The Idea of colonial Industry in Jean Godefroy Bidima and the Critique of Fabien Eboussi Boulaga




colonial industry, culture industry, Fabien Eboussi Boulaga, Discourse of Mastery, Decolonization


In this paper, I argue that the concept of culture industry developed by Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno had a decisive influence on Jean Godefroy Bidima’s critique of black African modernity. Drawing on some of his writings, I seek to demon- strate how Bidima’s philosophical endeavor inherits the concept of culture industry and applies it to the modern context of black Africa, where it is transformed into the concept of colonial industry. In both cases, the same critical perspective is at play, namely to formulate a broad critique of how cultural products (artworks in Horkheimer and Adorno, and philosophy in Bidima) are deprived of their substance to align with the mystification of the masses. The critique of the culture industry, which serves in Adorno as a fundamental criticism of the production of modern art and its decadence into mass production serves, revisited in Bidima, as a critique of the modern black African philo- sophical discourse. With the light provided by this connection, I propose a rereading of Bidima’s critique of Fabien Eboussi Boulaga, the latter being presented as a promoter of a “discourse of mastery” in black African modern philosophy.

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Author Biography

Adoulou N. Bitang, Tel Aviv University

holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Douala (Cameroon), with a dissertation on modern and contemporary art in the light of Theodor W. Adorno. He was 2021-2022 Joint Fellow-in-Residence at the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Ethics and the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He is currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Tel Aviv University.


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How to Cite

Bitang, A. (2023). The Idea of colonial Industry in Jean Godefroy Bidima and the Critique of Fabien Eboussi Boulaga. Estudios De Filosofía, (68), 87–108.



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