Miseducation and Educational Repairs: A Global Afrikan Experience
- 8:00 pm
01 February 2021
Online | Free
In this fourth roundtable hosted by the International Network of Scholars and Activists for Afrikan Reparations (INOSAAR), our panellists discuss educational repairs, the cognitive justice content of a decolonised curriculum, and how these might be linked to forms of reparation and transitional justice for Afrikan-descended people around the globe.
This event develops the theme of our third roundtable where we discussed the university sector’s historical links to slavery and colonialism, and its role and responsibility in the struggle for reparative justice. In this roundtable, we move beyond the involvement of universities in the transoceanic trafficking and enslavement of Afrikan peoples to focus on how they influenced the intellectual development of generations of the public through Afriphobic curricula and research agendas.
In their Scarlet and Black Project, for example, researchers at Rutgers University state that the ‘faculty and curriculum’, along with other early American colleges, served to reinforce ‘theological and scientific racism’. Colleges such as these provided the ideological and spiritual justification for the free forced labour of enslaved Afrikans and ‘promoted the absolute power of slave owners, and the separation of the races.’
In addition to considering the legacies of what the Black historian Carter G. Woodson called a ‘mis-education’ (in The Mis-Education of the Negro, 1933), we want to examine the multiple counter-initiatives that have sought to work against such oppressive and racist educational curricula. A key example is represented by the historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the USA. Can they be seen as reparative, alongside the proliferation of centres and programmes dedicated to Black, Africana, African and African American Studies, and other community-led education programmes?
In this respect, one of the concepts of reparation and transitional justice identified for the rehabilitation and psychic healing of Afrikan-descended people is that of ‘rematriation’. Rematriation refers not just to the physical return to Africa (as in repatriation), but to the process of engaging in spiritual and cultural forms of reconnection that offer an alternative path to the reclamation of Afrikan indigeneity and citizenship.
We want to consider how we can re-read these initiatives as a form of reparation and rematriation aimed at counteracting the effects of Black dispossession and the negative stereotypes of Afrikan peoples institutionalised by establishment academia.
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It is in this context that we are asking our panellists to consider the following questions:
- To what extent have the white supremacist beliefs that shaped slavery and colonialism remained in our universities’ academic curricula? To what extent do those beliefs continue to be part of universities’ social, economic, cultural and educational structures?
- Do we still remain beholden to hierarchies shaped by racism in our educational curricula across the board?
- What are the examples of higher educational institutions of research that promote indigenous Afrikan ways of knowing outside of Western colleges, universities and schools of thought?
- How can colleges and universities engage in equitable partnerships with communities of reparatory justice interest to promote educational repairs?
- What models of educational repairs are being developed and promoted within communities of reparatory justice interest?
- What is the role of ‘rematriation’, traditional spirituality, culture, and social-cultural politics in knowledge production?
- What contribution does the Afrikan indigenous knowledge base and its traditional teachers make to the creation of genuine educational repair in Africa and in its diasporas?
- What processes are already underway within universities that might be defined as reparative, such as the crucial historical role played by HBCUs?
Our panellists include:
- Dr Kimani Nehusi (Temple University, USA)
- Dr Marlene Ellis (Momentum Black Connexions)
- Dr Reginald Ellis (Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, USA)
- Jerry Amokwandoh (undergraduate student at Oxford University)
- Bernard Adjibodou (Supreme Chief of the Dignitaries of the ORO Societies of the Municipalities of OUEME, Republic of Bénin and Adjannan Baba ORO of the village of Wadon and its surroundings.
Header Image: A student protests against colonial-era statues at the University of Cape Town. Photo taken by Mike Hutchings/Reuters