Repositioning of Africa in knowledge production: shaking off historical stigmas — introduction

by Juliet Thondhlana and Evelyn Chiyevo Garwe

01 Apr 2021
Journal of the British Academy
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Number of pages
17 (pp. 1-17)

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Abstract: Africa is recognised as the cradle of humankind with a proven record of creativity and innovation as evidenced by its great empires and kingdoms. It is thus an enigma that currently Africa contributes only 2% to global knowledge production, a situation that is widely believed to account for its underdevelopment. Even though scholarly disagreement cuts very deep here, it is mostly due to the reasons of the status quo rather than to disputing the poor showing of Africa in global knowledge production. The high quality of articles presented in this supplementary issue showcases our conviction that Africa can indeed shake off historical stigmas and reposition itself as a giant in knowledge production. This editorial introduces the contributions in the issue which interrogates the status quo and explores ways in which knowledge production can be enhanced. Three key thematic approaches are presented: a decolonial approach to legitimising African knowledge based on its needs, culture, and heritage; development of robust knowledge production and quality assurance institutions; and inclusive education and knowledge production.

Keywords: Africa, knowledge production, inclusivity, decolonisation, sustainable development.

Article posted to Journal of the British Academy, volume 9, supplementary issue 1 (Repositioning of Africa in Knowledge Production: Shaking off Historical Stigmas).

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