Critical human agency in Africa as a knowledge culture : towards critical student agency

Isaacs, Tracey (2016)

CITATION: Isaacs, T. 2016. Critical human agency in Africa as a knowledge culture : towards critical student agency. Knowledge Cultures, 4(4):72–89.

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In the post-colonial era it is not an anomaly for serious scholars to consider the weighty question of whether there is a defensible African philosophy. In the space of arrested development due to colonial expansion and conquest, some scholars argue that the African subject has not yet rescued an account of a plausible philosophy. This is in part due to the fact that the African subject is schizoid – that is, trapped between the nascent colonial identity and the arrested pre-colonial African identity. As such, any attempt at resuscitating an African identity inevitably bears trace of the colonial ideology superimposed on the emerging African subject. On the basis of African gnosis (or deep, secret knowledge) and a call for indigenous knowledge systems to be held up by Africans for scrutiny – as the foundational focus – the core of this article focuses on critical agency and, more specifically, on how critical student agency might be imagined within the conceptual frame of critical pedagogy. By using the methodological approach of discourse analysis I aim to investigate not only how the physical, human and spiritual aspects of critical agency are revealed in African discourse and agency but, more appreciably, how they work and how this might inform education for the post-colonial subject in the local and universal space.

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