Kojo and Team
Kojo Opoku Aidoo with potential workshop participants.

The University of Ghana, Legon, and IIAS present the Humanities across Borders (HaB) Methodologies Workshop at Ahenfie Hotel, Takoradi, Western Region, Ghana

12–13 June 2018

Convener: Kojo Opoku Aidoo, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana

One-world epistemology is catastrophic, reduces difference and evacuates reality from non-dominant reals.
—John Law

The pan-African project initiated ‘from above’ has been slow to yield results, for which there are many reasons, including the lack of joined-up thinking and action, and the obstinate, near-consolidation of the sovereign nation-states. All of this makes pan-Africanism ‘from below’ persuasive. The overarching questions, then, are: How can everyday practices around currency, food, music, and neighbourhood be integrated into a grassroots pan-African curriculum, and how can the boundaries between the university and the everyday be blurred so as to co-create knowledge that draws from the local context while still being in conversation with the supra-local, regional, and the global? And how do we forge creative synergies between academic knowledge and artistic and activist practices? The workshop is designed to develop community-generated knowledge to produce a more humanistic comprehension of pan-Africanism, one that is sensitive to the daily practices of living in a globally directed world. An initiative of the Mobilities of Grassroots Pan-Africanism project of the Humanities across Borders programme, the main goal of the workshop is to initiate the process of knowledge exchange through conversations, so as to construct a new syllabus based on humanistic knowledge of the mobilities across borders, and to build curricula in-situ on Grassroots Pan-Africanism. The workshop is planned to demonstrate the value of, and potential in, co-creation of knowledge between academics affiliated to the Ghana project and the conventional informants of the field. In the end, we will demonstrate how a grassroots pan-African syllabus can be created not only within the high walls of the university but also by and through  the voices, narratives, histories, and other forms of knowledge practices of communities living across borders in neighbouring countries to forge a grassroots pan-Africanism

Methods

With no predetermined limit or boundary, our method will be open-ended, allowing for open, exhaustive discussions/conversations by the field informants from Ghana, Gao (Mali), and Benin Republic, who in their everyday lives resist national boundaries and challenge the nation state, xenophobia, and genocidal attacks. These migrant community leaders have lived in Ghana for close to half a century. These long-term migrants, griot-like figures, build their knowledge through their analyses of how the world is. They are regarded, for their profound philosophical knowledge, as walking libraries with up-to-date history of their local community. With their extensive historical knowledge, they have boundless possibilities for the formal educational establishment. They will tell their stories from memory, extemporaneously elaborating the actions/events. Evidently, the formal classroom setting with its structural limitations, trappings of scripted literacy curriculum, and test-driven can benefit immensely from such wise, knowledgeable, griot-like figures.

We will employ round-table and focus group discussions, as well as individual narratives apropos everyday practices around currency, food, music, and neighbourhood. Participants will include three teachers and two students from the universities of Ghana and Leiden, and eight knowledgeable community informants/activists drawn from Ghana, Mali, and Togo. Our emphasis upon community engagement is a bridge-building collaborative endeavour between all those producing, utilizing, and creatively advancing knowledge in academic establishments such as the University of Ghana and community activists based in various kinds of communities of practice and other spaces of life-long learning.

Schedule

DAY ONE
10.00–10.30         Registration
10.30–11.30         Introduction of Participants and Group Agreement: Negotiating a Group Agreement (how people will behave within the workshop – respect everyone’s opinion, allow everyone an equal opportunity to speak, no interruptions, confidentiality, mobile phones off, etc.)
11.30–12.30         Opening Remarks by Kojo Opoku Aidoo on the Humanities Across Borders Programme and the Aims, Objectives, and Expected Outcomes of Workshop.
12.30–13.30         Lunch Break
13.30–14.10         Dr. Samuel Amponsah (Institute of Adult Education, Legon) on the Relevance and Strategies of Andragogy as a Tool of Teaching and Learning
14.10–14.40         Ekow Arthur (Institute of African Studies, Legon) on Constructing Syllabi
14.40–15.40         Individual Narratives of Field Informants from Mali
15.40–16.10         Stephanie Huber – Narratives from fieldwork
16.10–16.20         Tea Break
16.20–17.00         Narratives from Benin
17.00–17.40         Discussions and Q&A
19.00                     Dinner

DAY TWO
10.00–11.00         Narratives of informants from Ghana
11.00–11.30         Discussions and Q&A
11.30–12.10         Round Table
12.10–12.30         Closing Remarks by Kojo Opoku Aidoo
12.30                     Lunch

Participants

From University of Ghana
1. Kojo Opoku Aidoo (PI), Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana
2. Dr Samuel Amponsah, Institute of Distant Leraning, University of Ghana
3. Ekow Arthur, ICT, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana
4. Stephanie Huber, Graduate student, University of Leiden
5. Kwaku Darko, Post-graduate student, IAS, University of Ghana

From Gao, Mali
1. Chief of Gao
2. Issufu Chairman
3. Talata Miaga
4. Musa Miaga

From Benin Republic
1. Sabe

From Ghana
1. Christopher Aryee
2. Kwame Appiah Nuamah
3. Eboe Bakar

Kojo Opoku Aidoo

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