EDUCATION, KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS, AND INNOVATIONS IN AFRICA  

Call for Papers

Africa needs education, knowledge, and innovations. Fulfillment of such demands can be envisioned through dominant Western epistemes. Although many of these needs can be fulfilled through the examples of dominant Western theories and narratives that have been present in Africa since colonization, Africa should not turn its eyes only to the West, for it is vital also to consider the richness of knowledge that can be found in other places around the world. Africa should take advantage of the powerful potential that globalization offers, which is the spread and accessibility of a diversity of ideas and perspectives. This means that Africa’s need for education, knowledge, and innovation can come not just from the West but also from new places, such as the technological centers of the world in China and Japan and the political and artistic counternarratives of South America.  Certainly, these needs can also be fulfilled when Africans immigrate and study abroad, as they inevitably discover new mindsets and ways of life.  

       

       In a similar vein, Africa must consider knowledge systems from the Global South in general. As a point of fact, Africa should not discount its own indigenous knowledge and beliefs that can transform its future and regain lost glories by recovering the lost knowledge of the past and the bank of wisdom of African ancestors and sages. Many Africans argue that it is Africans, not outsiders, who know themselves best. Therefore, resurrecting African knowledge systems and taking pride in such systems can lead to the truest and most revolutionary innovations for the African continent. Indeed, African knowledge and education have the potential to revitalize African identities, particularly in the youth, and restore the invaluable lessons of its past. These lessons are still relevant today and can lead to African progress and prowess.

       However, some challenges block Africa’s knowledge and educational growth. Currently, the African continent has the lowest rate of secondary education attainment among its people, compared to any other continent. Unsurprisingly, this lack of education is due to many systemic problems, most of which were created in the past. As a result, the lack of education for millions of people, continued poverty, and stunted development continue to exist infrastructurally throughout the continent. Even for those who can access secondary or even higher education, there are remaining concerns that school curricula are not relevant enough for African students, their lives, and their futures. Moreover, it is not uncommon for teachers to be low-educated or even absent from their jobs. Perhaps worst of all, promising African minds often choose to pursue their education and work abroad, thereby foregoing the potential good they could bring to their home countries.  

       Nevertheless, there is always a new beginning. It is imperative that Africans do not fall privy to believing in the stereotypes that more often than not exaggerate the weak points of African education and society. For instance, more young Africans are graduating from secondary education programs, and several African countries have worked to give young people easier access to education. Naturally, if education and the general prosperity of Africa are to improve, positive points of African schooling must be identified and bolstered. 

       Non-Western knowledge and theories on philosophy, science, and art are valid and pivotal components of the human experience.  For far too long, the epistemologies of other regions of the world have been silenced and corrupted. Now several questions remain. How can these epistemologies be recognized?  Where do these epistemologies fit in a more globalized world? How can young African scholars come to embrace, rather than hide, their knowledge inheritances? Could the revitalization of African knowledge systems lead to progression in African schools and universities? 


       This announcement calls for papers that will examine various themes related to the history of African knowledge and education, as well as pathways that bolster knowledge and education in Africa’s future. We call for papers on the following themes, and we especially welcome papers that cover case studies.  

  • Anticolonialism and education in Africa

  • Colonialist impact on education in Africa

  • Barriers to education in Africa

  • Girls and education in Africa

  • Globalization and education in Africa 

  • Diversity and inclusion in African education

  • Education and sustainable development in Africa

  • Improvement of higher education curriculum in Africa

  • School choice among Africans

  • Keeping African intellectuals in Africa

  • Medical education in Africa

  • Social work education in Africa

  • Music education in Africa

  • Liberal arts in Africa

  • STEM in Africa

  • Technology and African education

  • Recruitment and retainment of teachers in Africa

  • Interactions between public and private universities in Africa

  • African universities on the global stage 

  • Boaventura de Sousa Santos and the “epistemologies of the South”

  • What constitutes “true knowledge”?

  • African views on science

  • Immigration and education

  • African views on religion

  • African value systems

  • African knowledge versus globalized knowledge

  • African knowledge and pride

  • African knowledge and inheritances

  • African indigenous knowledge and its relevance in the 21st century

  • Connections between lack of education and poverty in Africa

  • Knowledge gained from African immigration

  • Technology and China/Japan

  • Politics of South America

  • Art and cultural movements globally

  • The future vision of African education

  • Immigration and its impact on education and innovations

  • Impact of the African Diaspora on higher education in Africa

  • Other related themes 

Each proposal must include:

                     (1) title of the work and an abstract of 200 words

                     (2) name of the presenter (with the surname underlined)

                     (3) mailing address

                     (4) phone number

                     (5) email

                     (6) institutional affiliation

                     (7) three to five keywords that best characterize the themes and topics relevant to your submission.

       Participants are expected to follow these guidelines. 

Proposals for panels (3-5 presenters) must include: (1) title of the panel and a collective summary of 250 words on the panel’s theme, including the title of each individual’s work; (2) a 200-word abstract for the presentation of each speaker; (3) mailing address; (4) phone number; (5) email; and (6) institutional affiliation of each presenter.

Proposals will be accepted on the official conference website (www.utafricaconference.com) and by email: toyinfalola@austin.utexas.edu (CC:  africaconference2022@gmail.com) from mid-August to mid-December 2021. Participants who require a visa to enter the United States must submit abstracts and register early as it may take six months to book visa appointments.

A mandatory non-refundable registration fee of $150 for scholars and $100 for graduate students must be paid immediately upon the acceptance of the abstract. This in-person conference fee includes a conference t-shirt and bag, admission to the panels, workshops, and special events, as well as transportation to and from the hotel and conference events. Registration also includes breakfast for all three days, dinner on Friday night, lunch on Saturday, a banquet with DJ and an open bar Saturday evening, and a closing celebration on Sunday, including dinner and a DJ. All participants must raise the funds to attend the conference, including the registration fee, transportation, and accommodation. The conference and the University of Texas at Austin do not provide any form of sponsorship or financial support. However, the Holiday Inn Austin Town Lake will have a special rate for conference participants, and transportation between the hotel and the university is included.  

*Events are subject to change in accordance with CDC guidelines and global health and safety concerns.  We are currently exploring a possible hybrid model for attendees who may not be able to attend physically due to US travel restrictions. All official updates will be posted on the conference website as soon as they are available. 

If you have questions, please contact the conference coordinators via official email. All correspondence, including submission of abstracts, panel proposals, completed papers, and all kinds of inquiries must go through the official conference  email as listed: africaconference2022@gmail.com or the official website at UTAfricaConference.com 


CONFERENCE TEAM  

Organizers:

Nika Pajuh, nikapajuh@utexas.edu 

Olusegun Olopade, bcmanager@toyinfalolanetwork.org 

Convener:

Toyin Falola, toyinfalola@austin.utexas.edu