Decolonization, Development and Knowledge in Africa: Turning Over a New Leaf, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Decolonization, Development and Knowledge in Africa

Turning Over a New Leaf, 1st Edition

By Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni


208 pages

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Hardback: 9780367466930
pub: 2020-05-26
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This provocative book is anchored on the insurgent and resurgent spirit of decolonization of the twenty-first century. The author calls upon Africa to turn over a new leaf in the domains of politics, economy and knowledge as it frees itself from imperial global designs and global coloniality.

With a focus on Africa and its Diaspora, the author calls for a radical turning over of a new leaf predicated on decolonial turn and epistemic freedom. The key themes subjected to decolonial analysis include: (1) decolonization/decoloniality – articulating the meaning and contribution of the decolonial turn; (2) subjectivity/identity – examining the problem of Blackness (identity) as external and internal invention; (3) the Bandung spirit of decolonization as an embodiment of resistance and possibilities, development and self-improvement; (4) development and self-improvement – of African political economy, as entangled in colonial matrix of power, and the African Renaissance, as weakened by undecolonized political and economic thought; and (5) knowledge – the role of African humanities in the struggle for epistemic freedom.

This ground-breaking volume opens the intellectual canvas on the challenges and possibilities of African futures. It will be of great interest to students and scholars of Politics and IR, Development, Sociology, African Studies, Black Studies, Education, History Postcolonial Studies and the emerging field of Decolonial Studies.


"Frequently, discussions about decoloniality are delinked from discussions on development studies and questions of political-economy. Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni bridges these literatures to produce an original intervention in African Studies and Postcolonial/Decolonial Studies with important implications to Latin America and Asia. The many contributions this book offers are of interest to many fields of scholarship. This is a must to read from the most important decolonial thinker in Africa today!" Ramon Grosfoguel, University of California at Berkeley, USA

"This is a thoughtful agenda-setting contribution by a leading, passionate, committed voice, to the resilient issue of unequal encounters and dogmatic propensities in the production and circulation of meaning and value, which has received far less emancipatory scholarly attention beyond proliferating spurious rhetoric and prescriptive lip service."Francis B. Nyamnjoh, University of Cape Town, South Africa

‘‘Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni’s is an important contribution to the current struggles for decolonization. At the forefront of his endeavor lies epistemology; to rethink thinking itself and make way for a new humanity. The book is a radical rupture with the mediocrity of Eurocentric knowledge institutionalized in the westernized universities across our world, and with the internal colonialism and cultural schizophrenia it produces in the global south. Solidly rooted in Africa, the book engages in a truly global decolonizing endeavor: that of working towards humanization, re-memberment, unity and action.’’Julia Suárez-Krabbe, Roskilde University, Denmark

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Beyond the European game

2. The Decolonial Turn

3. The Bandung Spirit

4. The Problem of Blackness

5. African Political Economy

6. African Renaissance

7. African Humanities

8. Conclusion: Turning Over A New Leaf

About the Author

Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni is Research Professor and Director of Scholarship in the Department of Leadership and Transformation (DLT) in the Principal and Vice-Chancellor’s Office at the University of South Africa (UNISA). He is a leading decolonial theorist and historian with over a hundred publications including 8 sole-authored books and 9 edited books. His most recently published book is Epistemic Freedom in Africa: Deprovincialization and Decolonization (Routledge, 2018).

About the Series

Worlding Beyond the West

Historically, the International Relations (IR) discipline has established its boundaries, issues, and theories based upon Western experience and traditions of thought. This series explores the role of geocultural factors, institutions, and academic practices in creating the concepts, epistemologies, and methodologies through which IR knowledge is produced. This entails identifying alternatives for thinking about the "international" that are more in tune with local concerns and traditions outside the West. But it also implies provincializing Western IR and empirically studying the practice of producing IR knowledge at multiple sites within the so-called ‘West’.

We welcome book proposals in areas such as:

  • Critiques of Western-centric scholarship and policy-making.
  • The emergence of new theories and approaches from ‘the periphery’.
  • The challenges for the discipline at large in accommodating its post-Western phase, and the political and ethical dilemmas involved in this.
  • Concrete studies of the results of approaching issues and agendas in ‘the periphery’ with the tools offered by core thinking.
  • Work by scholars from the non-West about local, national, regional or global issues, reflecting on the importance of different perspectives and of geocultural epistemologies.
  • Studies of ‘travelling theory’ – how approaches, concepts and theories get modified, re-casted and translated in different contexts.
  • The meaning and evolution of major concepts in particular regions, such as security thinking, concepts of globalisation and power, understandings of ‘economy’ and ‘development’ or other key categories in particular regions.
  • The sociology of the discipline in different places – with a focus on a country, a region, on specific research communities/schools, subfields, or on specific institutions such as academic associations, journals, foundations or think tanks.
  • Empirical studies of epistemic practices and the conditions of knowledge production in different Western and non-Western locales and sites.
  • Studies of the interaction between different knowledge producers, such as processes of expertise or the dialogue between intellectuals, academics, bureaucrats and policy elites.

Series Editors: Arlene B. Tickner, Universidad del Rosario, Colombia, David Blaney, Macalester College, USA and Inanna Hamati-Ataya, University of Cambridge, UK

Founding Editor: Ole Wæver, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

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