As both a response and a complement to Partha Chatterjee's observations on modern Indian history, this essay speaks to the heterogeneity of cosmopolitanism and its trajectories. It focuses specifically on political and cultural experiments in West and North Africa that over time generated norms of citizenship, subjectivity, and jurisdiction that Grovogui associates with cosmopolitanism. The essay proceeds from a historiography that is necessarily a conjecture, a logical construction based on incomplete information. The scholar of cosmopolitanism divorced from its European heritage can nevertheless overcome the limits presented by such an incompleteness through a hermeneutics based on observations and the materiality of the cultures, traditions, and processes that exist in Africa today. The suppositions involved in this form of argumentation are proper to public life and institutions still found in West Africa, which are themselves independent from practices and processes associated with the slave trade, Western imperialism, and colonialism.

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