AbstractsSocial Sciences

Challenging academic Eurocentrisms in postcolonial Cameroon: a case study on the implementation and interpretation of social scientific knowledge at University of Yaoundé I

by Laura Fregi

Institution: Roskilde University
Year: 2014
Keywords: Eurocentrism, Cameroon, social sciences, academic knowledge, linguistic imperialism
Record ID: 1121458
Full text PDF: http://rudar.ruc.dk/handle/1800/13815


Once in sub-Saharan Africa countries obtained independence, newly-installed national governments engaged in the establishment of academic institutions. Educational policies implied the adoption of higher-education schooling models whereby administration, study programs, curricula and all the media of cultural transmission - from theories to research materials - clearly followed Western-based designs. Strong of their colonial past, Great Britain, France and other international aid organizations contributed to the spread of a Western-centric academic knowledge, transmitted also through the means of English and French languages. Recently, the endorsement by local universities of a common international study system renders the complex situation, coming from the intermeshing of colonial inheritance with the contemporary exigencies of globalization, less obvious. By taking postcolonial Cameroon as one-case study, the research explores how students of social sciences at University Yaounde I confront Western-centric scientific knowledge today. First, through a preliminary focus on the political and socio-historical context that has shaped the oldest Cameroonian university through time. Second, with empirical analysis based on the theoretical position of two authors, i.e., Robert Phillipson and Patrick Chabal, who respectively speak of linguicist tendencies and daily-life formations (in reaction to the patriarchal legacy of the West). All this, in order to demonstrate whether as well as to which extent some logical responses to academic Eurocentrism exist.