"Elvis Presley, Miriam Makeba and Bob Marley Walk into a Bar": Cross-Examining Trajectories of Epistemic Freedom

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Location: 1050 Jenkins Nanovic Halls

Akosua Ampofo

Professor of African and Gender Studies, University of Ghana

Is violence inevitable? Our answer to this question depends on how we define violence, and on the kind of world we seek to build together, as Judith Butler recently noted in an interview with Masha Gessen in The New Yorker. However, the “information violence” that has become almost a soundtrack to our lives today crystalizes epistemologies of violence so that they assume a powerful inevitability. Struggles for epistemic freedom are about acknowledging that all people have valid knowledge systems, and according them intellectual sovereignty. 

The story—sung, spoken, written—is one of the defining features of what it means to be human; it is the vehicle that carries our ideas, histories, current realities, and dreams, and it can engender freedom and propel a people to their destiny. This lecture will cross-examine trajectories of freedom via stories from the perspective of global Africa--exploring whose get told and how—with a view to destabilizing oppressive orthodoxies and moving closer to building a safer world for us all.