AO. Suspicion of digital archives given histories of knowledge extraction from the continent

AO: This quote highlights the unequal relations of global knowledge production and Africa's often marginalized role despite being a key site of and for knowledges.

"Many initial discussions, which focused primarily on the political economy of the project, were highly charged. Numerous participants expressed suspicion that this digitizing initiative would be yet another North American project designed to appropriate Africa’s patrimony and subvert intellectual property rights and national heritage. Many argued that digitization compromises the value of national heritage by locating it in unequal exchange relations, thereby rendering national histories as mere commodities to be bought and sold in the economic marketplace. Others wanted to make sure that digitized material would be disseminated widely throughout Africa and would not simply be a research tool available to Western scholars and students. A number of archivists expressed concern that Aluka’s proposed online collection of documents would compete with their holdings; they feared that Western researchers would simply use the Aluka collection, thereby diminishing the international standing of their repositories. Finally, several discussants insisted that archives and cultural institutions that agreed to participate should receive a percentage of the presumed profi ts from the project." (page 59)


Analytic (Question)





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