African Studies and the Challenge of the Global
Prof. David Maxwell (U Cambridge)
|Date||Wednesday, 10 May 2017, 5:15 pm – 6:45 pm|
|Location||SFB 1199 | Strohsackpassage | Nikolaistraße 6-10 | 5th floor | 04109 Leipzig|
The founding moments of African studies were animated by a good deal of progressive sentiment in which scholars reacted against the meta-narratives of imperial and colonial history that had robbed Africans of powers of socio-cultural determination. The subsequent enterprise of analyzing the experience of African peoples, understood in their own terms, and through their own sources, struggles, and historiography in dialogue with scholars and universities across the world has been an admirable and fruitful one. But the Age of Globalization (usually dated from the late 1980s) has re-focused minds, research priorities, and funding decisions. Accordingly, social scientists have developed new terms and concepts (such as networks, flows, scapes, and notions of transnational and global) to describe and explain this process of bringing the world together through more intense interaction. Are scholars working in area studies now obliged to think, teach, and write in global terms or to make connections beyond their sites of research? Does engagement with global studies return us to models of homogeneity and euro-centricity, which we have hitherto sought to resist? Or does thinking globally shake us out of our fixation with the local, regional, ethnic, and most of all the nation-state – which no longer (or never did) reflect peoples’ interactions with the world and their own conceptions of identity?
Prof. David Maxwell (University of Cambridge, UK)
David Maxwell is the Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History at the University of Cambridge. He is a historian of African Christianity who has written about mission history in colonial and post-colonial settings. Further research interests include religious encounters between Christianity and African traditional religion, indigenous African Christian movements, and Pentecostalism, transnationalism and religious globalisation. Currently, he is researching the missionary and African contributions to the creation of so-called “colonial knowledge” in the Democratic Republic of the Congo/Belgian Congo.
Image source: U Cambridge, Link (2 May 2017)