RT04
Researching urban Africa: a roundtable discussion on methodology and epistemology

Convenors:
Claire Mercer (London School of Economics and Political Science)
Matteo Rizzo (SOAS, University of London)
Chair:
Matteo Rizzo
Discussant:
Claire Mercer
Format:
Roundtables
Location:
KH033
Start time:
30 June, 2017 at 16:00
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

This roundtable will provide space during the conference for critical debate and reflection on the methodological and epistemological foundations that underpin existing research on the African city.

Long abstract:

Research on urbanisation and on the city in Africa is increasingly becoming a major field in African Studies. A range of theoretical standpoints, including postcolonialism, poststructuralism, and political economy, at times explicitly but more often implicitly in contrast with each other, inform the research agendas of the rapidly expanding knowledge base on urban Africa. Taking stock of this variety of approaches, this roundtable will provide space during the conference for critical debate and reflection on the methodological and epistemological foundations that underpin existing research on the African city. Key questions to be addressed by contributors include: * What are the ontological and epistemological assumptions that inform scholars' research agenda and how do they affect their methodological choices? * What are the distinctive strengths and weaknesses of different theoretical approaches? * What are the possibilities going forward for research that is truly inter-disciplinary and/or which uses multiple methods? * What does decolonising knowledge on urban Africa from Eurocentric theory mean in practice? Participants: Tom Goodfellow (University of Sheffield, UK); Ato Quayson (University of Toronto, Canada); Jennifer Robinson (UCL, UK)