This panel seeks papers that will rigorously examine the prospects or otherwise of the emerging encounter of the urban elite and the traditional African over the politics of African knowledge.
In recent times there have been concerted efforts on the part of many Africanist scholars to rethink the study of Africa by Africans. This new awareness, following Edward Blyden's over a century old clarion call, maintains that African societies and history must be understood from inside out, stressing further that African experiences must be expressed in an African vocabulary. However, it needs being asked, how the urban African intelligentsia can express African experiences in African vocabulary and episteme without taking recourse in the rural and traditional, especially when the rural mythos looks up to the urban and modern ratio for universalization. In the light of this query, it becomes clear that the emerging consciousness is characterized by 1) urbanized and western educated African intellectuals promoting the rural and traditional as the locus of the authentic theory about Africa and Africans; 2) the tendencies of the rural seeker to see the urban and modern as the channel to enlightenment and global education; 3) a phenomenon of marginality (or possible enrichment) that ensues from this new encounter. This panel seeks papers that will rigorously examine the prospects or otherwise of the emerging encounter of the urban elite and the traditional African over the politics of African knowledge. It proposes presentations that discuss how indigenous epistemologies can re-define the urban knowledge base about Africa.