I thought this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education may be of interest to readers of the blog (even while I am in no position to evaluate the historical claims made). Some highlights:
A particular weakness of many humanities canons remains their scant or nonexistent attention to material outside of Europe and North America, their historical dismissal of South Asian, East Asian, and African achievement due to ignorance and condescending Orientalism. Although philosophy is probably the worst among humanities disciplines in this respect, it’s hardly alone..
Now, finally, we have an excellent account of a parallel ugly history: the exclusion of Asian and African texts from the canon of world philosophy. In Africa, Asia, and the History of Philosophy: Racism in the Formation of the Philosophical Canon, 1780-1830, Peter K.J. Park, an associate professor of historical studies at the University of Texas at Dallas, expertly recounts the radical change, in 18th- and early-19th-century Germany, that took place in understanding philosophy and its history. It was a shift that powerfully affected the future of both.
Park shows how Christoph Meiners (1747-1810), a philosophy professor at the University of Göttingen and prolific scholar, initiated “a successful campaign to exclude Africa and Asia from the history of philosophy.”… “Stated more simply,” Park contends, “historians of philosophy began to exclude peoples they deemed too primitive and incapable of philosophy,” noting Hegel’s belief that the African mind-set invited slavery…
In 1865, Friedrich Michelis wrote in his history of philosophy, “No Asian people … has lifted itself to the heights of free human contemplation, from which philosophy issues; philosophy is the fruit of the Hellenic spirit.”