI Mona with a philosophical training, I have had to become adaptable to teaching, designing and leading in various aspects of the discipline of Philosophy. This has had a most positive effect in my academic development, as it has meant spending considerable time and energy in understanding and mastering not just my PhD research and related areas, but becoming very much at home in other aspects of Philosophy, to the extent colleagues globally recommend me for leading various projects and efforts. One such was when my former Professor, Barry Hallen recommended that I should take ownership of an ethics project, which led in the area of Ethics in African Philosophy, to me co-editing, with Elvis Imafidon, Ontologized Ethics: New Essays in African Meta-Ethics (2013), which examines an often neglected meta-ethical issue in African philosophical discourse: the extent to which one’s orientation of being, or idea of what-is – as an individual or as a group of persons – does, or should, determine one’s concept of the good. Also, to what extent is ethics, or our idea of what is permissible or impermissible, grounded on ideas of what fundamentally exists or what it means to be? The aim of this collection of essays, with emphasis on an African philosophical context, will be to establish more firmly and vigorously whether there is an intrinsic link between ontology and morality – that is, whether, and, if so, how the proper norms for human actions can be explained and validated once we make lucid ideas about metaphysical topics such as human nature, community, relationality and spirituality. The essays included in this volume focus rigorously on ethical issues such as communalism, adultery, environmental ethics, and bioethics with the primary aim of showing whether the link between such issues and metaphysical beliefs is trivial or intrinsic.

iv) The Rule of Law and Governance in Indigenous Yoruba Society (Single Author - Lexington Books, 2016)

In The Rule of Law and Governance in Indigenous Yoruba Society – A Study in African Philosophy of Law (2016), I tried to deal with two main goals. The first is to provide an exploration of aspects of indigenous Yoruba philosophy of law. The second is to relate this philosophy of law to the Yoruba indigenous traditions of governance, with a view to appreciating the relevance of the Yoruba traditions of law and governance to contemporary African experiments with imported Western democracy in the 21st century. This book is devoted to what can be described as a juridical forensic investigation of Nigeria’s predicament of developmental deficit, leading to gross and unconscionable impoverishment of large segments of the population, in the midst of so much natural resources and abundant human capital, using Yoruba indigenous legal traditions as reflective template. In this book, I urge that Africa has to take seriously the necessity of obedience, observance, enforcement and operation of law as no respecter of persons, groups, affiliations and pedigrees as was in the case in the societies founded by our ancestors, rather than the present scenario whereby the highest bidder procures semblances of justice from a crooked system of common law which was never designed to be fair, equitable and just to the disadvantaged in society.

v) Introduction to Philosophy and Logic (Bewaji, J. A. I., Adebola Adebola, Rotimi Omosulu, Eds. (Directorate of General Studies, Redeemer’s University, Ede, 2014).

This book brings together essays by carefully selected scholars in the areas of Philosophy and Logic to write a lucid book for the beginners in the area of Philosophy. This book is used extensively in Nigeria and other African countries to introduce students to Philosophy, and especially the branch of Philosophy which may sound recondite to persons with a phobia for mathematics. This book is also used by me in teaching Introduction to Philosophy and Introduction to Logic, two courses at level I in the UWI Philosophy programme.

vi) The Humanities and the Dynamics of African Culture in the 21st Century (Bewaji, J. A. I., Harrow, Kenneth W., Omonzejie, Eunice E and Ukhum, Christopher E. Eds. 2017, London: Cambridge Scholars Publishers).

In The Humanities and the Dynamics of African Culture in the 21st Century, issues of Humanities in Africa is examined. That Africa is at a crossroads in an increasingly globalised world is indisputable. Equally unassailable is the fact that the humanities, as a broad field of intellection, research and learning in Africa, appears to have been pigeonholed in debates of relevance in the development aspirations of many African nations. Historical experiences and contemporary research outputs indicate, however, that the humanities, in its various shades, is critical to Africa’s capacity to respond effectively to such problems as security, corruption, political ineptitude, poverty, superstition, and HIV/AIDS, among many other mounting challenges which confront the people of Africa. The vibrancy and resilience of Africa’s cultures, against these and other odds of globalisation episodes in the course of our history, demand the focused attention of academia to exploit their relevance to contemporary issues. This collection provides a comprehensive overview of issues in the humanities at the turn of the 21st century, which create a veritable platform for the global redefinition and understanding of Africa’s rich cultures and traditions. Such areas covered include ruminations in metaphysics and psychology, pathos and ethos, cinematic and literary connections, and historical conceptualisations.

vii) Media Theory, Practice and Ethics – A Textbook of Film and Television Studies (Bewaji, J. A. I. and Peter Babatunde Adedara, Ibadan, Nigeria: BWright Integrated Publishers Ltd. 2017).

Media Theory, Practice and Ethics - a Text-book of Film and Television Studies adopts a step-by-step approach, providing the needed requirements for students’ understanding of how the camera works, treating the topic from basic rules of camera shot composition to shot framing; from camera angles to outside broadcasting, and drone technology in cinematography. Students as well as professionals in journalism, film, radio production and television broadcasting will find the chapters on Media Ethics, Applied and Professional Ethics, and Digital Media Ethics very interesting and compulsory reading by providing us knowledge in professional media ethics, which every media person should possess and adhere to. There is an unmistakable cross-fertilization in this book. The media as the extension of man; the media symbiosis that has created the mass media mix of our increasingly heavily mediated world; and the interrelationship of those vectors of the media: the philosophical-ethical, the entrepreneurial-managerial, the technological and the creative-artistic—all these have been cross-fertilized. It is this cross-fertilization that constitutes the beating heart of this work.