Download African Intellectuals: Rethinking Politics, Language, Gender by Thandika Mkandawire PDF

By Thandika Mkandawire

In comparison with Asia or Latin the US, Africa has skilled a lot greater premiums of emigration of its intelligentsia to North the United States and Europe, and common displacement in the continent. This infrequent review of the heritage, destiny and destiny roles explores their dating to nationalism and the Pan African undertaking; the indigenous language of African intellectuals; girls intellectuals; and the position of the increasing African educational diaspora.

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Additional info for African Intellectuals: Rethinking Politics, Language, Gender and Development (Africa in the New Millennium)

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Cited in Yeikelo ya Ato and Ntumba 1993: 165) Non-organic intellectuals Many African academics were willing to submit themselves to the exigencies of nationalism and the new state, which they viewed as ‘the custodian of the development process and the university as an institution that must train human resources for development. It then seemed natural to them that the state play a key role in managing the university’ (Mamdani 1993). And yet, noting the general consensus among policy-makers and intellectuals on the basic tasks of the new nations, Abdalla Bujra observed: Unfortunately however it is not clear whether the knowledge produced by these institutions at the time had any direct or indirect contribution to the modest economic growth of most African countries during the 60s.

Prah 1998: 160) A related criticism was something that was tantamount to treason. African intellectuals were accused of being no more than the ‘informed native guide, the comprador in cultural commodities’. They were accused of being the ‘Trojan Horse’ of Western culture, ‘a relay of cultural imperialism’ (Verhaegen 1995), disseminating ideas that undermined or denigrated their own cultures. Thus Kwame Anthony Appiah (1992: 240) suggests that: Post-coloniality is the condition of what we may ungenerously call a comprador intelligentsia: of a relatively small, western-style, western-trained group of writers and thinkers, who mediate the trade in cultural commodities of world capitalism at the periphery.

Mkandawire | 2 Others criticized African scholarship for its combativeness and for its ‘victimology’. This position was articulated most eloquently by Achilles Mbembe. Mbembe took what Paul Ricoeur has called ‘the hermeneutics of suspicion’ – the idea that every grand theory and noble sentiment hides a base motive – to extremes. Convinced that the African intellectual project is exclusively one of self-pity, he read any narrative of protest along these lines. His casual mode of allusion to the writings of others allows him the possibility of never describing in enough detail what individual scholars have actually said.

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