The Local and the Global in African Studies: An Essay in Honour of Prof. Ayodeji Olukoju @60
The construction of knowledge in African Studies cannot be detached from the specific spatial contexts within which research, writing, teaching and advocacy take place. Building upon Ayodeji Olukoju’s work on “the spatial dimension” in Lagos’ history, this article argues that in every geographic context, African Studies evolves as an intersection between local and global flows of ideas, politics and capital. While efforts to examine the relationship between the local and the global will often confront a lack of certainty regarding the boundaries of each, we have much to gain from raising questions about each possible vantage point. Drawing on examples from Nigeria, South Africa and Israel, we see how an interrogation of the contested and ambiguous notions of space and place can reveal the politics of knowledge in African Studies. It will be seen that when we critically engage with how spaces are constructed and disputed through the dialogue between “here” and “there,” we can help to ensure that African studies remains relevant and vibrant for years to come.