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Imafidon, Elvis (2021) 'The Other as Unbeautiful: Analytic Somaesthetics, Disgust and the Albinotic Body in African Traditions.' In: Botha, Catherine, (ed.), African Somaesthetics: Cultures, Feminisms, Politics. Leiden: Brill, pp. 23-36. (Studies in Somaesthetics)

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The paper analyses the otherness of albinism in African cultures with specific focus on the perception of the albinotic body as disgust and as being incapable of beauty. I argue that the ontological and aesthetic representations of albinism in African traditions, although not factual, have real consequences for persons with albinism (pwas) and their immediate caregivers as they implicitly or explicitly assimilate these representations and live by them. By doing so, pwas have developed and displayed bodily presence that fits into the social and normative stereotyping of disgust, which further affirms, deeply entrenches, and perpetuates the false ideologies of albinism in Africa. However, I argue further that a few pwas and their primary caregivers have overcome epistemic docility and developed the courage to know (sapere aude) in the Kantian sense and are living by biological facts of albinism rather than cultural representations. In doing so, they overcome the bodily disgust and have promoted a positive perception of the albinotic body as beautiful. I show how barriers to epistemic access to accurate knowledge about albinism can be a major challenge to deliberate efforts to overcome the perception of the albinotic body as disgust. I conclude that enlightenment must be pursued for systemic ignorance about forms of disabilities and the consequent perception of disabled bodies to be overcome.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of History, Religions & Philosophies > Department of Religions & Philosophies
ISBN: 9789004442962
Copyright Statement: This is the version of the chapter accepted for publication in Botha, Catherine, (ed.), African Somaesthetics: Cultures, Feminisms, Politics. 2021, Leiden: Brill, pp. 23-36. Re-use is subject to the publisher’s terms and conditions
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2022 15:22

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