STS in "Africa" in formation

Many debates have ensued about the relationship between Science and Africa. Some hold that Africa had and still has its own very different conceptual and cognitive models which were not apparent to, or regarded by, the colonialists who first introduced western education to Africa. According to such logic, the reign of Science in Africa is therefore a super imposition of one culture (western) over another (African). But recent science and technology studies also raise questions about such binaries. Scholars like Mavhunga (2017) and others have established that if we take a broader notion of science, we can find it has been deeply rooted on the continent long prior to the colonial period. Following this vein, this exhibit takes its conception of STS in Africa very broadly and as part of an ongoing process of being "in formation" (also recognizing the fraught nature of using a categorical construct such as "Africa").

Acknowledging some of the tensions between an "indigenous" African practice of science and its global circulations and interests, the exhibit treats the continent as highly differentiated while simultaneously seeking to provide a cursory view of various communities of practice and scholarship related to STS taking place across the continent. Through interviews with diverse scholars and practitioners working in/on the continent and archival materials including reports, photos, and multimedia, the exhibit will provide insight into what has transpired related to STS in Africa to date and what key issues are being grappled with. In this way, this exhibit seeks to make a history and community of STS in Africa by drawing in even those individuals, groups and institutions which may not yet have self-identified as "STS."

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June 6, 2018

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