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General News of Friday, 10 January 2020


Researchers with African interest advised to clarify concepts

Professor Elisio Macamo Professor Elisio Macamo

The Anthropology of Human Security in Africa (ANTHUSIA) Summer School has commenced at the University of Ghana - Institute of African Studies with a call on researchers who conduct research on Africa to clarify concepts.

Professor Elisio Macamo, the Director of the Centre for African Studies at the University of Basel in Switzerland who gave the advice said there was the need to be concerned about clarifying the concepts that they work with because knowledge production about Africa had always been static over the years.

Speaking on the topic: “African Studies, Silence and the Aporia of Decolonisation”, Prof Macamo, who is a Professor of Sociology and African Studies said before researching on Africa, there was the need to engage all the conditions that must be met to ensure truthful output about any knowledge generated.

He said there was the need for ethical narrative by scholars, explaining that, “we always need to be concerned with placing whatever we say about Africa within an overall normative framework.

He said there had been a particular legacy in the production of knowledge on Africa and this legacy came from the fact that the social sciences had a specific place of origin, thus Europe, with a specific time, thus, the 19th Century.

“Whenever we use the conceptual vocabulary to talk about Africa, we are actually talking about the world which informs that particular language and that is the imperial and colonial world, which is a world that often denies Africans of human dignity,” Prof Macamo noted.

He said as researchers, there was the need to be aware for that legacy and critical towards it and to be critical means to be concerned with showing how we can meaningfully speak about Africa.

Prof Lette Meiuert of the University of Aarhus said the ANTHUSIA Summer School, which is a project funded by the European Union is a joint doctorate programme to train young scholars to attain PhD in African Studies and other related subjects.

She said the Summer School was a collaboration between four European Universities including Leuven University, Aarhus University, Oslo University and Edinburgh University with collaboration with 21 African Organisations, Universities and Non-Governmental Organisations.

Prof Ann Cassiman of the Leuven University said a total of 22 scholars are participating in the 10-day ANTHUSIA Summer School with six of them from the University of Ghana.

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