The unfolding of African feminism in CODESRIA: rethinking the dynamics of knowledge commons

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Nimi Hoffmann delivered a seminar entitled, The unfolding of African feminism in CODESRIA: rethinking the dynamics of knowledge commons on the 7th March 2018 as part of the Labour Studies Seminar Series. The series is jointly co-ordinated by the Neil Aggett Labour Studies Unit (NALSU) and the Departments of Sociology, History, and Economics and Economic History.

Nimi Hoffmann is a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Social and Economic Research. Her research focuses on how pan-African knowledge commons emerge and endure. Nimi is also a research fellow at the Centre for International Teacher Education at CPUT, where she is advising the Department of Basic Education on conducting a nationally representative survey of teachers, the first of its kind in South Africa.

Presentation Summary

CODESRIA is the oldest pan-African organisation on the continent. This scholarly organisation is managed by a community of African scholars, rather than state institutions or market actors. As such, it is an important example of a pan-African knowledge commons that has not only survived, but has managed to thrive during the economic and political crises of the post-independence era.

While CODESRIA has acquired a reputation for challenging the marginalisation and fragmentation of African scholarship, it has also been the site of contestations over inequality within its community. This paper examines African feminist scholars and their contestations over unequal gender norms in CODESRIA. Their example shows that inequality can motivate marginalised members to engage in the collective action required to create and reshape knowledge commons, but it can also constrain their collective action and threaten the long-term sustainability of the commons. This suggests that the collective agency of marginalised individuals is central to the flourishing of knowledge commons.

Please find below the presentation:

The unfolding of African feminism in CODESRIA


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