53. Transforming Humanities Curricula: African Schools of Thought

University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation (IPATC), Johannesburg, in collaboration with the UJ South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) Chair: Teaching and Learning, and the UJ Library, hosted a virtual book launch via zoom of the edited volume titled “From Ivory Towers to Ebony Towers: Transforming Humanities Curricula in South Africa, Africa and African-American Studies,” on Wednesday 15 September 2021 between 16h30 and 18h00 (South African Standard Time). The book launch was attended by 63 people, among these, a number of academic, civil society, governmental, and other engaged communities in South Africa, Africa, North America, Europe, and beyond.

Despite two-and-a-half decades of black majority rule after 1994, much of South African higher education in the area of humanities continues to embrace European models and paradigms. This is despite concepts such as Africanisation, indigenisation and decolonisation of the curriculum having become buzzwords, especially after the #MustFall campaigns, student-led protests from 2015. This book argues that, beyond the use of internally constructed strategies to foster curriculum transformation in South Africa, it is important to draw lessons from the curriculum transformation efforts of other African countries and African-American studies in the United States (US). The end of colonialism in Africa from the 1950s marked the most important era in curriculum transformation efforts in African higher education, evident in the rise of leading decolonial schools: the Ibadan School of History, the Dar es Salaam School of Political Economy and the Dakar School of Culture. These centres used rigorous research methods such as nationalist historiography and oral sources to challenge Eurocentric epistemologies. African-American studies emerged in the US from the 1920s to debunk notions of white superiority and challenge racist ideas and structures in International Relations. The two important schools of this scholarship were the Atlanta School of Sociology and the Howard School of International Affairs.

Chair: Professor Shireen Motala, South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) Chair: Teaching and Learning, at the University of Johannesburg,

Speakers: Dr Pamela Khanakwa, Lecturer in the Department of History, Archaeology, and Heritage Studies at Makerere University, Uganda.

Professor Samba Buri Mboup, Associate Professor at the Centre for Diplomatic and Strategic Studies, and Head of Department of Languages and Culture, at the Pan-African Cultural and Research Institute (PACRI), Senegal.

Professor Toyin Falola, Professor and Jacob and Frances Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas, United States.

Event Type



15 September 2021


16:30- 18:00 (SAST)