Decolonizing Knowledge

Picture extracted from “Les choses et les mots de Mudimbe”, a film-documentary on philosopher V.Y. Mudimbe by Jean-Pierre Bekolo (2015)

This research theme is concerned with the contexts, conditions and actors of the production and use of knowledge in social sciences, philosophy and art in relation to (East) Africa.

Pan-African Forums

IFRA, the Alliance française in Nairobi and The Elephant are organizing webinars on Pan-Africanism to discuss its relevance for today’s imagination of Africa, as an idea and as a reality, and for acting in Africa and in the world.

The series started in October 2020 and is underway until 2021.

The Pan-African forums are moderated by Mshai Mwangola, a Performance scholar from the Orature Collective.

Intellectuals from Africa and the Diaspora

Supported by a Fonds d’Alembert funding from Institut Français and other partner institutions, this program put in place by IFRA-Nairobi was aimed at promoting and giving visibility to the works and thought of Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Congolese philosopher Mudimbe. In June 2019, in Goma, DRC, round-tables and reading workshops were organized on Ngugi’s ideas on the use of African languages in literature by the Institut Français de Goma-Bukavu with the contribution of IFRA, as well as a performance of the play “King Leopold’s Soliloquy” by Mark Twain revisited by Jean-Pierre Orban. Maëline Le Lay also realized an interview with Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, “Decolonizing the Mind”, produced by Gilbert Nyangor and the French Embassy in Kenya (for these different projects on Ngugi, see more here).
In Decembre 2019 in Nairobi, the international colloquium “Rethinking Africa with Mudimbe” and a larger public debate were co-organized by IFRA, the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies of the University of Nairobi and the Alliance Française in Nairobi. It focused on the work of the Congolese writer, cultural and literary critic, philologist and philosopher, V. Y. Mudimbe, revisiting the traces and legacy he left, especially for the decolonization of knowledge and the grounding of the humanities and social sciences in African epistemologies. An edited volume stemming from this colloquium is due to be published in 2024.

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