Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality.


Writing Africa: what is scholarship for? 
Joost Fontein (University of Johannesburg)
Send message to Convenors
Wale Adebanwi (University of Pennsylvania)
Karin Barber (London School of Economics and Political Science)
Euclides Gonçalves (Kaleidoscopio - Research in Public Policy and Culture)
Doseline Kiguru (University of Bristol)
Sam Hopkins (Academy of Media Arts Cologne)
Catherine Cymone Fourshey (Bucknell University)
Arts and Culture (x) Decoloniality & Knowledge Production (y)
Hörsaalgebäude, Hörsaal C
Start time:
1 June, 2023 at
Time zone: Europe/Berlin
Session slots:

Short Abstract:

Hosted by Africa (IAI) this roundtable explores the role of academic scholarship alongside other forms of intellectual work, creativity and knowledge production in Africa. Discussants will offer brief statements to open discussion about changing structures/relations of knowing across the continent.

Long Abstract:

Engaging with ECAS’s theme, African Futures, this roundtable, convened by Africa, journal of the International African Institute, provokes critical debate about the purpose of scholarship in/about Africa, now and going forward. While enduring hierarchies continue to privilege academic knowledge, for many of Africa’s creatives and thinkers it remains too distanced from everyday concerns and realities. This is not a new observation. Volumes of African writing and visual art speak to the breadth of creative intellectual work happening beyond the academy. What has changed, however, are the questions being raised about academic scholarship. These include postcolonial debates taking place under the auspices of ‘decolonization’, but also a sense that academic scholarship no longer captures aspirations as it once did. Such critiques provoke distinct questions for African scholarship. For example, while ‘consultancy research’ is often denigrated for being beholden to donors, and lacking critical insight or empirical depth, some argue it deserves attention for its potentialities as well as its limitations. Insights from Africa’s ‘local intellectuals’ strand provoke other questions. What do all those clerks, schoolteachers, poets and others operating in non-academic registers say about their research? What is the value of academic scholarship seeking to engage with such diverse knowledge producers? What light might other forms of intellectualism – other ways of knowing – shed on academic questions? What theoretical, empirical and methodological insights do non-textual and practice-based forms of knowledge offer? This roundtable asks what scholarship about Africa today is for, and what it might look like in the future.

Accepted contribution:

Session 1