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TOYIN FALOLA @65: African Knowledges and Alternative Futures




What makes alternative knowledge systems possible? How can new knowledge manifestoes be produced? How will cultural imperialism be demolished? Must Africa be bound by the logic of neoliberal capitalism? Must globalization be a one-sided Western agenda? These and other questions relating to how knowledge is produced, circulated and converted to policies will constitute the core of the conference, which is meant to critically interrogate the state of knowledge production in Africa, and to review the state of cumulative knowledge about Africa. The objective of the conference is to insert Toyin Falola, one of Africa’s most prolific and profound scholars, into the discourse that relates knowledge to policies, and thereby suggest ways to move Africa forward. Toyin Falola’s scholarship is significant because he has not only been a major theorist of the historical, philosophical and socioeconomic forces and factors that have created the African predicament, but he has also vigorously enunciated a critical Pan-Africanist alternative agenda that could serve as the basis for reinventing the continent.
Knowledge production in the post-Enlightenment era has been a reflection of the interests, values, and epistemologies of the dominant powers, undoubtedly represented by the Euro-America hegemonic world. In this context, pluriversality was replaced with a universalist framework in which the cultural matrices of the dominant powers became the standard elements for defining the universal, with regard to the construction of concepts, theories, and methods. The Euro-American Empire denies or undervalues the existence of other legitimate forms of knowledges, especially those that come out of Africa. Hiding under racist anthropological and philosophical discourses and ideologies, leading scholars and intellectuals in Europe, including early figures such as Kant and Hegel, denigrated the personality of the black race, denied and rejected  Africa’s knowledge systems and dehumanized the entire black race. The colonial project in Africa was constructed around the “civilizing” and “modernizing” missions meant to bring light to what Joseph Conrad characterized as the “Heart of Darkness.” In order to achieve this objective, the West has sustained centuries-long epistemic violence against Africa. Colonial education itself obliterated anything that was local or indigenous to Africa both in the design of curriculum and in the language of instruction.  Institutions of higher learning that were established during the colonial era were based on the epistemology of the West and were designed to produce graduates who saw the West as the standard and the ultimate in the production of knowledge. With few exceptions, post-colonial Africa has maintained this trajectory of epistemic inferiorization both in the design and execution of education policy. However, historical evidence shows massive knowledge systems in pre-colonial Africa, which influenced the organization of the society through the establishment of political institutions, justice system, agricultural practices, and so on.
Over the past thirty years, Professor Toyin Falola has broken the boundaries of disciplines, undermined existing orthodox narratives and reconstructed knowledge production on Africa.  No one has been able to match Falola: be it in his own work, the energy he puts into advancing the careers of others, unprecedented work in creating publication platforms, unparalleled and tireless efforts in bringing people together, and placing African voices at the table, and policy-oriented efforts to attain peace and development. As he turns 65 on January 1, 2018, the conference and festschriften around the theme of the global politics of knowledge production in Africa, organized in his honor, will provide a unique opportunity to critically engage with his oeuvre through the re-interpretations of their contexts and impacts on historical and contemporary realities of the African continent and its peoples, including in the Diaspora.
The Conference will be held from January 29-31, 2018 at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. The theme of the Conference will focus on the following areas of knowledge production to which Toyin Falola has made significant contributions:
  • Global Politics of Knowledge Production: Theories and Concepts
  • Indigenous knowledge systems
  • Indigenous systems and policies
  • Pre-Colonial Political Economy
  • Trans-Atlantic Slavery and Africa
  • African epistemologies
  • (Re-)Writing African History and Politics
  • The Yoruba from their origins to the present
  • Colonial education systems
  • Colonial knowledge production
  • Colonial knowledge and politics
  • Women and knowledge production in Africa
  • African Political Economy
  • Post colonial education
  • African languages and knowledge systems
  • History of Nigeria
  • Women in African history and politics
  • Africa in the Global system
  • Africa and its Diasporas
  • Gender Politics and Politics of Gender in Africa
  • Ethnicity, Identities and Nation Building in Africa
  • Borders and Identities in Africa
  • Bureaucracy and Development in Africa
  • Pan-Africanism and African Citizenship
  • Migration and Development in Africa
  • Intellectuals and African Development
  • African Arts and Cultures
  • Resistance, Social Movements and Development in Africa
  • African Security in a Unipolar World
  • Development issues
  • Other pertinent topics
Contributors are invited to send a short abstract of no more than 250 words on any of the above subject areas or current aspects of their research as well as a short bio by email to Upon acceptance of an abstract, a registration fee is required before the date of close of registration: N15,000.00 (participants from Nigeria), and $100 (participants from outside Nigeria).


For your conference-related matters, please address any of the following:

The Toyin Falola @65 Conference Committee (Conveners):

Dr. Samuel Oloruntoba:

Dr. Adeshina Afolayan:

Dr. Olajumoke Yacob-Haliso:

Mr ‘Wale Ghazal:


Chair of Local Organizing Committee:

Dr. Adeshina Afolayan: