Dr Patrick Tom’s talk on the exclusion of African scholars in the Liberal and Post-liberal Peace Debate on Friday, 24 February 2017 included researchers and academics from various backgrounds. The presentation created an atmosphere for provoking thoughts concerning the scholarly contributions of the global south. Dr Tom focused his presentation on the post-cold war peace projects that were underpinned by liberal values and observed that Africans, especially Africa-based scholars, were missing in significant parts of the literature. Beyond the focus of the speaker, many scholars who were present drew from their disciplinary perspectives. The talk subsequently provided an opportunity for interdisciplinary reflections on intellectual contributions generally and explored the possible way forward.
Left to right: Dr Patrick Tom (the presenter) and Geoffrey Mabea (facilitating the talk)
There were several insightful questions and comments such as the importance of controlling or shaping narratives. Some participants considered that the quality of ideas concerning African development was as important as accessing the international platforms for scholarly publishing and disseminating information generally. The discussions also concerned general governance issues including the challenges of corruption and fair reporting in Africa. There seemed to be a dominant view that it was necessary to strike a balance between trying to control narratives and encouraging vibrant polities including free speech or criticism.
The event ended on a positive note with suggestions from some researchers and academics that Dundee Africa Research Network should consider setting up a scholarly journal or other similar publications. Such publications will improve access to platforms where issues concerning African development can be discussed at the global level and attract more attention.
Members of the Convenorship Team are grateful to Dr Tom for his fascinating presentation. Many thanks also to all the participants.
By Geoffrey Mabea, Pontian Okoli and Oluwabamidele Kogbe