Filling Pails, Lighting Fires: Social Order in Africa Workshop

29 June, 2015

Academics and postgraduate students from institutions in Belgium, Italy, the UK and the US came together this month to explore the political and social realities of education in Africa in ODID’s fifth Social Order in Africa Workshop

Titled, ‘Filling Pails, Lighting Fires: The Social and Political Uses of Education’, the interdisciplinary workshop brought together participants from the fields of education, politics, development studies, politics, history and anthropology to give papers based around one of three themes: ‘The Everyday Politics of Education’, ‘The Utilities of Education’, and ‘Education and Epistemologies’.

Important contemporary issues were raised by Hannah Höchner, who presented a study of ‘traditional’ Qu’ranic students in northern Nigeria, and in Andrew Cunningham’s ground-breaking work on children’s government in Kenya.

Historical precedents were a key dimension of the workshop, which included fascinating papers from Matteo Grilli on the pan-African dissemination of Nkrumahism from Winneba Ideological Institute and Sebabatso Manoeli on a social history of Unity Girls High School in Khartoum, Sudan.

The political and ethical realities of the content of educational discourses were also debated by Simukai Chigudu in his presentation on cosmopolitanism in global higher education institutions and Dan Hodgkinson in his work on how student protests shook the post-colonial state in Zimbabwe.

The organisers would like to thank all participants as well as Professor Carol Summers, Professor Jocelyn Alexander, and Professor Jonny Steinberg for moderating the sessions and Dr David Mills for his concluding remarks.

The workshop was organised by Dan Hodgkinson, a DPhil candidate at ODID, and was hosted by the African Studies Centre on 22 June.

See the full programme.