Breaking knowledge barriers: Africans and Africanists and the politics of collaboration
Sheila Meintjes (University of the Witwatersrand)
Professor Noor Nieftagodien
Start time:
28 June, 2013 at 10:30
Session slots:

Short abstract:

The panel raises questions about who decides the kind of research and topics relevant for African scholarship, who sets the intellectual agenda and whose language, theory and academic tradition influences scholarly investigation.

Long abstract:

Africa's ability to engage a multi-polar world depends to a large degree not only on its position in the global order, but also on an assessment of how knowledge about the continent is produced. Since African intellectuals called for the decolonization of the African mind many decades ago, the authority of knowledge produced on Africa has been a major bone of contention in African Studies. Based on the assumption that knowledge production is crucial to ascertaining Africa's position in the new world order this panel seeks to explore how new forms of collaboration between African and non-African scholars can help put the debate on decolonization to rest. While raising questions concerning who decides which kind of research and which topics are relevant, who sets the intellectual agenda and whose language and academic tradition influences academic and scholarly investigations the panel seeks to place these questions within a wider theoretical and methodological context that inquires into the rationale of an exclusive focus on Africa and the general expectation that African academics and students engage in one way or the other predominantly with African issues. The panel will focus in particular on theoretical and methodological contributions from Africa, especially to the extent that they challenge dominant patterns of academic research and knowledge production. The panel welcomes contributions which address these issues from a theoretical and methodological perspective.