GAAS Event Info

18 Sep: Ephraim Amu Memorial Lecture 2023 –The Ethics of Nation-Building: Perspectives from The Legon Tradition of Philosophy

Nation-building is an effort by a State – a political and legal entity in international law – to attune its citizens to its pursuit of the ideals of nationhood. Nation-building, thus, signifies both a political and moral need. Political because of the aspiration to forge a political unit whose citizens think, act and live in unified pursuit of demarcated ideals – in the case of Ghana – of the ideals of freedom and justice. And moral because the ideals such as freedom and justice are moral, in as much as they seek to ensure the harmonious coexistence of Ghanaians; as well as their survival, interests and welfare. For these reasons, politics furthers the ends of ethics, and so the former ought to be guided by the latter. Thus, the nation-state of Ghana, as a political entity in pursuit of the ideal of nationhood, ought to assume a moral duty to work unceasingly toward achieving the common good of Ghanaians. This lecture enunciates and defends the thesis that philosophers who have been affiliated with the University of Ghana have produced a body of thought and a systematic approach to philosophy that merits the status of a tradition of philosophy; and that this tradition is exemplified by distinctive moral philosophical perspectives that are germane to the task of nation building in Ghana.

24 May: Inaugural Lecture – Contribution of African Popular Music Studies to Universities -Prof. John Collins FGA

This presentation concerns the importance of African popular music studies for Ghanaian University departments. It begins with the difficulties in getting this topic accepted into Academia despite the fact that Kwame Nkrumah fully endorsed the popular performance sector, as well as traditional music and African art-music as part of Ghana’s national culture development plan. Because of his overthrow in 1966 his well-rounded tripartite approach to national culture (i.e., traditional, art and popular music) was not fully transmitted into the university curriculum which for many years did not include any classes on African popular music, including even on Ghana’s homegrown highlife. Indeed, the first African popular music courses were only introduced to the University Music Department students in the late 1990s, beginning first at Legon by myself and Professor Willie Anku. So this presentation begins with the benefits these new courses brought to the Music Department and School of Performing Arts: namely training students to play highlife, providing pedagogic teaching materials from the scores of local popular music, supplying knowledge and skills to help students find jobs in the booming popular entertainments and creative industries sector, being a course attractive to foreign students, and establishing Music Department bands that showcase highlife and other forms of African popular music. The presentation then turns to six non-performance university departments that benefit from African popular music studies