IAS hosts THInK Fellows from Wits

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We were glad to host an international workshop featuring a team of researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand on the project ‘Transforming the Humanities through Interdisciplinary Knowledge’ (THInK).

The workshop took place on the 1st and 2nd of July at Lady Bank-Anthony Hall.

The THInK Fellowship at the University of the Witwatersrand, funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation, is inter/transdisciplinary in scope and methodology. It is intended for doctoral students whose research interests are creative and radical to the extent of rethinking and reimagining the humanities and social sciences in the African academy in all facets of knowledge production, including the subjects, objects, and methods of pedagogy and intellectual inquiry, and extending to a critical concern about the pervasive and insidious cognitive legacies of colonialism and the urgency of generating decolonized protocols and inclinations in encountering Africa as a locus of research endeavours.

The Wits team to the workshop was led by Prof Eric Worby of the Department of Anthropology, University of the Witwatersrand, and included twelve THInK fellows: Palesa Nqambaza, Lerato Podile, Eddie Ombagi, Lindiwe Malindi, Oladele Ayorinde, Gabriel Letswalo, Tasneem Essop, Adebayo Sakiru, Hlengiwe Ndlovu, Zinhle Mkhabela, Job Zwane, and Refiloe Lepere.

On the first day of the workshop, papers were presented by members of the Wits contingent, as well as by ten students drawn from humanities and social-science disciplines at the University of Ibadan. The Ibadan students at the workshop were Chidinma Elueze, Cynthia Olufade, Deborah Adeojo, Emeka Njoku, Feyi Ijimakinwa, Fortune Afatakpa, Morakinyo Tella. Seun Abimbola, Tayo Omitola and Tolu Oniyitan. Prof Worby and Dr Sola Olorunyomi also presented papers at the workshop.

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Group photograph with Prof Olanike Adeyemo, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research, Innovation & Strategic Partnerships), UI

The presentations encompassed a wide range of interests and a spectrum of conceptual, methodological, and theoretical approaches that penetrated particular aspects of knowledge production and exchange as regards the African condition, spanning anthropology, history, political science, cultural studies, media studies, language and discourse, diaspora studies, theatre and performance studies, peace and conflict studies, music, philosophy, feminism and gender studies.

THInK IAS seminarA panel at the THInK-IAS Workshop

The second day of the workshop was dedicated to discussions of a number of works drawn from reading lists created purposely for the engagement by the Wits and the IAS teams respectively. It culminated in a celebration of the lifework of Prof Molara Ogundipe who passed on in June, with a final panel centring on her theory of Stiwanism, a radical formulation of indigenous feminism and social transformation in Africa that takes the inclusion of women as the pivot of change at every stage and level of intervention.

Each panel at the workshop was an avenue for critical exchanges among the presenters, as well as between the presenters and the audience. An intense and engaged atmosphere marked the proceedings. The workshop provided a platform for the comparing of notes on the directions to pursue in the ways of being and of knowing and projecting Africa, revolving around the researches being undertaken by young scholars who are the future of the humanities in the African academy.
Dr Omotoso presents gifts to Prof WorbyDr Sharon Omotoso presents a gift of IAS publications to Prof Eric Worby