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Producing Knowledge In and Of Africa Series


September 23, 2020 - 12:00pm to November 11, 2020 - 1:30pm
September 23, 2020 | 12PM-1:30PM
October 21, 2020 | 10AM-11:30AM
November 11, 2020 | 12PM- 1:30PM

Knowledge Production in Africa is a highly contested topic. Recent calls have been made – both within the academy and outside it – to “decolonize” the production and circulation of knowledge about Africa. This controversy has involved new attention to institutional power dynamics in both Africa and the US academy, as well as efforts to reconceptualize key epistemological categories in Afrocentric terms. This workshop invites scholars within the humanities, social sciences and the sciences to investigate and discuss these pressing contemporary concerns.

The workshop focuses on five key themes:

  1. How does knowledge production about Africa manifest both in different and in convergent ways across disciplines?
  2. What are the ethical implications and responsibilities of scholars researching Africa in the global North?
  3. In what ways have scholarly infrastructure – including publishing platforms, institutions, conferences and research networks – emerged in both Africa and the US academy?
  4. Given the racial injustices embedded in the US and around the world, how might the fields of Black Studies and African Studies collaborate to make sense of the historical and present conjuncture?
  5. How have the racial and gendered politics surrounding the study of Africa and its diaspora shaped the institutional histories of African Studies and Black Studies at Stanford.

The Producing Knowledge In and Of Africa series is held in partnership with The Center for African Studies and the Stanford Humanities Center.  

These events are open to the public, however RSVP is required. Please click on the icons below to register.

9/23 Black Studies and African Studies Event (Webinar Recording) 

10/21 African Literature and Cold War Afterlives Event


List of Speakers

Black Studies and African Studies: Institutional Histories and Futures

Clayborne Carson is a professor of history at Stanford University, and director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute. Since 1985 he has directed the Martin Luther King Papers Project, a long-term project to edit and publish the papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. His first book, In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s (1981), is a study of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the most dynamic and innovative civil rights organization. In Struggle won the Organization of American Historians' Frederick Jackson Turner Award for best first book in American history. His other publications include Malcolm X: The FBI File (1991), The Struggle for Freedom: A History of African Americans (2005), and a memoir, Martin's Dream: My Journey and the Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. (2013).
Allyson Hobbs is an Associate Professor of United States History, the Director of African and African American Studies, and the Kleinheinz Family University Fellow in Undergraduate Education at Stanford University. Allyson’s first book, A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life (2014), examines the phenomenon of racial passing in the United States from the late eighteenth century to the present. A Chosen Exile won the Organization of American Historians’ Frederick Jackson Turner Award for best first book in American history and the Lawrence Levine Prize for best book in American cultural history. Allyson is currently at work on two books, both forthcoming from Penguin Press. Nowhere to Run: African American Travel in Twentieth Century America explores the violence, humiliation, and indignities that African American motorists experienced on the road. To Tell the Terrible examines black women’s testimonies against and collective memory of sexual violence.
Ato Quayson is a Professor of English at Stanford University. He took his BA (Hons; First Class) from the University of Ghana and gained a Ph.D. in English from the University of Cambridge. He is Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (2006), the Royal Society of Canada (2013), and the British Academy (2019). He has published 5 monographs and edited 8 volumes, along with several articles in a variety of fields including African and postcolonial literature and literary theory, disability studies, urban studies, and diaspora studies, among others. His most recent monograph, Oxford Street, Accra: City Life and the Itineraries of Transnationalism (2014) was co-winner of the Urban History Association’s Best Book Prize (non-North American category) in 2015. His new monograph titled Tragedy and Postcolonial Literature is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press, and he is completing Accra Chic: A Locational History of Fashion in Accra with Grace Toleque for Chicago University Press and Intellect Books. Quayson is founding Editor of the Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry and President of the African Studies Association.
Richard Roberts is the Frances & Charles Field Professor in History and African History at Stanford University. He has published widely on the social and economic history of French West Africa and has edited two volumes that have appeared in the Social History of Africa series (Law and Colonialism in Africa, co-edited with Kristin Mann, and Cotton, Colonialism, and Social History of Sub-Saharan Africa, co-edited with Allen Issacman).

African Literature & Cold War Afterlives: Reframing Decolonial Trajectories

Bhakti Shringarpure is Associate Professor of English at University of Connecticut (Storrs) and co-founder and editor-in-chief of Warscapes. She is the author of Cold War Assemblages: Decolonization to Digital (2019) and co-translator of Kaveena, a novel by Senegalese writer Boubacar Boris Diop (2016). Her edited works include Literary Sudans: An Anthology of Literature from Sudan and South Sudan (2016) and Imagine Africa, Volume 3 (2017). Her writing has also appeared in The Guardian, The Funambulist, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Literary Hub, and Africa Is a Country, among others.

Nature, Power and Race: Reflections on South Africa's Kruger National Park

Jacob Dlamini, Assistant Professor of History at Princeton University, is a historian of Africa, with an interest in precolonial, colonial and postcolonial African History. He obtained a Ph.D. from Yale University in 2012 and is also a graduate of Wits University in South Africa and Sussex University in England. Jacob held a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Barcelona, Spain, from November 2011 to April 2015, and was a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University from August 2014 to May 2015. A qualified field guide, Jacob is also interested in comparative and global histories of conservation and national parks. He is the author of two recent monographs: Safari Nation: A Social History of the Kruger National Park (2020) and The Terrorist Album: Apartheid’s Insurgents, Collaborators, and the Security Police (2020).


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