Originally published 02/13/2013
Justin E. H. Smith teaches philosophy at Concordia University in Montreal. His most recent book is “Divine Machines: Leibniz and the Sciences of Life.” He is a contributing editor of Cabinet Magazine, and writes regularly on his blog.In 1734, Anton Wilhelm Amo, a West African student and former chamber slave of Duke Anton Ulrich of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel, defended a philosophy dissertation at the University of Halle in Saxony, written in Latin and entitled “On the Impassivity of the Human Mind.” A dedicatory letter was appended from the rector of the University of Wittenberg, Johannes Gottfried Kraus, who praised “the natural genius” of Africa, its “appreciation for learning,” and its “inestimable contribution to the knowledge of human affairs” and of “divine things.” Kraus placed Amo in a lineage that includes many North African Latin authors of antiquity, such as Terence, Tertullian and St. Augustine.
- Savannah Approves Changes to Confederate Monument From 1875
- Law Professor Eric Posner Proposes Bringing Back Indentured Servitude
- Public Rates Presidents: Kennedy, Reagan, Obama at Top
- Elizabeth Warren’s striking speech responding to Trump’s “Pocahontas” taunts
- When the next generation looks racially different from the last, political tensions rise
- Was This Technology historian plagiarized? Sure seems like she was.
- Meet the new authorized historian of Britain's communications intelligence agency
- Lerone Bennett Jr., journalist and historian of African American life, dies at 89
- Right after the Civil War, says Stanford's Richard White, Americans were really hopeful, then reality hit
- What departments of history are doing about lower enrollments