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Academic Standards or Academic Imperialism? Zimbabwean perceptions of hegemonic power in the global construction of knowledge

  • Diana Jeater

Abstract:

University cultures in the Global North generate powerful definitions of what constitutes “knowledge” and “good research.” When we ask who gets to represent the “African perspective,” we find it is decreasingly an African. This article argues that resource inequalities alone cannot explain this exclusion of African scholarship. Hegemonic academic standards undervalue the more positivist research orientation found in southern African universities. The struggle is not over the validity of that orientation, but over who has the power to validate it. This analysis is based upon interviews with senior university research managers in Zimbabwe and on a public roundtable on Structural Inequalities in Global Academic Publishing.

Les cultures universitaires de l’hémisphère nord produisent des définitions influentes sur ce qui constitue la « connaissance » et la « bonne recherche ». Lorsque nous demandons qui représente la « perspective africaine », nous constatons qu’il est de moins en moins africain. Cet article soutient que les inégalités de ressources ne peuvent à elles seules expliquer cette exclusion de l’érudition africaine. Les normes universitaires hégémoniques sous-estiment l’orientation plus positiviste de la recherche dans les universités d’Afrique du sud. La lutte ne porte pas sur la validité de cette orientation, mais sur qui a le pouvoir de la valider. Cette analyse est basée sur des entretiens avec de hauts responsables de la recherche universitaire au Zimbabwe et sur une table ronde publique sur les inégalités structurelles dans la publication académique mondiale.

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Academic Standards or Academic Imperialism? Zimbabwean perceptions of hegemonic power in the global construction of knowledge

  • Diana Jeater

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