tjir6-1_2a - Convergence and Glocalization Not...

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Convergence and Glocalization – Not Counter-Penetration and Domestication: A Response to Prof. Ali Mazrui Jacob Aliet* Abstract In this essay, we critically examine the strategies proposed by Prof. Ali Mazrui, which are aimed at providing Africans with intellectual and cultural independence through decolonization of the African universities. We unpackage these strategies in an African environment and assess their validity and practicality. Several difficulties emerge when the strategies are tested in an African country and Kenya is used as an example in this paper. Where the strategies are found wanting alternative suggestions that factor in global trends, like convergence and collaboration, are presented. Introduction Prof. Ali Mazrui, the eminent cultural anthropologist and historian, recalls the vibrant intellectual environment that was present in East Africa in the early sixties in an article titled, Towards Re- Africanizing African Universities: Who Killed Intellectualism in Post Colonial Era? This era was characterized with lively intellectual debates and the publication of regional intellectual magazines like the Transition magazine which was based in Kampala and the East Africa Journal which was based in Nairobi. Gradually, this “African Revolution” died and the intellectual voices went to exile or fell silent. 1
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Mazrui identifies “rising authoritarianism in government and declining academic freedom on campuses” as the twin problems that killed intellectualism in Kenya. In Tanzania, he identifies excessive enthusiasm for socialism as an intimidating force against the opponents of socialism and in Uganda, the brutal dictatorship of Idi Amin. In seeking ways of reviving intellectualism in Africa, Mazrui begins by identifying the relationships universities should have with the wider community. He states that universities should be “first; politically distant from the state, second; culturally close to society and third; intellectually linked to the wider scholarly world of learning.” Because African universities are modeled on western paradigms, they suffer cultural and linguistic dependency. The result of this is that whereas the universities have been able to reach the wider scholarly world, they have ended up culturally alienating themselves from the African society. Hence a contradiction arises between these two requirements. Cultural proximity to global scholarship conflicts with cultural proximity to African society. Because of this intellectual dependency, Mazrui argues, we have had African graduates “despising their own ancestry” and being “intellectual imitators and disciples of the West”. He argues that the elimination of this paradigmatic dependency and cultural alienation of
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This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course HIST 494 taught by Professor Haus during the Fall '11 term at Boise State.

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tjir6-1_2a - Convergence and Glocalization Not...

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