Accepted Paper:

Going home: knowledge clashes in the disciplines  


Chrissie Boughey (Rhodes University)

Paper long abstract:

In South Africa, one of the claims made most frequently by students in the protests of 2015 and 2016 related to their experiences of alienation on the campuses of the universities in which they were enrolled. For many, this alienation stems from the need to develop ways of knowing and being associated with academic life that are at odds with all they have previously experienced.

This paper is located within a larger research project which explores the impact of 'going home' both literally and figuratively on students as they engage with the need to develop the ways of being currently valued by the universities. The focus of the paper is on the 'clashes' where indigenous knowledge is in conflict with the disciplinary knowledge students need to master if they are to succeed and attain a degree and, thus, on the impact on them as individuals.

Data is drawn from interviews with academics from a range of academic disciplines who were asked to identify instances of such conflict in their own disciplines and to explain how they had dealt with them in their own teaching and engagement with students.

The paper draws on understandings developed by sociologists of knowledge, Basil Bernstein (2000) and Karl Maton (2012) and uses the work of Gee (2010) to acknowledge the profoundly disorienting effect of needing to develop what is effectively a new identity in the course of the undergraduate years.

Panel B07
Decolonising higher education in Africa: disciplinary and pedagogical Issues [initiated by the University of Ghana at Legon]