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Empire and Economics

Decolonising Colonialism and Its Legacies in Africa

Lawrence Hamilton

In order effectively to decolonise Africa we need to understand better the economic and political effects of colonialism in and on Africa today. To achieve that understanding we need to look beyond the tired, well-trodden themes in African historiography and political theory. Liberalism, communism, African and Afrikaner nationalism, localised cultural and social histories and related ideological conflicts of identity have failed to grasp and explain the relations of power that continue to operate at the level of economics, finance, education, war and politics. These factors have not adequately been thought through theoretically, precisely because they are treated as inevitable material circumstances separate from the longue durée of justifying ideas, enduring practices and relations of power and the persistence of institutions even, in many cases, sixty years after independence from colonial rule.

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The Keys to the Economic Kingdom

State Intervention and the Overcoming of Dependency in Africa before the Crisis of the 1970s

Bill Freund

This article is concerned with reviewing the history of developmental states on the African continent which have been neglected in this theoretical literature. It is important to consider not only successful model developmental states but also partially successful and failed attempts at developmental policies to understand the concept and its place in economic literature. Particular attention is given first to the ambitious examples of Ghana and Tanzania following independence. There is brief discussion of other individual cases, notably Zaïre and Zambia. The last part of the article looks at the developmental aspects of South African economic history between 1910 and 1990. This was apparently a far more successful project but it contained inbuilt flaws that eventually killed off dynamism. The sociopolitical context of racial dominance and separation was a major one of these flaws.

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Ezekiel S. Mkhwanazi

The African intelligentsia played a pivotal role in the anti-colonial and anti-apartheid struggle in Africa. Not only did it provide intellectual resources to the political struggle leaders but also took active part in the political leadership. Since independence, this role has diminished tremendously, as some of the intelligentsia are ‘silenced’ and others become ‘captured’ by the newly independent states. As a result, a wedge is driven between the intelligentsia and the political leadership. However, given that there is a deficit in efforts to reconstruct Africa, the pan-African intelligentsia are called upon to reinvigorate and reposition themselves to assist in developing organisations and institutions to serve African people worldwide. This call challenges them to take a creative, innovative role in the reconstructive task of Africa, thereby bidding farewell to intellectual isolationism. The article draws from Kwame Nkrumah’s ideas, thereby affirming the relevance of his political ideas in contemporary Africa.

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Pascah Mungwini

The topic of pan-Africanism today brings to the fore questions of the unfinished humanistic project of decolonisation in Africa. When Kwasi Wiredu (1996) calls for the need for conceptual decolonisation in Africa, he recognises the intellectual price the continent continues to pay as a result of conceptual confusions and distortions caused by a colonial conceptual idiom implanted in the African mind. Reflecting on the potential which the ideology of pan-Africanism holds for the continent’s future, my position is that the same passion and energy which brought about political independence should now be redirected to the epistemic front. A new form of pan-Africanism on the intellectual front is required to galvanise Africans to develop and deploy in their thinking veritable categories of analysis born out of the experiences of being African in Africa. It is in the generation and application of these alternative epistemologies that the future of the continent lies.

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Capacity-building projects in African higher education

Issues of coloniality in international academic collaboration

Hanne Kirstine Adriansen and Lene Møller Madsen

This article studies issues of coloniality in so-called capacity-building projects between universities in Africa and Scandinavia. Even fifty years after independence, the African higher education landscape is a product of the colonial powers and subsequent uneven power relations, as argued by a number of researchers. The uneven geography and power of knowledge exist also between countries that were not in a direct colonial relationship, which the word coloniality implies. Based on interviews with stakeholders and on our own experiences of capacity-building projects, this article examines how such projects affect teaching, learning, curriculum, research methodology and issues of quality enhancement. We analyse the dilemmas and paradoxes involved in this type of international collaboration and conclude by offering ways to decolonise capacity-building projects.

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Jonathan Gorry

A wide variety of British universities are expanding efforts to attract international students. This article argues that higher education's implicit claim to all-inclusive 'universality' may hereby be challenged by subsequent issues of cultural particularity. Here I set to conceptualise possible differences in the learning culture of Asian international students through a Confucian-Socratic framework. The Socratic method, our archetypal Occidental model, is traditionally seen as an experiential learner-centred pedagogy that values creativity and intellectual independence. But the Confucian approach, the archetypal Oriental exemplar, is normally presented as a didactic teaching-centred pedagogy with greater emphasis on strategic, directed thinking. I conclude that refl ection in these ways may lead to a culturally sensitive form of education and also help identify the epistemological and ontological dimensions that enhance a more flexible approach to teaching and learning.

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Where Is the Public Sphere?

Political Communications and the Morality of Disclosure in Rural Rajasthan

Anastasia Piliavsky

The public sphere has been centre stage in celebrations of India's political triumphs. Leading commentators tell us that the astonishing post-independence surge of democracy has been contingent on the rise of a new kind of sociopolitical formation: the public sphere. This article takes a closer look at the popular deliberative terrain in North India to question this claim. Drawing on research conducted in a provincial town in the North Indian state of Rajasthan, we see that where metropolitan political theorists see 'transparency' as promoting discursive and political possibilities, Rajasthani villagers see an exposure which prevents expression, communication and the making of political choices. In their view, it is secrecy and social seclusion that enable political interactions and elicit political judgments. 'The public sphere' is an unfit heuristic for locating popular politics within (and beyond) Rajasthan, where it obscures much more than it reveals.

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Singularity and Uncertainty

Counter-Ethics of Gender and Sexuality in an Indian Dream Analysis

Sarah Pinto

On the cusp of India’s Independence, a young woman in Punjab met with a psychiatrist for a conceptual experiment – the development of a ‘more objective’ and ‘Oriental’ theory of dream analysis. Known to us only as Mrs A., not only did she offer a ‘daydream’ to analyst Dev Satya Nand, she presented an intimate account of mid-twentieth-century upper-class Indian marriage, sexuality and womanhood. In her portrayal of the stakes of kinship, she posed an alternate vision – an ethic of singularity and uncertainty formed out of, but departing from, concepts of security and emplacement. This article explores Mrs A.’s account, using the work of twenty-first-century artist Shahzia Sikander to theorize her vision of possibility, and developing the concept of a counter-ethic – a formulation that presses against the parameters of an overarching ethic, occupying its conceptual and social infrastructure, but nurturing a new vision at the points it cannot be sustained.

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The Frontier and the Affrontier

French-Language Algerian Comics and Cartoons Confront the Nation

Mark McKinney

Algerian and Algerian-French cartoonists have often thematised national identity in their art. Their interest in this subject has created problems for them when they have crossed the 'affrontier', a line of demarcation whose nature and place have been determined to a considerable degree by the military regime. The analysis of some of its key dimensions - political, religious, spatial, historical and symbolic - allows us to understand how it operates. By studying striking examples of cartoons and comics, their production and consumption, we can come to an understanding of how the affrontier has functioned since 1962, when Algeria gained its independence. The year 1988, when the Algerian regime killed and tortured hundreds of young rioters, stands out as a watershed, because cartoonists then began to redefine their relationship to the military regime, the nation and the affrontier.

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Robin Rodd

Amidst a global turn towards authoritarianism and populism, there are few contemporary examples of state-led democratization. This article discusses how Uruguay’s Frente Amplio (FA) party has drawn on a unique national democratic cultural heritage to encourage a coupling of participatory and representative institutions in “a politics of closeness.” The FA has reinvigorated Batllismo, a discourse associated with social justice, civic republicanism, and the rise of Uruguayan social democracy in the early twentieth century. At the same time, the FA’s emphasis on egalitarian participation is inspired by the thought of Uruguay’s independence hero José Artigas. I argue that the cross-weave of party and movement, and of democratic citizenship and national heritage, encourages the emergence of new figures of the citizen and new permutations for connecting citizens with representative institutions. The FA’s “politics of closeness” is an example of how state-driven democratization remains possible in an age described by some as “post-democratic.”