The problem with decolonization: Entanglements in the politics of knowledge, Journal of Modern African Studies

by Admin


In the heat of the decolonisation struggles of the 2000s, there has been little space or tolerance for conceptual criticism of this important moment in global history. Using the South African case, this article outlines some of the dilemmas of decolonisation as a concept and method for dealing with legacy knowledge in the aftermath of colonialism and apartheid. The status of whites as citizens rather than colonials, the lack of determination of meanings of decolonisation within public universities, and the defanging of a potentially radical concept are among the concerns raised in this critical work on the uptake of the idea in post-apartheid society. What this criticism points to is the need for a theory of institutions when dealing with radical curriculum change rather than a politics that relies so much on the rhetorical, the symbolic and the performative in the demand for decolonisation.

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