RT05
Research in Africa - on whose terms? (sponsored by the Swiss Society for African Studies and CODESRIA)

Convenors:
Daniel Kuenzler (University of Fribourg)
Anne Mayor (Université de Genève)
Divine Fuh (CODESRIA)
Stream:
Roundtables
Location:
KH033
Start time:
30 June, 2017 at 9:00
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

What is (should be) the purpose of research in and on Africa? The answer to this question yields two positions which appear irreconcilable. One position argues that development needs are so pressing in Africa that applied research should be given priority. The other position holds that the development of scholarship requires more investment in basic research. This is a vitally important issue for African Studies. As more and more research funds are committed to applied research the field of African Studies arguably runs the risk of promoting an intellectual environment within which innovation may be stifled and critical inquiry discouraged. This roundtable addresses the issues raised by the tension between applied and basic research and encourages reflection on the significance of inquiring into the purpose of research in and on Africa.

Long abstract:

What is (should be) the purpose of research in and on Africa? The answer to this question yields two positions which appear irreconcilable. One position argues that development needs are so pressing in Africa that applied research should be given priority. The other position holds that the development of scholarship requires more investment in basic research. This is a vitally important issue for African Studies. As more and more research funds are committed to applied research the field of African Studies arguably runs the risk of promoting an intellectual environment within which innovation may be stifled and critical inquiry discouraged. This roundtable addresses the issues raised by the tension between applied and basic research and encourages reflection on the significance of inquiring into the purpose of research in and on Africa. Participants: Godwin Murunga (CODESRIA, Executive Secretary), Claudia Rutte (Swiss National Science Foundation, Coordinator of R4D Programme); N.N. (Volkswagen Foundation)