Contesting Global North Hegemony in Knowledge-Making:
Research on, for, with, in, and of Africa.

In the Academy of Science of South Africa newsletter of 29 March 2023, Professor Jonathan Jansen bemoans, in the context of decolonization efforts, the ‘misplaced’ and possibly ‘colonial assumptions’ of some ‘well-meaning’ Europeans about the ‘capacity building’ of Africans in research. Unfortunate Northern assumptions are often also evident in research collaborations with African partners. The context is an international ‘intellectual/financial complex’ (Joel Samoff, 1992) that shapes (and bedevils equitable) institutional and academic relations, resulting in ongoing Northern hegemony. Given dire conditions at universities in many African countries, institutions, and scholars, wittingly and unwittingly, become complicit in reproducing Northern hegemony in the social relations of knowledge production.

A recent University World News (UWN) article (15 March 2023) asks us to ‘imagine a world in which African universities dominate scientific research focused on communities in North America or Europe. It sounds absurd and skewed, and yet a simple reversal of that scenario captures the present-day reality of much of the global research ecosystem.’ It highlights a ‘far-reaching new charter seeks to rebalance this ecosystem, and give African research its rightful position as an equal player in global scientific production.’ 

Against this backdrop, it is important and timely to feature in this HELM ENGAGE, Contesting Global North Hegemony in Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Knowledge-Making, a chapter in a new 2022 book, Thinking the Re-Thinking of the World: Decolonial Challenges to the Humanities and Social Sciences from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Informed by his varied experiences as a scholar, policy advisor, university leader and international grant maker, former Rhodes University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Saleem Badat, Research Professor in the Department of History at the University of the Free State will reflect on the questions of research on, for, with, in, and of Africa in relation to knowledge-making in the arts, humanities, and social sciences and Global North hegemony.

Date: 26 April 2023 |  Time: 14:00 |  Location: Virtual

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Wednesday 26 April 2023: 14:00-15:30

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