Who is Allowed to Speak about Africa?: A Reflection on Knowledge, Positionality, and Authority in Africanist Scholarship
If doing research is a political endeavour, researching Africa requires a particular awareness of the political and ethical issues involved in knowledge creation on Africa. Africanist scholars are thus confronted with a number of epistemological challenges and problematic decisions to take if they aim at contributing to scholarship opposing the hegemonic bias of the status quo. This article engages with one of these possible counterhegemonic choices – the decision to privilege African sources – and discusses a number of dangers inherent in this strategy. It links the implications of this strategy with the roles and responsibilities of scholars both from and outside of Africa and concludes by suggesting that the necessity to diversify discourse and the aim of creating emancipatory knowledge have to be pursued as two separate strategies in order to genuinely work against oppressive knowledge structures.