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Africanist scholarship, eurocentrism and the politics of knowledge

Gruffydd Jones, Branwen ORCID: 2014. Africanist scholarship, eurocentrism and the politics of knowledge. Araújo, Marta and Maeso, Silvia Rodriguez, eds. Eurocentrism, Racism and Knowledge: Debates on History and Power in Europe and the Americas, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan UK, pp. 114-135. (10.1057/9781137292896_7)

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Of all regions of the world, Africa is perhaps most often subject to external analyses, diagnoses and prescriptions which purport to offer solutions to internal socioeconomic and political ills. African peoples have been subject to several centuries of ideological construction in the hands of European traders, missionaries, explorers, philosophers and jurists. The ambition to construct scholarly knowledge on a social scientific basis, in order to inform policy and help resolve Africa’s ‘problems’, is more or less specific to the twentieth century. This chapter examines the rise and endurance of Africanist scholarship, exposing the problems of Eurocentrism at the heart of this academic enterprise. In delineating a field which I term Africanist and which I will argue is characterized by features of method, attitude and content, I have no intention of reducing the far broader academic study of Africa to this narrower terrain. Africanist knowledge has long been explicitly challenged by critics in and beyond Africa, while scholarship about Africa produced within Africa and globally is extremely varied, informed by numerous theoretical strands and an important site of theoretical and methodological innovation. Yet, despite strong critiques, Africanist ways of knowing persist and remain dominant especially in teaching and research about Africa in the West.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Law
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan UK
ISBN: 9781137292889
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Last Modified: 01 Nov 2022 10:18

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