Ep24. Dr. Zachariah Mampilly raises some important questions about studying African Politics in the West

A statue of Cecil John Rhodes was removed from University Of Cape Town on 9 April 2015 after concerted student protest. (Tony Carr/Flickr)

In this week’s episode, we feature remarks by Dr. Zachariah Mampilly (@Ras_Karya), an Associate Professor of Political Science, International Studies, and Africana Studies at Vassar College. In 2012-2013, he was a Fulbright Visiting Professor at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He is the author of Rebel Rulers: Insurgent Governance and Civilian Life during War and with Adam Branch, Africa Uprising: Popular Protest and Political Change.

The remarks we are sharing were recorded during the AALAC-sponsored workshop Zachariah and I co-organized at Smith College in early May. When we proposed the workshop to the AALAC, our original title was “Researching and Teaching African Politics: Everyday Politics, Power, and Protest in the Digital Age.” As we watched the movement to decolonize the curriculum gain speed, we didn’t really change the direction of the workshop, but we did bring greater focus to how the study of African politics in the West privileges a canon in which African scholars are largely absent. Zachariah’s remarks begin at 3:45.

Here are links to this week’s readings.

Our featured song this week is “Cho Cho Cho,” released by Beat Making Lab. You can find them on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and SoundCloud. Artists featured in “Cho Cho Cho” include (in order of appearance): Queen Minaj, Pierce Freelon, Fal J, Melissa, Laureat, DJ Couleur, MC Mussa. The song also features voices of children in Goma, DRC. Cho Cho Cho begins at 16:38.

Watch the video here:

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