Dr. Omedi Ochieng, Assistant Professor of Communication and Black Studies, has published a book entitled Groundwork for the Practice of the Good Life: Politics and Ethics at the Intersection of the North Atlantic and African Philosophy (Routledge: 2017). In this book, Ochieng invites a reassessment of an ancient and longstanding question about what constitutes a good society and a good life. The most influential works in both African and North Atlantic philosophical traditions, Ochieng argues, have proffered answers about the good life that are idealistic, moralistic, and parochial. Ochieng counsels, however, against seeking to replace these inadequate theories with yet another set of prescriptive ideas. Instead, he argues that robust visions of good societies and good lives ought to emerge only in light of painstaking investigations into social ontologies – that is, comprehensive accounts of political, economic, and cultural structures and practices – constitutive of life in the twenty-first century.
“My intellectual formation took place at the intersection of fugitive bodies of knowledge – mainly, critical rhetorical theory, the black radical intellectual tradition, and African critical philosophy,” Ochieng states. “My book puts these insurgent knowledges in dialogue with canonical ideas across a range of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities – from rhetorical studies to philosophy, political theory to anthropology, communication theory to sociology. In that sense, this book takes seriously one of the core commitments of the liberal arts to make connections across diverse and even deeply opposed bodies of knowledge. For this reason, I believe this book will be of particular interest to colleagues and students who are looking to re-envision their syllabi and reading practices in light of global humanistic and social scientific dialogues. Moreover, the question of what constitutes a good life is not only a deeply political and ethical question but also an inescapable existential question – What sort of life ought you to lead? Why are you living your life in this particular way? Even if the life you are currently leading is the sort of life you would have chosen in any possible world, have you exhausted the demands that you could possibly ask of yourself? This book seeks to do justice not only to our entanglements and responsibilities to others but also to those questions that haunt us as we lie awake at night.”
Here is the link to the book:
There's also a “Look Inside” link that lets you read the first few pages of the book on the Routledge website:
Dr. Ochieng began teaching at Denison University in 2015 in the department of Communication and also serves on the Black Studies Committee. He specializes in rhetorical theory and criticism; the rhetoric of philosophy and the philosophy of rhetoric; political theory and practice; and aesthetic praxis.